Language and Linguistics

Typology (Linguistics)


It is called typology to analysis and categorization of types . The types, meanwhile, are classes, models or examples of something. The typology, in this way, is used in different sciences for explanatory or expository purposes.

Through the typology, it is possible to distinguish elements and group them according to their characteristics. The anthropology , for example, used to divide the human being in racial types, although this classification has lost force and effect to the development of new trends.

Typology (Linguistics)?

The linguistic typology studies and classifies languages ​​taking into account different characteristics. It is possible to classify languages ​​into large groups according to the way in which they use the sounds, the types of morphology they possess or not and how they organize the elements into sentences. Some features can be found all over the world, in languages ​​that are not related. The mere fact that two languages ​​share a characteristic does not mean that they are related.

Typology  is a branch of linguistics engaged in elucidating the most general patterns of various languages ​​that are not related to each other by common origin or mutual influence. The typology seeks to identify the most likely phenomena in various languages. If a phenomenon is detected in a representative group of languages, it can be considered a typological regularity applicable to the language as such.

Typological analysis can be carried out at the sound level ( phonetic and phonological typology), at the level of the word ( morphological typology), sentences ( syntactic typology) and supra syntactic structures (typology of text or discourse ).

History of typology 

At the beginning of its development, the typology tried to find the answer to the question, which languages ​​and on the basis of which can be attributed to the “more primitive” and which to the “more developed”. Pretty soon it became clear that the original premise was incorrect: it is impossible to judge by its typological characterization about its “development” or “primitiveness”. Completely different languages ​​can belong to the same type (for example, Chinese – superbly developed and rich in literature – and the non-written language of the Qing people in northern China equally apply to isolating languages), related and approximately equally developed languages ​​can belong to different types (synthetic Slavic Russian or Serbian and analytical Bulgarian, isolating English and inflected German). Finally, the same language can change its type more than once in its development: for example,

As a result of these discoveries, linguists became disillusioned with typology until around the middle of the 20th century, when the typology experienced a new birth. Today’s typology does not deal with individual elements of languages, but with systems of languages ​​- phonological (system of sounds) and grammatical.

Phonological typology 

Of particular great practical importance for comparative studies is the phonological typology. The phonological typology proceeds from the obvious premise that with all the huge variety of languages ​​in the world, all people have almost the same structure of the speech apparatus. There are a considerable number of patterns related precisely to this. For example, in the most diverse languages ​​of the world, the phenomenon of palatalization takes place . Its essence is that the back-lingual consonant (in Russian – k, r, x ), followed by the front-lingual vowel (in Russian – u, e ) changes its character. Its sound becomes more forward, “softens”. This phenomenon is easily explained linguistically: it is difficult to quickly rebuild the speech apparatus from posterolinguistic articulationin the front lingual. Interestingly, palatalization usually leads to the transition of the posterolinguistic ( k, d ) into affricates (double sounds such as h, c, dz ). Languages in which there is palatalization can not have anything in common, but, noting the similarity of alternation in Russian bake, bake , Italian amico-amici “friend of friends”, Iraqi Arabic Chief “as is” with literary Arabic kif , you need to understand, that this is a universal typological regularity.

In the phonological typology, the concept of binary opposition is extremely important . Binary opposition  is a pair of sounds that are similar in everything except one sign by which they are contrasted. For example, Russian d and t , English d and t are contrasted on the basis of deafness-voiced: T  – deaf, D  – voiced. In opposition, one member is unmarked , the other is marked . The unmarked member of the opposition is the main one, his statistical weight in this language is always greater, and it is linguistically easier to pronounce. This opposition to the unmarked member – T . D – a marked member of the opposition, it is less convenient for pronunciation and is less common in the language. In certain positions, the opposition can be neutralized. For example, at the end of a word in Russian q is pronounced as t ( code = cat ), that is, the marked member loses its marker.

In other languages, opposition may be based on other grounds. For example, German or Chinese d and t are marked not on the basis of deaf-voiced, but on the basis of weak-strong. d  – weak (unmarked), and t  – strong (marked) opposition members. That is why the German accent in Russian literature “is asked by Isoss sa tofo in such a way ” that Russian voiced (marked) for the German are similar to their own unmarked.

The typological criterion is one of the most important when testing hypotheses related to language reconstruction. Today, no reconstructed phonetic system of a language can be adopted without checking for typological consistency. This is not to say that all typological invariants are open, described, and explained. “At the same time, the rich experience gained by the science of languages ​​already allows us to establish some constants that will hardly ever be reduced to “semi-constants”. There are languages ​​in which there are no syllables beginning with vowels and / or syllables ending with consonants, but there are no languages ​​in which there are no syllables beginning with consonants or syllables ending with vowels. There are languages ​​without fricative sounds, but there are no languages ​​without explosive. There are no languages ​​in which there would be a contrast between the actual explosive and affricate languages ​​(for example, / t / – / ts /), but there would be no fricatives (for example, / s /). There are no languages ​​where labialized front vowels are found, but there are no labialized back vowels . ” [one]

Morphological typology 

To date, the most developed is the morphological typology of languages. It is based on a method of combining morphemes (morphemic), typical of a particular language. There are two traditional typological parameters.

Type, or locus, expression of grammatical meaning edit edit code ]

Traditionally, analytical and synthetic types are distinguished .

  • In analytics, grammatical meanings are expressed in separate service words , which can be both independent word forms (cf. will do ) and cliques (cf. would do ); the locus of grammatical morphemes is a separate syntactic position.
  • In synthetism, grammatical meanings are expressed by affixes in the word form, that is, they form one phonetic word with a supporting lexical root; the locus of grammatical morphemes – with the lexical root.

As a result, when analytically expressing grammatical meanings, words typically consist of a small number of morphemes (in the limit – from one), while synthetic – from several.

The highest degree of synthetism is called polysynthetism  – this phenomenon characterizes languages ​​whose words have a number of morphemes that significantly exceed the typological average.

Of course, the difference between synthetism and polysynthetism is a matter of degree; there is no clear boundary. It is also a problem to determine that there is a separate phonetic word. For example, in French, personal pronouns are traditionally considered separate words, and the spelling norm supports this interpretation. However, in fact, they are clitics or even affixes of the verb, and are difficult to distinguish from pronoun affixes in polysynthetic languages.

Type of morphological structure 

The type of expression of grammatical meanings should not be confused with the type of morphological structure. These two parameters are partially correlated, but logically autonomous. Three types of morphological structure are traditionally distinguished:

  • insulating  – morphemes are maximally separated from each other;
  • agglutinative  – morphemes are semantically and formally separate from each other, but are combined into words;
  • inflectional (fusional) – both semantic and formal boundaries between morphemes are poorly distinguishable.

In the future, incorporating languages ​​were also described – their difference from inflectional languages ​​is that the merging of morphemes occurs not at the word level, but at the sentence level.

In fact, this parameter should be considered separately for the form and for the value. So, formal agglutination  is the absence of phonetic interpenetration between morphemes ( sandhi ), and semantic agglutination  is an expression of each semantic element of a separate morpheme. Similarly, fusion can be formal, as in the Russian word children [d’etsk’y] and semantic (= cumulation), as in the Russian end ( flexion ) “y” in the word table are encoded simultaneously grammatical value ‘ dative ‘, ‘ single the number ‘and, indirectly,’ the masculine’.

The isolating languages actually coincide with the analytic ones, since the expression of grammatical meanings by means of official words is in reality the same as the maximum separation of morphemes from each other. However, parameters (A) and (B) should not be mixed and combined, since the other ends of these scales are independent: synthetic languages can be both agglutinative and fusion .

Thus, the following types of languages ​​are usually distinguished:

  • Inflective (fusional) languages  – for example, Slavic or Baltic . They are characterized by the multifunctionality of grammatical morphemes, the presence of phonetic phenomena at their junctions, phonetically undefined root changes, a large number of phonetically and semantically un motivated types of declination and conjugation.
  • Agglutinative (agglutinating) languages  – for example, Turkic or Bantu languages . They are characterized by a developed system of word-formation and inflectional affixation, the absence of phonetically non-conditioned variants of morphemes, a single type of declination and conjugation, the grammatical uniqueness of affixes, and the absence of significant alternations.
  • Isolating (amorphous) languages  – for example, Chinese , Bamana , most of the languages ​​of Southeast Asia ( Miao-Yao , Thai-Kadai , etc.). They are characterized by the absence of inflection , the grammatical significance of the word order, the weak contrast of significant and official words.
  • Incorporating (polysynthetic) languages  – for example, Chukchi-Kamchatka or many languages ​​of North America . They are characterized by the possibility of inclusion in the verb-predicate of other members of the sentence (most often a direct complement , less often subject to intransitive verb), sometimes with a concomitant morphological change in the foundations; for example, in the Chukchi language Ytlyge tekichgyn rennin, “Father brought meat,” where the direct addition is expressed in a separate word, but Ytlygyn tekichgyretgylit .: “Father brought meat” – in the second case, the direct object is incorporated into the verb-predicate, that is, forms one word with it. The term “polysynthetic”, however, is more often applied to languages ​​in which the verb can be consistent with several sentence members, for example, in the Abkhaz language and -l-zy-l-goit , literally ‘it-her-for-she-takes’ , that is, “she takes it from her.”

The distinction between flexion and agglutination as ways of linking morphemes can be demonstrated by the example of the Kyrgyz agglutinative word ata-lar-ımız-da ‘father + pl. number + 1st person pl. of owner + locative case ‘, that is’ our fathers’, where each category is represented by a separate grammatical suffix, and Russian inflected word forms of the adjective beautiful th , where the ending -s simultaneously transmits the value of the three grammatical categories: gender (female), number ( single) and case (nominative). Many languages ​​occupy an intermediate position on the morphological classification scale, for example, the languages ​​of Oceania can be characterized as amorphous-agglutinative.

History of morphological classification of languages 

The foundations of the above classification were laid by F. Schlegel , who distinguished between inflected and non-selective (actually agglutinative) languages, in the spirit of the times considering the latter as less perfect in relation to the former. His brother, A.V. Schlegel, postulated in addition to the first two classes of amorphous languages, and also introduced for inflectional languages ​​a contrast between synthetic (in which grammatical meanings are expressed inside a word by various changes in its form) and analytical (in which grammatical meanings are expressed outside a word – with service words, word order and intonation) system. The concept of the word was supposed to be intuitively obvious, and no one asked the question of where the boundaries of the word go (by the middle of the 20th century it became clear that answering it was by no means easy).

V. von Humboldt singled out the above types under their modern names; he considered the incorporating languages ​​as a subclass of agglutinative. Subsequently, a number of morphological classifications were proposed, of which the typologies of A. Schleicher , H. Steintal , F. Misteli, N. Fink, F.F. Fortunatov are the most famous .

The most recent, well-founded and most detailed morphological classification was proposed in 1921 by E. Sepir . Subsequently, interest in constructing morphological classifications of this type somewhat weakened.

An attempt to construct a quantitative (quantitative) morphological typology [2] undertaken by J. Greenberg gained quite wide popularity . In the general grammatical descriptions of specific languages, the Humboldt typology continues to be used everywhere, supplemented by the concepts of analyticism and synthetism, and other parameters of the structural diversity of languages ​​have moved into the focus of attention of linguistic typology as a section of linguistics. On the basis of material compiled from a comparison of 30 languages ​​of different language families, Greenberg analyzed and came to the conclusion about the dependence of the word order in the language (the so-called languages SVO , SOVetc.) and sequences of the “noun-adjective” type, accent in words, etc., a total of 45 patterns (the so-called “ universal ”, English  universals ).

Syntactic typology 

The main parameters of the syntactic typology are:

  • coding strategy for verb actants;
  • order of components;
  • locus marking dependency in a phrase.

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