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Completed research project

Title / Titel Towards a corpus-based typology of clause linkage
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Research on the distribution of linguistic structures in time and space (a field known as linguistic typology) is moving away from seeking absolute, categorical generalizations towards research into probabilistic patterns. Quantitative research of this kind is still mostly based on categorical abstractions made in indvidual grammars, even though there is growing evidence that not only typological generalizations but also individual grammars themselves are probabilistic. What is needed, then, is a way of extracting typological generalizations directly from discourse data, acknowledging such aspects of usage as lexical and contextual biases. This research program requires cross-linguistic corpora (collections of transcripts). Since corpus development has proven to be the most efficient means of salvaging linguistic diversity from endangerment, the number of corpora is steadily increasing, and this makes corpus-based typology a realistic enterprise.

This project aims at developing an analytical framework for and pilot studies in corpus-based typology, in close cooperation with a DFG-sponsored partner project at the University of Jena, Germany. The project focuses on clause linkage because this area of grammar is closely tied to discourse patterns and is highly probabilistic, thus providing an excellent basis for exploring the interface of language use and grammatical patterns. We will sample corpus exemplars of strings of predicate-headed units (‘clauses’) and richly annotate these strings for their structural properties in context, including not only syntactic and morphological parameters establishing inter-clausal relationships, but also cross-clausal dependencies (e.g. anaphora, displaced elements). The data will be analyzed by using statistical data-mining methods in order to detect and explore probabilistic patterns of clause linkage both within and across languages.
Weitere Informationen
Publications / Publikationen Schackow, Diana; Bickel, Balthasar; Rai, Shree Kumar; Sharma (Gautam), Narayan P; Rai, Arjun; Gaenszle, Martin (2012). Morphosyntactic properties and scope behavior of ‘subordinate’ clauses in Puma (Kiranti). In: Gast, Volker; Diessel, Holger. Clause-combining in cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: De Gruyter, 105-126.

Paudyal, Netra P; Bickel, Balthasar; Schikowski, Robert; Stoll, Sabine; Lieven, Elena; Banjade, Goma; Rai, Ichchha Purna; Rai, Manoj; Gaenszle, Martin; Rai, Novel Kishore; Bhatta, Toya Nath (2010). Non-finite adverbial subordination in Chintang. Nepalese Linguistics, 25:121-132.

Bickel, Balthasar (2010). Capturing particulars and universals in clause linkage: a multivariate analysis. In: Bril, Isabelle. Clause Linking and Clause Hierarchy : Syntax and Pragmatics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 51 - 102.

Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof. Dr. Balthasar Bickel (Project Leader)
Taras Zakharko, MA
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung), Foundation
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Dr. Volker Gast,
English Department
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Ernst-Abbe-Platz 8
07743 Jena
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Apr 2011 to May 2015