Syntactic Typology

Lindsay Whaley

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199281251
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Syntactic Typology

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  • Linguistics
  • Linguistic Typology
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology


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This article provides a sampling of just three areas of syntactic typology. The first deals with work carried out on relative clauses, one of the most thoroughly examined topics in typology, and one for which many outstanding overviews already exist. The second example covers the noun-phrase conjunction. The third example is an overview of research on content questions. Syntactic typology is concerned with discovering cross-linguistic patterns in the formation of particular constructions, whether those constructions are phrasal, clausal, or sentential. The key methodological issues that are ubiquitous in syntactic typology include multiple coding strategies, equivalence across languages, and interpretation of correlations. Typologists have long been aware of the need to control for areal and genetic factors when testing typological claims. However, the problem is that controlling for such biases in a language sample requires a sufficient number of geographically and genetically distinct languages.

Keywords: syntactic typology; sampling; relative clauses; noun-phrase conjunction; content questions; languages

Article.  7523 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Linguistic Typology ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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