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.

Basic Categories

Basic categories

Irrespective of theoretical orientation, linguists are involved in creating and applying abstract categories whenever they engage in analyzing language. In this chapter, three rudimentary categories are introduced, all of which play a particularly crucial role in the understanding of human language: (a) parts of speech, (b) semantic roles, and (c) grammatical relations. Because these categories are so fundamental to research on language, it is necessary to be familiar with the terms that are used to describe them. Each of the categories has a strong basis in intuition, but they are notoriously difficult to apply consistently within a language, let alone cross-linguistically. Therefore, another purpose of this chapter is to highlight some of the difficulties involved with treating these basic notions as absolute ...

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