It continues to be widely read and cited, and remains unsurpassed in its incisive analysis of the most fundamental assumptions of Islamic legal thought. Zysow argues that the great dividing line in Islamic legal thought is between those legal theories that require certainty in every detail of the law and those that will admit probability. The latter were historically dominant and include the leading legal schools that have survived to our own day. The well-known dispute regarding the legitimacy of juridical analogy is only one feature of this fundamental epistemological division, since probability can enter the law in the process of authenticating prophetic traditions and in the interpretation of the revealed texts, as well as through analogy. The notion of consensus in Islamic legal theory functioned to reintroduce some measure of certainty into the law by identifying one of the competing probable solutions as correct.
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That course was taught to a mixed class of undergraduate and graduate students and was designed to cover the basics of typology, the basics of discourse, and the basics of Relational Grammar, all in the span of 10 weeks. My responsibility lay in the typology portion of the course, for which I was allotted 17 course hours.
Needless to say, the constraints on time raised a pedagogical dilemma of a familiar sort: What aspects of the field of typology should be covered and in what depth? Minimally, it seemed to me, a student who is learning about typology should be exposed to the basic goals of the discipline, issues of methodology that have been, and continue to be, debated, and those areas of language that historically have received the greatest amount of attention within typology—holistic typologies based on constituent order and on morphology.
Of course, in the hands of a prolix academic, even a cursory introduction to this limited set of topics could easily fill an entire semester, let alone 17 classroom hours, but I felt that to restrict attention to just these subjects would be to fall far short of conveying what typology is all about.
In the modern era, at least, typologists have been among the most progressive members of the linguistic community in their desire to explore seemingly exotic aspects of language to discover the linguistic patterns that might be lurking there.
To capture these aspects of typology, I determined that the course would also need to introduce many of the kinds of constructions that one runs across in human languages, especially those that might exist outside the awareness of the average college student or beginning graduate student. The introduction to typology that I presented in North Dakota was embedded within a course that also presented a formal grammatical framework, so I felt it important to stress what typology has in common with the sort of syntactic theorizing that has come to dominate the linguistic world, particularly in the United States.
I took this tack happily, for I have always found that typology has much to offer to formal grammatical frameworks and vice versa. Unfortunately, the relationship between formal theorists and typologists has been anything but symbiotic through the years. The problem then became finding a textbook that would reflect the aims of such a course. I discovered that there were none. This fact was certainly not due to a lack of excellent introductory literature on typology.
There were, and there remain, three outstanding resources in print for use in a typology class: Comrie , the Shopen three-volume series, and Croft The authors of these works have all skillfully detailed certain aspects of typology; none of them, however, cover the full range of topics that I desired to address.
As a consequence, I wrote the initial draft of this book, which was used at North Dakota the following year. Still, anyone familiar with these and other works on language typology will immediately recognize that I have drawn generous amounts of material from them. Over the past several years, I have expanded the content of the book considerably so that it is appropriate for use in quarter- or semester-length classes. The end result is an introduction to grammar in a typological perspective that is aimed at undergraduate and beginning graduate students.
In the first part, I orient the reader to the basic subject matter of typology: its basic aims, its history, its methods of analysis, and its core assumptions. Then, in Parts II and III , I examine some ways in which languages can be grouped into types in terms of their overall constituent order characteristics and the kinds of morphology that they employ. The final three parts focus on the comparison and classification of particular grammatical constructions rather than languages as wholes.
Although I intend the book to have an overarching unity, I have written individual sections and chapters so that they are largely self-contained. My rationale in doing this was to leave the book in a form in which individual parts could be extracted from the whole or used in a different sequence than [Page xv]they appear in the book. To this end, I have also kept the chapters to a limited length.
By doing so, I believe the book is versatile enough to be utilized in a number of different classroom settings and is highly accessible to those using it as a general reference to typology. With this same attention to ease of use, I have included several typographical and organizational aids in the chapters. In the first occurrence of key terms, they are placed in bold print and generally accompanied by a definition or description.
Within each chapter, there is frequent use of section headers; this offers a convenient mechanism for instructors to refer to material in the book, and it assists students in locating material rapidly when reviewing for assignments or exams. Finally, each chapter concludes with a list of new terminology and concepts. As with any book, many people have contributed significantly to the final form of this textbook. Perhaps more than anyone, Stephen Levinsohn deserves credit for its strengths.
I borrowed heavily from a set of notes that he had used in teaching a typology course at the University of North Dakota. Bob Dooley is another Summer Institute of Linguistics linguist who generously contributed his time, data, and ideas to this book. Although they may not all be aware of it, their insights fill the pages that follow.
In this regard, I should also mention my profound debt of gratitude to Bernard Comrie. The range of his knowledge about language has always amazed me. I cite his work often, not only because the standards of scholarship demand it but because his ideas have influenced me greatly.
Martin Haspelmath kindly agreed to read a draft of the book, knowing full well that it was still sketchy in spots and incomplete in others. He caught many inconsistencies, oversights, and a few embarrassing errors. His labors have clearly led to a much better finished project. Finally, three anonymous reviewers provided extensive and helpful critiques on the material in this book.
I have incorporated their suggestions where space limitations have allowed it. Alex Schwartz at Sage Publications has been a pleasure to work with. He has a knack for promoting his vision for linguistic work that is specifically created for classroom use. Closer to home, my colleagues at Dartmouth, Lenore Grenoble and Bill Scott, created time in their packed schedules to read the chapters that follow.
They are consummate teachers, and their criticisms were crucial in improving the style, organization, and content of the book so that it was clearer and better suited to the needs of the reader. Caren Whaley deserves special recognition for her part in assisting in the preparation of the book.
She took over even more family responsibilities than usual so that I could dedicate additional time to writing and revising. She also willingly read through the final drafts of the chapters, making substantial suggestions for how the discussion might be made clearer. Despite all the assistance granted to me by the individuals mentioned above, I am sure that the finished product still falls short of their full approval.
They are in no way responsible for any remaining shortcomings. No doubt, there will be some languages that are familiar, but probably far more that most readers have never encountered before. For this reason, I offer some basic facts about the languages of the world and the relationships among them. Readers who have had little or no exposure to language classification are encouraged to read this prefatory material.
It may provide them with enough of a grounding in the topic to feel more comfortable with my continual reference to lesser-known languages. Perhaps one of the most common questions that linguists are asked is, how many languages are there? The answer is that no one really knows. This is partly due to the fact that some areas of the globe have not yet been surveyed in a systematic manner to determine the various dialects and languages that are spoken in them.
An even bigger obstacle to answering the question about how many languages exist is that there is no consensus on when two varieties of speech are best analyzed as dialects of one another and when they should be taken as separate languages.
From a linguistic standpoint, the choice of [Page xviii]how to label two speech types has much to do with the degree of intelligibility between them. Thus, it seems patently obvious that the variety of English spoken in Manchester, New Hampshire, and that spoken in Manchester, England, are dialects of a single language.
After all, a speaker of one of these dialects can understand nearly everything that the other one says. Likewise, everyone agrees that English and Japanese are not dialects of a single language, but rather two distinct languages, because the degree of mutual intelligibility between them is about zero. Where does one draw the line? Situations in which there is imperfect comprehension between members of two speech communities pose an intractable problem for any simple counting of the number of languages in the world.
With these difficulties in mind, it is possible only to provide an estimate of roughly 4, to 6, languages that are currently in use. There is, of course, no way to know how many additional languages may have been spoken previously but have disappeared without leaving any trace.
Because no individual, no matter how strong their expertise in linguistics, knows about each of these languages, it has become a common practice in Linguistics to provide a genetic identification of a language when it is being described for those who may not be familiar with it. The genetic identity of a language is the language family to which it belongs.
A language family is a group of languages or dialects that have arisen from a common ancestor. For example, at some point in the distant past prior to 1, BC , Danish, English, German, Gothic, and Swedish as well as several others were not distinct tongues, but rather formed a single language that is commonly referred to as Proto-Germanic.
We do not possess any written material from Proto-Ger-manic. We know a great deal, however, about the sounds of the language and the rules of its grammar because historical linguists have meticulously developed a reconstruction of what the language would have been like. Over time, dialects of Proto-Germanic formed, just as they do with any language. These dialects became more and more differentiated until they were no longer mutually intelligible—that is, they became distinct languages.
The evolution of languages from a shared ancestor is commonly depicted by a family tree. Figure A , for instance, is a family tree for Germanic languages. Figure A. The entire Germanic family is itself nested in a larger family named Indo-European, which includes branches such as Italic French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. All are accurate labels; they simply reflect different degrees of association. When languages are introduced in this book, I will use labels of genetic relatedness that are roughly equivalent to the level of Germanic.
These groupings are largely, although not completely, uncontroversial and can be established quite easily using the conventional tools of historical linguistics. They reflect a time depth the point at which languages start branching off from the common ancestor of about 2, to 4, years.
Where my sources for language data did not provide sufficient information to determine an appropriate label of family membership, I relied on Ruhlen In addition to furnishing the genetic affilation of a language, I also give the geographic area with which the language is most commonly associated—for example, French Italic: France. For languages that are no longer spoken, the genetic affiliation is furnished, but there is no geographic data. The identificational information is only provided the first time a language is discussed in a chapter.
I have also only included it in cases in which some linguistic feature of the language is exemplified or discussed. To provide a sense for how the various language families cluster together into larger groups, I have organized this list by language phyla also called macrofamilies.
Some of these phyla are generally accepted e. The phyla names are in all capital letters, the family names are in italics, and individual language names are in regular type.
ISBN 13: 9780803959637
Marslen-WilsonWilliam D. PostalPaul M. This is partly due to the fact that some areas of the globe have not yet been surveyed in a systematic manner to determine the various dialects and languages that are spoken in them. A formal element that marks the subordinate relationship that a complement clause holds to a main clause. University of California Publications in Linguistics Where my sources for language data did not provide sufficient information to determine an appropriate label of family membership, I relied on Ruhlen A language in which there is abundant use of affixation. Because the verbs of declarative sentences often have a distinct form from those in other sentence types such as imperativesdeclarative is also considered a mood.
Introduction to Typology: The Unity and Diversity of Language