Ideal in introductory courses dealing with grammatical structure and linguistic analysis, Introduction to Typology overviews the major grammatical categories and constructions in the world's languages. Framed in a typological perspective, the constant concern of this primary text is to underscore the similarities and differences which underlie the vast array of human languages.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Typology and Universals
Introduction to Typology and Universals
What is language? On the face of it, the question seems simple. After all, language is so much a part of our everyday experience, so effortlessly employed to meet our impulses to communicate with one another, that it cannot be too intricate a task to figure out how it works. Hidden below the surface of the “what is language” question, however, is a web of mysteries that have taxed great minds from the beginning of recorded history. Plato, Lucretius, Descartes, Rousseau, Darwin, Wittgenstein, and Skinner, to name just a few, have all probed into some aspect of the human capacity for speech, yet none of them were able to explain the origin of language, why languages ...