by a framework of linguistics as a whole
- THE PROPOSAL AND THE FRAMEWORK
Haas has written:
Every science may be said to have its origin in some radical
complexity: in a new sense of wonder, about something always taken
as obvious – wonder which asks to be transmitted into sense of understanding.
Amid the sophisticated complications of contemporary linguistics,
it is still vitally important to remain aware of the simple radical
problems of the discipline (1960: 121 – 122).
Haas recognizes two main division of linguistics, each with
its radical question serving as a point of departure: linguistic analysis
and linguistic comparison. Slightly modifying and adapting Hass’s
formulation of the question, I shall further subdivide the latter
(linguistic comparison) into two: historical and correlative. So we
(1) ANALYTIC LINGUISTICS
How do we succeed in understanding one another’s
How do we manage to say AND to grasp an endless
succession of new utterances with the help of a limited stock of resources?
We choose our way through a maze that proceeds from the more
general to the more specific patterns. These patterns (which are indeterminate
but presumably finite in number – collectively referred to as a system
of rules) are what stand between elementary items (which
are finite in number – collectively referred to as an inventory)
and usable texts (which are denumerably infinite in number
– collectively referred to as a corpus). We begin by matching
texts, items, and sets of matched sets within the language being analyzed.
We examine how a text is reproduced (i.e. rerendered or reexpressed)
in the same language system. We examine how a text is used
in relation to what it symbolizes and the situations into which it
(2) COMPARATIVE LINGUISTICS
Why do we fail when we do? How does one make sense
of this irrational babel of languages (i.e. sets of matched systems,
The answer can be sought
either by finding out how languages come to be what they are, or by
finding out whether there is some old bags of tricks that each language
draws upon. In either case we begin by comparing languages – texts,
items, and rules.
(2a) HISTORIC LINGUISTICS
How does a language reproduce itself from one population
to another population of users? What are the patterns of stability,
innovation, and diffusion
(collectively called primary or linear phylogeny);
and of maintenance over a line of descent divergent
descent into a family, and convergent influence over a zone
(collectively called secondary or dendroidal phylogeny ) that
follow from linear phylogeny; and of contact, acceptance, rejection,
maintenance, and displacement of language systems within
a language network. (collectively called tertiary or reticular
phylogeny) that link up linear and dendroidal phylogeny to the
population of language users?
We begin by seeking out diatopic and diachronic correspondences
between texts and then between items, and between systems of rules
and, also, by carrying out reconstructions on the basis of
(2b) CORRELATIVE LINGUISTICS
How does a text reproduce itself from one language to another?
What are the recurring traits that characterize natural languages
as such and natural languages types? What are the recurring patterns
of linear, dendroidal, and reticular phylogeny?
We begin by seeking out trait correlations – within and across
languages, among language traits, and between language traits and
traits of users and situations.
It will be seen that the crucial differences between (1) and
(2) and between (2a) and (2b) lie in the different kinds of collations
that constitute the methodological starting point in each case
– pattern matchings of analysis, correspondences of
history, and correlations of universal and typical features.
Before the differences between the three kinds of collations
are explicated, it will be useful to offer a few more definitions.
The instantiation of a language or a transition dialect in an individual
user is an idiolect. The history of an idiolect is linguistic
ontogeny, which is thus distinct from linguistic phylogeny.
The instantiation in an individual of a language network or of an
intersection of language networks is the linguistic repertory
of that individual. Patterns of exposure, acquisition, maintenance,
overall shift, and loss of items and rules within a idiolect (a language)
and patterns of contact, acceptance, rejection, and displacement of
whole languages (whole idiolects) within a network (repertory) take
us beyond linguistics proper into psychology, social psychology, ethnology,
sociology and cultural history of language.1
of a language in a given situation is language use. Language
use has three modes, namely, production, reception, and reproduction.
Reproduction has a little of both reception and production in
it, and may be within the framework of a single language (the
original and the reproduced texts are both from the same language)
or across languages or stages or varieties of that same language.
Reproduction – whether intralinguistic or translinguistic –
may aim primarily aim at recapturing the reproducing user’s reception
of the original (e.g. translation as a form of glossing) or at recapturing
the production of the original (e.g. ready equivalents in a traveller’s
phrase book, translation of a poem as recreation). Translinguistic
reproduction may be either transrendition (e.g. of English [1phoust]
by Marathi [1poṣṭə],
or translation (e.g. of English I have two sons by Hindi mere
do l¶ṛke hƐ n).
2 The distinction between the two matches the distinction
between rendition and formulation as a aspects of production,
between recognition and comprehension as aspects of
reception, and between rerendition and reexpression as types of intralinguistic
reproduction. Reproduction has an important bearing on linguistic
ontogeny and phylogeny.
Between texts, items, or rules, there may be historical
relationship – one may be a successor of the other, or
both may be cosuccessors of some third thing. Historical relationship
may be based on the descent of the descendent language
system from the ancestral language system arising out of childhood
transmission from one generation to the next. Alternatively, they
may be based on influence arising out of contact between
two languages, which may range from bare contact, “intimate” bilingualism.
Influence involves a three cornered relationship between the model,
the filter, and the replica, which is a successor to
both model and the filter. A replica text is reproduction of the model
from which it deviates because of some filter. If the replica is being
offered as a text of the filter language, we speak of the influence
as borrowing from donor model language to the recipient
(filter –replica) language. Borrowing on a large scale brings
a new descendent of the recipient language into being. If the replica
is being offered as a text in the model language, we speak of the
influence as mutation or interference in the model through
the mutator- filter language, the replica being assigned to
a mutant of the model. When a language L1 is consistently a
mutator of L2 into a mutant L21, then L2 is the mutated
ancestor of the mutated descendent L21. Thus,
English as used in India by native speakers from England is a descendent
of English acculturated to India – let us call it Indianized English.
It borrows from Indian languages by transrendition (e.g. bidi,
ahimsa) or by translation (e. g. leaf cigarette, non violence).
But English, as used in India by Indians whether as native or
as foreign speakers, is a mutated descendent of English, the various
Indian languages being its mutators – let us call it Indian English,
or more specifically, Hindi, English, Tamil English, All-India English
etc. It is characterized by transrendition from English (e.g. resulting
in homonymy between state and estate in Hindi English
or between eights and Yeats in Tamil English), translation
from Indian languages (e. g. communal riot, had gone yesterday),
transrendition from Indian languages (e. g. jira for
cumin seed), and of course plain mis-expression (e.g. really
speaking for speaking truthfully, feel homely for feel
Shared line of descent yields a language chain; codescendent
relationship yields a language family; shared influence yields a language
zone. The first great task of linguistic prehistory is the reconstruction
of earlier states of language. Reconstruction of texts, items, and
rules may proceed from a descendent towards an ancestor (internal),
from codescendents towards an ancestor (comparative), or from
a more remote ancestor and codescendents to a less remote ancestor
(reverse). 3 Reconstruction of historical relationships
of descent and influence between language systems is the second great
task of linguistic prehistory.
Returning to the three kinds of collations, we may begin by
observing that the distinction between correspondences and correlations
is reminiscent of the biologist’s distinction between the homologies
of comparative anatomy (e.g. resemblance between the human hand and
the mammalian foreleg pointing to common origin) and analogies of
comparative ecology (e.g. resemblance between the hand and the elephantine
trunk pointing to common function). Again, pattern matchings and correlations
may be distinguished in terms of the three modes of language use.
In pattern matching we are observing the exercise skills of native
production, reception and intralinguistic reproduction. In correlating
of traits we are concerned with translinguistic reproduction. The
items brought together in historical correspondences may or may not
be translinguistic reproductions. Sanskrit cakra is hardly
a transrendition of English wheel (its historical cognate).
While Marathi sətkar ‘act of honoring’ would be an acceptable
transendition of Bangla šɔtkara
funeral rite’ (a shared loan from Sanskrit satkāra),
one could hardly be translation of the other.
The basic data of historical linguistics are not so much observation
of the exercise of the skills of native production, reception, or
reproduction, or of translinguistic reproduction, nor, again, the
description of languages or languages stages. Rather, they are the
observation of successor relationships and of derived cosuccessor
relationships between texts, items, and rules4. If historical
linguistics is comparative in the sense in which comparative anatomy
or comparative physiology or comparative ethology (comparative psychology)
is comparative, correlative linguistics is comparative in the sense
in which comparative ecology or comparative religion is comparative.
For the kind of ambiguity (or is it richness) that the phrase ”comparative
linguistics” is thus seen to enjoy, we shall have to find a match,
probably in the phrase “comparative literature.”5
The reason behind this twofold nature of linguistic comparison
is, of course, the peculiar way in which languages instantiations
(idiolects) within a language community are like members of
a biological species within a population (Stevick 1963). Like two
species (which are not interfertile – cats and dogs do not interbreed:
horses and donkeys do, but the mules do not reproduce themselves)
and the unlike two nonlinguistic institution, two languages do not
yield a mixed idiolect with two ancestors. A child in a bilingual
environment ends up by acquiring two languages and not by acquiring
a mixed language, though some of his initial efforts at production
look suspiciously like one. Granting that pidginization has been a
much more common phylogenetic process than linguists have been disposed
to grant (Southworth 1971a, 1971b), 6 a pidgin is unmistakably
the mutated descendent of one language. Marathi (Southworth’s example)
remains an Indo-Aryan language despite the Dravidian grafting, as
much as Finnegan’s wake remains English despite Joyce’s drastic distortions
and conflations within and across the boundaries of English. (The
possibility of historical comparison does not entail the possibility
of comparative reconstruction, which calls for postulations of certain
other properties as well. See below, section 2.3, hypotheses 
Correlative linguistics has been talked
about previously under other names. Some of the terminological anticipations
include Hockett’s “contrastive linguistic” coordinate with synchronic
and diachronic linguistics (1948); Trager’s ‘contrastive linguistics”
inclusive of historical linguistics and coordinate with descriptive
linguistics (1952: 6-7 ); Greenberg’s “general linguistics” coordinate
with descriptive and historical linguistics (1957a: 86); Halliday’s
“comparative descriptive linguistics” inclusive of the theory of translation
and the theory of transfer comparison by the side of comparative historical,
descriptive, and institutional linguistics as division of general
linguistics (Halliday, McIntosh, and Strevens 1964; 15-16, 111-112,
120); Ellis’s “comparative linguistics” (especially its “all-purpose”
version) coordinate with descriptive linguistic (1966); and Hymes
“syncretic linguistic” coordinate with synchronic, diachronic, and
diatopic linguistics (1968:361),
has correlative linguistics so understood been actually practiced
so far? It certainly has been. As shall be seen below, such traditional
concerns as universal grammar (or its later avatar – language universals),
historical universals (e.g. the various hypotheses about “progress”
in language), structural or non-historical classification of languages
(now being rehabilitated as language typology) and of writing systems
(logo-graphic, syllabic, alphabetic), and such innovations as contrastive
linguistics and Greenberg’s historical typology (1957b) certainly
exemplify, though they do not exhaust, correlative linguistics. A
good part of Trevor Hill’s (1958) institutional linguistics, or of
translation theory, or geographical and social covariation and dialect
studies (cf. Footnote 1), or of theoretical and methodological discussions
of archiving and surveying of languages (Kelkar 1969b) exemplify or
implify correlative methods. It is about time,
I feel, that we take stock of the situation and propose
at least a tentative but comprehensive frame work for reinterpreting
past work, initiating future work, and ultimately stimulating the
search for a more adequate and more rigorous frame work. We shall
call this frame work correlative linguistics and recognize it as a
sub-frame work with in the larger frame work of linguistics sketched
presentation that follows is necessarily sketchy and abstract. Too
often, perhaps, I have counted on the reader to flesh it out with
his own examples and to supply his own footnote documentation.
THE IDENTIFICATION OF TRAITS
What is a language
trait? It is any fact about a language as such (other than correlation
with a user trait or a situational trait) that characterizes it as
a semiotic system. Thus, the following are language traits:
having a retroflex flap, having a distinction affirmative/ negative,
having a definite article, having an animate/ inanimate distinction
(e.g. who?/ what?, who/ which, man’s/* table’s [in English]), etc;
a rule or a pattern: having a prohibition on final consonants, having
an abundance of heavy nonmedial consonant sequences having a penultimate
accent, having a passive construction, having S-V-O order in the surface
structure of statements, having double negatives, having a rule in
the kinship terminology that, if x is a kin-type K to a married male,
x is also K to the latter’s wife, etc.;
a statistical expectation (e.g. expectation of null frequency, of
nonnull frequency, of comparative frequency) about items in some inventory,
rules in some system, or texts in some corpus: lacking a retroflex
flap, having more polymorphemic words than monomorphemic words in
the lexicon (or in a representative subcorpus of occurrent texts),
using fusion morphs more often than additive morphs, tolerating homonymy
in functors, tolerating homonymy in nonfunctors, using animate-to-inanimate
shift less often than using inanimate – to-animate shift, lacking
a writing system, etc.
It will be seen that
the concept of trait is wide-ranging enough to accommodate the negative
traits, quantified traits (e.g. having words with the average
length of 2.1 morphemes), and the more sophisticated epistemic
traits as proposed by Bazell (1958) (e.g. being more amenable
to analytic model A than to analytic model B in phonology, grammar,
etc.). But then the following are not, strictly speaking, language
traits – rather they are disguised:
language-user traits : having more than a million users, having
more monolingual native users than multilingual native users, having
more nonnative users than native users, having no live speakers, having
no native users, having no native female literate users, etc. (typically,
we shall have to add, “at any given time”).
Situation-of-use traits: having
been used as a medium for schooling, is use exclusively at homes of
native speakers, having been designated as a national language, not
used for love letters, in use when close rapport between participants
exists, in use when secrecy is desired, etc (typically, some of these
do not correlate with whole languages but with specific items, rules,
Let us call these extrinsic
language traits, to distinguish them from language traits proper
or intrinsic language traits. As we shall see, we need to speak
of extrinsic language traits too.
Identifying an extrinsic
trait or a purely phonetic intrinsic trait in a language would seem
to be easy enough. Even if it is not easy, that would be a headache
for demographers, anthropologists, experimental psychologists, or
whoever, but not for linguists as such. How do we identify an intrinsic
trait, other than a purely phonetic one, within a language? More importantly,
how do we know that two languages possess the same trait? If one were
to adopt an ad hoc approach
to the establishment of the categories of the linguistic analysis
of a language, the identification of intrinsic traits across languages
would seem to be an insuperable problem. How could one say that two
languages share the phonological unit |r| or the grammatical distinction
N/V or A/V or the semantic distinction visible/invisible, if one said
that the use of the same symbol or the label in the relation to two
languages is no more than a convenience? Indeed, such an impasse probably
delayed the resumption of the concern for language universals and
language typology in the “descriptive” era of linguistics. In these
days linguists delighted in pointing out that the “adjectives” of
one language are apt to be translated by the “nouns” (or the “verbs”)
of another language, or that the unit /p/ participating in the commutations
p:ph:b:bh in one language is not commutation p:b in another language,
or that the case of /r/ realized as an apical trill, uvular trill,
apical flap, or laminal obsulcate7 in various language
is a hopeless one. Equally delighted (or exasperating, according to
one’s inclination) was transrendition of both [ph] and
[p] in English as [p] by a native user of Marathi, a language which
has both sounds in contrast, or the lexicographer’s difficulties in
offering a translation gloss
for English have in Hindi or for Hindi juţh
a in English.
removal of this impasse involves a change in the model underlying
analytic linguistics. Indeed one may claim that one’s correlative
comparisons cannot be better than one’s linguistic analysis. I should
broadly accept this claim, but immediately qualify it in some ways.
To begin with, does this claim lead us into postponing any serious
correlative comparison until after analyzing all the languages in
accordance with some one model deemed to be acceptable, or, at least,
until after finding some way of “translating” available descriptions
with varied underlying models to some uniform model? Bazell (1958)
and, following him, Lyons (1962)8 have already indicated
a way out of this impasse, offering thereby to turn adversity into
opportunity by proposing a new tool, which I earlier christened “epistemic
trait’. A more radical solution, however, would be to accept language
users’ translinguistic reproduction (transrenditions as well as translations)
as the basic data of correlative linguistics rather than the descriptions
of individual languages churned out by some favorite analytic model.
Two languages will be deemed to have the same trait, not so much because
the same item label or rule formula turns up in the analysis of them,
but because texts exemplifying the item or the rule in question in
each language are transrendered or translated by texts exemplifying
the corresponding item or rule. This proposal would lead us to see
that one’s linguistic analysis cannot be better than one’s correlative
model of linguistic analysis is subject to check of data – oriented
correlative comparison to prevent it from ignoring genuine relatively
deeper resemblances: cases in point are the salutary effect of Jakobson’s
proposal (1966) for a correlative inventory of phonological minima,
or of Fillmore’s proposal (1968) for a correlative inventory of grammatical
cases. Proposals to economize analytical statements by leaving unstated
the appearance of universals or near universals in the language in
question (e.g. by marking conventions) also stem from insights arising
out of correlative comparison. In general, the search for formal universals
is also the search for the foundations of linguistic analysis.
model of correlative comparison, on the other hand is subject to the
check of the data – oriented linguistic analysis to prevent it from
ignoring genuine, relatively deeper differences; cases in point are
the salutary reminders that languages can differ profoundly in their
handling of the structure and function of syllables or in their handling
of word order, grapping, and what Halliday (1970: 43) calls cohesion
Initial and Consequent Collations of correlative linguistics.
THE SELECTION OF THE DOMAIN. Theoretically, the domain of correlative
comparison encompasses every human language – extinct, dead, or living,
with perhaps a sideways glance at Esperanto or Rudolf – Carnapese.
Taking on this whole domain or language population is obviously not
feasible. The languages are not all accessible, let alone the data
on all translinguistic reproduction possibilities. Even if one confines
oneself to all those that are accessible and not undeciphered, the
linguist’s attention span is limited, even if it were to be reinforced
by computer memory
Fortunately, all these ambitious undertaking
are unnecessary – at least immediately. Years of two-languages-at-a-time
comparisons are necessary before a receptable group of testable hypothesis
can be assembled, and before at least the major problems of collation
and validation in this field are mastered. Refinements of sampling
and quantification of correlation will also come to our aid, provided
we see the point in exploring the whole gamut from prefect correlation
(linguistic impossibilities and necessities) to near zero correlations
(mere possibilities). Finally, there may even be some virtue in selecting
a subdomain. Such a subdomain, as distinct from maximal domain, may
be based on any of the following criteria or any combination of them:
Membership of a language family (or subfamily) based on shared descent
or of a language chain (or subchain) based on shared line of descent.
Membership of a language network (or
subnetwork) bases on shared influence in a certain epoch.
Sharing of a certain language-user trait
Sharing of a certain situation-of-use trait or traits
Belonging to a certain phase of culture
history (e.g. feudalism, pre-agricultural or tribal societies enclaved
within societies of a later phase, modern industrial societies) –
it will be noticed that under (e), there is a merger of the criteria
in (c) and (d).
The overall picture that will emerge
after correlative comparison within such a domain may or may not confirm
significant generalization, e.g. Indo-European languages are suffixing,
Slavic languages palatalizing; Arabic has been borrowing by translation
rather than transrendition throughout its long history; Standard Average
European (to borrow Whorf’s nomenclature [1941 and 1956b: 138]) favors
S-V-O order, have like verbs, subject-predicate cleavage, “meaningless”
proper names, and standardization of noncasual languages, and it does
not favor clicks (consigned to paraphonology) or tones (confined to
accented syllables, and that in very few languages).
SELECTION OF THE SUBSYSTEM. Just as one can conveniently and profitably
confine oneself to a subdomain, one may also confine oneself to a
subsystem – say, phonology, graphonomy, syntax, kinship terminology
– from which to select the traits for study, Selecting just one trait
or a pair is the limiting case and the starting point of study by
SCHEMATA OF CORALATIVE COMPARISON. Given the
domain or language population, an inventory of its members, and a
repertory of traits likely to occur within domain, one can then establish,
measure, and evaluate correlations of the following sort:
Between a trait and a given member language
(given the language L, L possesses or lacks the trait T1)
b. Between a trait and membership of the domain
(given the member languages of the domain D, L always or sometimes
possesses or lacks the trait T1; thus, T1 may be universal, near-universal,
type-yielding or negative universal in respect of D )9.
c. Between one trait and another and membership of the domain (given
the member languages of the domain D, if any language L possesses
or lacks T1, then L always or sometimes possesses or lacks T2; thus,
T1 and T2 may be compatible or incompatible, may from a syndrome
of co occurring and possibly implicating traits, may form a spectrum
of competing, possibly conflicting traits, and so on; [a spectrum
of traits may be based on either of two considerations: the traits
may be varying renditions or expressions associated with a more “abstract”
item or they may be varying functions or interpretations of a relatively
less “abstract” item]; if L1 possesses T1, L2 possesses a nonidentical
T2, and T1 and T2 transrender
or translate each other, then L1 and L2 are type-different in
respect of the trait-couple T1:T2).
Between a sequence of a trait and successor trait, on the one hand,
and any language sequence in the domain (given that L1 is an ancestor,
mutated ancestor, donor, or mutator of L2 in respect of trait sequence
within the domain D, if L1 possesses T1, then L2 always or sometimes
possesses or lacks T2 as successor of T1; thus T1 à T2 is an ordered sequence
of traits; if T1 = T2, then T à T2 is a stable sequence
of traits; if T1 à
T2 occurs and T2 àT1
does not, it is an irreversible sequence; if L1 àL2 represents stages in
a domain made up of ontogenetic chains, then T1 à T2 is an ontogenetic
sequence of traits, and so on).
e. Between a dendroidal or reticular pattern (e.g. a family
tree or a network of a certain shape) and a domain of phylogenetic
chains (specific dendroidal or reticular phylogenetic patterns and
specific linear phylogenetic patterns, as noted in (d) above, may
be thought of as intrinsic traits of the domain as such, rather than
of individual members)
f. Between a trait and a extrinsic trait
and membership of the domain (given the member languages of the domain
D, if any language L possesses or lacks T1, then L always or sometimes
possesses or lacks the extrinsic trait ET1; thus, an isogloss is a
special subtype of correlations of type (f); the trait of an intrinsic
trait may be thought of as an extrinsic trait).
Between a trait sequence and an extrinsic trait sequence and membership
of the domain (given that L1 is an ancestor, mutated ancestor, donor,
possesses T1, L2 possesses T2, and T1àT2, then it is always
or sometimes or never the case that L1 possesses ET1, L2 possesses
ET2, L2 possesses ET2, and ET1à ET2; the sequence may be phylogenetic or ontogenetic).
Between an intrinsic trait of a subdomain and an extrinsic trait of
a domains of the domain D, if any subdomain SD possesses or lacks
the domain trait DT1, then SD always or sometimes possesses or lacks
the extrinsic domain trait EDT1).
Briefly, there are analytic (a, b. c. f,),
ontogenetic (d, g,), and phylogenetic (d, e, g, h) correlations. The
ones which involve extrinsic traits, over and above just the membership
of a domain (f, g, h), may be called pragmatic correlations. Type
(b) correlations may be called conditional analytic correlations.
Illustrations of these types of correlation will be provided below
EVALUATION OF CORRELATIVE COLLATIONS. Each of these correlations has
to be evaluated: this evaluation will not only take into account quantified
measurement but will also call for qualitative weighting. Thus, a
language with clicks in phonology will be deemed to be more “clicky”,
i.e. to be better correlated with the trait of having clicks, than
a language with clicks in paraphonology. Locating a trait in five
closely related languages is certainly less impressive evidence of
its widespread character than locating it in five historically unrelated
cases. The membership of subdomain will be deemed to be better correlated
with a trait if more “key” members of the subdomain have it than if
fewer “key” members have it. Whether a member is a “key” member or
not will, presumably, be determined on the basis of the possession
of certain extrinsic traits. In determining the trait syndromes, the
trait spectra, and the trait sequences with respect to a domain, some
traits will probably be deemed to be “key” traits. In general if T1
is subsumable under T2 (e.g. having an alveolar click, and having
a click), T2 is more important than T1.
Occasionally, however, even a highly particularized
trait may assume a diagnostic value for some purpose – for example,
the greasy (s/z) isogloss in American English. An isogloss
is, to begin with, merely a correlation between (a) a trait and (b)
the extrinsic trait of the language user’s residence or social position
or situation of use and (c) membership of a domain of differentiated
languages of the same family and network. It is expected that a good
many of these isoglosses will turn out to be diatopic historical correspondences
based on descent and influence. In other words, correlations are being
subjected to evaluative criteria that are essentially historical.
It is not difficult to extend the concept of the isogloss to diachronic
correspondences and correlations. Thus, we can speak of fascicule
of isoglosses marking two stages in the history of a language.
Finally, there are “correspondences” that
serve as the basis of internal reconstruction, e.g. d/t nonfinal
and t final in German; a/i and o/e as masculine/
feminine markers in different Marathi paradigms, to give a phonological
and a grammatical example, respectively. A proposal to call these
either correspondences or correlations of isoglosses is attractive
enough. Internal reconstructions would then be assimilated to comparative
reconstruction. It must be borne in mind, however, that this last
move would require a major extension of our notion if linguistic comparison.
We shall thereby be recognizing that there is a minor but important
overlap between intralinguistic, analytic collations and interlinguistic,
comparative collations. I think this is well worth the logical maneuvering
called for. We shall sketch the outline of a suggested maneuver below
A Sampling of Hypotheses
We now proceed to cite, without approval
or disapproval and largely without comment, some examples of hypotheses
involving correlations differing in the correlated terms, in conjectural
strength, and in evaluative status. Hopefully, these will serve to
indicate what correlative linguistics should look like. I must say
that I have not always taken the trouble to recast the familiar formulation
of the hypothesis into exact conformity to the schemata proposed above
(section 2.2.3). We shall begin with some analytic examples (1-11),
then offer an ontogenetic example (12), and conclude with linear (13-18,24-27)
and dendroidal (19-23,28-34) phylogenetic examples. Some of these
are pragmatic and thus involve extrinsic traits (11, 24-27, 28-34).
Both English and French share a trait: my old friend and mon
vieil ami are ambiguous in the same way. Both refer either to
one who has been a friend for a long time or to a friend who has been
alive for a long time,; an old soldier goes the same way but
an old hat, an old man, the old wife, the older wife
don’t. Marathi and Hindi lack this trait. It will be interesting to
explore other Indo-European, Indian, and European languages.
A number of languages in Negro Africa use the same metaphor – a door
is called a “mouth of the house” (Greenberg 1957a:70).
Some metaphor types predominantly go in one direction: body-part name
for artifact or other inanimate object, physical for mental state,
spatial for temporal.
High vowels have narrow phonetic ranges; the range of mid vowels is
never narrower than that of high vowels.
The nasal systems form a trait spectrum: m, m/n, m/n/n, m/n/n/ñ, etc.
such that the presence of ŋ implies the presence of m and n,
the presence of n implies the presence of m, but not vice versa.
A voiceless obstruent is never followed by a voiced obstruent in close
The presence of the number system implies the presence of singular;
that of dual implies that of singular; if one member of the number
system lacks a marker, it will be the singular number.
The following traits from a syndrome; S-V-O as statements; V-S-O and
v-S-V-O (or S-V-s-O) as questions; and S1-V1-O1-and
–S2-O2 as gapping transforms (where v and s
stand for dummy verb and subject respectively).
The following traits form a syndrome: all syllable boundaries equally
open as transitions; tone contrasts; and syllables, morphemes, and
words invariably or predominantly coterminous.
Every language has a phonology;
only some languages have writing systems.
The “deeper” a trait is (in some determinate sense of “deeper” independent
of “universal”) the more nearly it is likely to be. In other words,
the deep traits constitute a universal syndrome.
When the adult language has a vowel system of the type i/e/a/o/u,
then the following is a common ontogenetic trait sequence: I ~ e/a/o
~ u à
Tamil has miraculously escaped innovations for centuries.
The following is an irreversible trait sequence: s/h à
h, i.e. s merges with h never the reverse.
The Neogrammarian hypothesis (underlying comparative phonological
reconstruction): phonemes don’t split except by way of resegmentation,
i.e. the trait sequence “lack of contrast à
gain of contrast” is a negative universal. (This is at least true
of direct or nonmutated descent.)
The internal phonological reconstruction hypothesis: the following
is a possible trait sequence;
(a as a in Environment 1) with Rule (b as b in Environment 1) àRule (a as b in Environment
1) with Rule (b as b in Environment 1) but the following is not:
(a as a in Environment 1) with Rule (b as a in Environment 1)à Rule (a as b in Environment
1) with Rule (b as b in Environment 1).
that both sequences are compatible with (15) above. A more generalized
formulation, perhaps, would be: phonological alterations are not abridged
or lost phonologically, but only through analogical leveling.
Loss of contrast and loss of sounds in word-initial position is rare;
the same in word-final position is rather common.
The number of genders is always reduced, never increased. When it
is decreased the masculine gender is never sacrificed.
Languages “progress” from a low morphemes-per-word ratio to a high
one: this was later replaced by a contrary hypothesis.
If the following are borrowed at all, they are almost always borrowed
to fill previous gaps in the systems, not to supersede previously
existing items: numerals, kin terms, functors, terms for body parts
and body functions.
Some languages borrow freely through transrendition; others prefer
to borrow through translation.
Languages split but do not merge; when they split, they do so decorously
into two languages at a time. In other words, a language cannot have
more than one line of ancestry and more than two immediate descendents.
(In wave hypothesis, the first part is questioned in so far as possibilities
of the following sort are accepted: L1 is ancestral to L2 in respect
of T1 but L3 is ancestral to L2 in respect of T2. In a modified family
tree hypothesis, such a possibility will be accepted, provided that
L1 and L3 are barely separated codescendants of L4. [Cf. South worth
1964 and the nation of transition dialects.]).
The following is a recurring pattern in dendrodial phylogeny: a single
branch proliferates, the other atrophy, e. g. Latin against Oscan,
Umbrian, etc. in Italic; Proto-New-Indo-Aryan against various non-literary,
spoken dialects of Middle Indo-Aryan; Bantu against other branches
of Niger-Congo; Classical Arabic against other cognate languages.
Grammatical irregularities resist analogical leveling in high frequency
items, e.g. widespread suppletion in verbs meaning “go”.
Lexical hypertrophy (snow in Eskimo, horse and date in Arabic, Kinship
in Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) correlates with special attention to
the referential domain in the non-linguistic culture.
Only dead languages escape change. Languages with only non native
users resist change with moderate success. Thus, the noncasual language
of law, folksong, and written literature tends to be archaic and conservative.
Traits associated with certain other situations of use tend to encourage
innovations and their diffusion, which results in a high infant mortality
in words and idioms. Examples are slang and occupational jargon.
The lexicostatistic hypothesis of glottochronology: the percentage
rate of replacements within the basic vocabulary over a given length
of time is constant over long periods. The basic vocabulary consists
of those meanings whose expressions resist borrowing and are near-universal
The age and area hypothesis of glottochronology: the diffusion of
innovations proceeds at a relatively constant rate geographical area
and dispersal over time). This is at least valid for pre-industrial
The language-branching hypothesis of glottochronology: a language
diverges into branches at a relatively constant rate (number of terminal
branches and their dissimilarity from each other over time), e.g.
the relatively low diversity in American English and Bantu indicate
The following is a recurring pattern in language networks: one of
the language systems gains nonnative users from among the native users
of other language systems; this is the auxiliary dialect / language
The following is a recurring pattern in language networks: a plethora
of unrelated or distantly related languages in a small mountainous
area, e. g. the Caucasus, northwestern California, the Nilgiris, the
Hindukush Kabul River Valley-Gilgit Zone.
Donorship in borrowing goes with high social or political status or
with donorship in some field of non-linguistic culture (e. g. Italian
musical terms in English); mutatorship in interference goes with low
social or political status.
A mutant language system has fewer contrasts than either the mutated
ancestor or the mutator (filter) languages, e. g. Marathi English
has fewer intonational patterns than either native English or native
Marathi. (This is an example of a “poverty” trait.)
Language contact without bilingualism but with acute need of communication
results in pidginization. Creolization may or may not follow. If it
does follow, the Creole either sheds its “poverty” traits through
innovations or is displaced by its ancestral language or borrows heavily
3. THE GOALS AND APPLICATIONS OF CORRELATIVE LINGUISTICS
By isolating universal, negative universal,
and near-universal traits of language systems, language families,
and language networks within the maximal domain, we arrive at a far
more detailed characterization of natural language systems, as such,
and their history. The validation of analytic and historical models
is aided. (By relating such traits later to extrinsic traits, especially
universal, negative universal, and near-universal extrinsic traits
of natural languages, we open the way for comparing the so-called
natural languages with other sign systems and cybernetic systems in
man and nature, and for seeking explanations for them. This of course
takes us outside linguistics proper. Examples of the relevant extrinsic
traits are: every native user of every language plays all the roles
– rendition, expression, recognition or scanning, comprehension, rerendition,
and reexpression; language is useable with eyes closed, hands full,
mouthful, and feet in locomotion; every language can be acquired without
difficulty before the age of six by any child not deaf, dumb, an idiot,
or left to the wolves.)
By isolating spectra of type-yielding
traits of language systems, language families, and language networks
within the maximal domain, we come to see the full spectrum of possibilities.
This can often serve as a needed cross-check on the excessively bold
or excessively timid claims and hopes of analytic universals. Thus,
while linguists may differ as to the number of “strata” or “components”
in a language, they often seem to agree that the number is the same
for all languages. In such matters it may turn out to be the case
that what were considered rival analytic models are actually opposed
language types.(This is, after all, the point of Bazell’s proposal
of what I have called epistemic traits in section 2.)Alternatively,
it may sometime turn out that what were considered opposed language
types appear opposed just because they are applications of rival analytic
models. By isolating syndromes, we arrive at generalization of wider
scope and greater relevance. By isolating trait sequences we understand
the spectrum of possibilities in language history. This can also serve
as cross- check on claims for historical universals. The validation
of analytic and historical models of specific systems and their histories
is aided. By correlating the typologies of languages and language
histories with extrinsic traits, we open the way towards explaining
either one or other, or both. This also takes us outside linguistics
proper into the extrinsic study of language, for which correlative
linguistics will provide a firmer base.
By working out typologies and universals
subdomains, we arrive at a far more detailed characterization of such
subdomains and their history. The subdomain may be a phase of cultural
history, in which case our understanding of the extrinsic history
of languages as a human institution is increased. If the subdomain
is a language family or a language network, correlative comparison
will make explicit the experienced specialist’s “feel” for what to
expect and what not to expect in dealing with a new body of data within
the subdomain: the scholarly surrogate for the native speaker’s Sprachgefühl
that Romanist, Dravidianist, or Americanist has for his respective
domain. (The native speaker’s intuition is limited to a particular
language.) The search for successor and cosuccessor relationship in
historical linguistics may begin with the search for diatopic and
diachronic isoglosses or trait correlations.
Proposals for Revising the Schemata
the subdomain may be a pair of languages or a small enumerative set
of languages as distinct from the domain defined in historical terms
or in terms of extrinsic traits considered above (section 2.2.1, items
(a), (b); (c),(d),and (e)). This will bring out resemblances as well
as differences between the two languages, and throw light on the processes
of transrendition, translation, and the bilingual’s receptive and
productive skills in general involving the members of the domain.
The traditional concerns of error analysis, of the language teacher’s
comparison between model and filter language and attempts to anticipate
ease of learning and errors, and of the translator’s comparisons and
attempts to recommend or warn against certain translation all become
relevant at this point. The presentation of the results of correlative
comparison between a pair of languages may be either nondirected or
directed towards one or the other of the two languages10.
case of such an arbitrarily enumerated subdomain is of course the
subdomain of only one language – considered earlier as type (a) correlation.
In such a “domain” there will be “universals”, “negative universals”,
“syndromes”, but no type-yielding traits, no spectra, no trait sequence.
By working with such a subdomain in relations to larger domains, one
can arrive at the typological characterization of the language. The
stresses and strains set up by competing traits within a language
could be exhibited as quasi-spectra (yielding quasi-isoglosses) internal
to a language. Such a presentation would also serve to provide the
initial collations for internal reconstruction. By allowing itself
the privilege of squinting at negative traits and statistical expectations,
it will also illuminate a straight analytic presentation in various
list of types (a) to (e) of subdomains presented in section 2.2.1,
one more may be added:
Belonging to an arbitrary enumerated set – typically of one language
or of two or three languages – which may be called an arbitrary domain.
An arbitrary domain with only one member may be
called a singulary domain.
The list of schemata (a) to (h) of correlative collations presented
in section 2.2.3, now stands revised. Schema (a) now reads as follows:
Between a trait and membership of a singulary domain (given the member
L of the singulary domain D, L wholly or partially possesses or lacks
the trait T1; thus, if L is partially possesses traits T1 and T2 which
are in competition, L may be said to possess the quasi-spectrum T1-T2;
the sum of the traits and negative traits that L possesses, and excludes
universals and negative universals of the maximal domain, may be called
the trait profile of L; two trait profiles may be similar in all respects
or in respect of some traits)
(b) to (h) remain as they are expect for the added stipulations that
the domain in question may be an arbitrary subdomain but not a singulary
arbitrary subdomain, and that the trait in question may be a negative
trait or trait syndrome of positive and /or negative traits. (A trait
profiles is a special case of a sequence of trait syndromes.)
Bearing of Correlative Linguistics on Certain problems of Theory
It is worth noting here that the discussion
of both universals and typologies in analytic, ontogenetic, and phylogenetic
areas is expected to throw light on certain interrelated notions whose
precise content and mutual import have remained rather poorly explored
so far. I have in mind the following vaguely intuited insights:
That in any language system the items and the rules range from the
inner code to the outer margin. Thus, paraphonology, graphonomy, and
onomastics are barely parts of the system. Paraphonology has presumably
grammatical and semologic analogues. If script and orthography are
marginal, Morse code, Pitman shorthand, and other surrogates of writing
are even more so. Proper names tend to be excluded from dictionaries.
“Given” names like William, Rover, Ritz, Philharmonic,
One who knows, the age of reason are probably less marginal
than passively “inherited” or “borrowed” names like Shakespeare, the
Malagasy, India, Swahili; “household” names like Shakespeare,
(THE Shakespeare, that is), Einstein, London, the English,
the Thames (the one which can be set on fire) are less marginal
than more “obscure” ones like Thomas Peacock, Bournemouth,
Aurangabad, the Middle Kingdom. Again “native” or unmarked
elements in phonology and vocabulary are more central than elements
in phonology and vocabulary that are marked “borrowed” or “learned”
(chair is of course “native’ or unmarked in this context, no
matter what the etymologist has to say). The notion of “basic” vocabulary
is also relevant here. Mixing metaphors further, deep rules have been
set against low-level rules. (Compare section 2.3). Formal universals
(e.g. all languages have phonemes, morphemes, form classes, and transformations)
are deemed to be more important than substantive universals (e.g.
all languages have vowels, consonants and intonation; nouns, verbs,
and predications; animate/inanimate, special markers for speakers
and listener). Moderately slow, deliberate speech – all of which tend
to obliterate segmental and prosodic contrasts. Derivation but not
inflection can be consigned to small print or left out.
Linguists in their commendable desire to avoid linguistic ethnocentrism
fight shy of “loaded” characterizations like “exotic” or “implausible”
or “strange” in describing traits like implosive, dental slit fricatives,
voiced aspiration, elongated gender, or the pervasive cleavage between
ordinary and honorific in the vocabulary (seen in Javanese and Persian).
But it will not be too difficult, and will be probably worthwhile,
to replace these characterizations by more carefully and objectively
defined distinctions. For example, “displaced” articulations like
labiodental, apicolabial, retroflex, dorsopostvelar, uvular, and pharyngeal
articulations are less common than nondisplaced ones like bilabial,
apicondental, and apicoalveolar, dorsovelar, and glottal articulations.
A similar comment may be offered on another set of epithets usable
in relation to trait sequences. Some changes are dubbed “natural”
or “plausible” or “progressive” or “economizing” or “balance-restoring;”
while others are dubbed “strange” or “degenerative” or “costly” or
“imbalance-producing.” This is obviously connected with the nonexotic
/exotic dichotomy. A change “restoring” nonexotic patterns is presumably
more likely than a change bringing in exotic features. At least sometimes
the implied value judgments make obvious sense, for example, hypertrophy
of homonyms or synonyms; the dozen senses of hari - or the
several dozen synonyms for “water” in Sanskrit are suspect, not expectable
in a “living” language. So the alleviation of homonymy and synonymy
in functors and contentors is a really accepted explanatory motivation
in discussions of linear phylogeny. Again, a change, filing a “hole”
in a phonological, grammatical or lexical paradigm, has something
“natural” about it.
Applications of correlative Linguistics
Enough ha been
said on this subject. As examples of application from the general
to the specific, see the sample hypotheses (Section 2.3). Application
from correlative linguistics to other parts of linguistic theory applications
from correlative linguistics to the extrinsic study of language, and,
finally, applications from theory to practical concerns have all been
hinted at in Sections 3, 3.1 (first two paragraphs), and 3.2.
ON THE METHODOLOGY OF LINGUISTICS IN GENERAL
in linguistics, I understand the procedures that take us from observations
of the exercise of the skills of production, reception, and reproduction
on the part of native, adherent, and (if need be) other speakers,
from observed subcorpora, and from tentative determinations of successor
and cosuccessor relationships between texts, items, and rules to maximally
validated presentations of analytic systems, of linear and dendroidal
phylogenetic processes, analytic and phylogenetic universals, and
typologies of subdomains and of the whole domain in every human language,
living, dead, or extinct. To the extent that we are prepared to go
beyond linguistics proper into behavior-oriented, text-oriented, and
system-oriented studies of language, we can also offer explanations
that being in matters extrinsic to language as well. (The exercise
of receptive skills, it may be noted in passing, also includes the
giving of metalinguistic judgments, for example: that two texts or
text fragments are or are not reproductions of each other in the same
language or across different language systems; that a given text is
appropriate in a given meaning; and that two texts are homogeneous
in language or are in a successor or cosuccessor relationship.)
procedures can be grouped under the following phases: (a) collection
and storage; (b) collation and collated storage; (c) analysis or prehension
of small-scale patterns, wide-ranging hypotheses, and fundamental
paradigms or postulates; (d) presentation and storage of collated
and validated presentations; and (e) validation (inclusive of relative
evaluation). These different phases are not equally amenable to the
use of mechanical aids (consider sound recording, photocopying, data
processing, and storage and retrieval systems) or of well-defined
(especially algorithmic) procedures as opposed to rough-and-ready,
heuristic, ad hoc, or intuitive procedures (consider alphabetization,
formulation of generative routines, ear-phonetic transcription, “semantic
transcription,” assembly-line phonemics à la early Pike, and
specified format for formulating hypotheses and presentations).
We may make
the following comments: (1) A prehension or discovery is the least
amenable to mechanical aids and well-defined procedures; collection,
collation, and storage are the most amenable. (2) The traditional
prejudice against mechanical aids and procedures, especially in phases
(b) and, (d) is on the wane. (3) Phonology and graphonomy are more
amenable, semantics least amenable to such aids and procedures. (4)
Areas requiring the handling of large bodies of data have a grater
need for such aids and procedures, e. g. grammar more than Phonology,
lexicon more than grammar, larger domains more than smaller domains.
(5) The prehension and validation of small-scale patterns are more
amenable to such aids and procedures; the validation and, even less
so, prehension of fundamental paradigms are the least amenable; computer-aided
validation of the analysis of specific languages is a possibility.11
(6) The increasing formularization of presentation certainly facilities
validation, but then t probably has a ceiling, if language is in some
fundamental sense crude, fuzzy, leaky, open-textured, or ill-defined;
it is certainly not an accident that most analytic models intended
for actual application provide for a dustbin in which to put sweepings
from under the rug – call it usage or idiom or performance or high
delicacy zone or nipāta or, even, lexicon. (7) As we come
to understand language or any subdomain of it better, the intuitive
“feel” of the specialist that aids him in prehension and evaluation
will become more widely available as a set of objective formulations;
this “vulgarization” of the art of linguistic methodology probably
has an upper limit.
The Methodology of Correlative Comparison
When we apply the forgoing wider considerations to correlative comparison
as such, we can anticipate rapid advances in the next few years in
archiving, i.e. systematic collection, collation, and storage of data,
collations, and presentations. Something like linguistic analogue
of the Human Relations Area Files is badly needed. This will materially
assist the measurement of the strength of analytic correlations. Phylogenetic
correlations call for a different kind of archiving – not of systems
and corpora, but of rules of successor and cosuccessor relationships
between corpora and between systems. Presumably the refinements in
the formalizations (of the kind proposed in section 2.2.3 and 3.1)
will be of interest to students of comparative ethnography.
Correlative linguistics eminently shows the recursive or
cyclical character of the linguistic method. We start with initial
collations (L1 has or hasn’t T1, and L1 and L2 both have or haven’t
T1); propose a hypothesis and validate the collations with reference
to consequent or derived collations; if the hypothesis is valid, the
new collations based on it suggest other proposals; and so on. The
so-called initial collations are themselves hypotheses based on more
primitive observations and are separated from latter by the same scientific
leap which resists formalized procedure.
It is not strictly necessary, but still perfectly legitimate,
to seek justification for this leap in formulating analytic universals
in considerations outside linguistics proper. Consider the following
By one estimate, there are about four thousand languages
spoken today, and there must have been many more in the past, some
of which have probably left no trace at all, “How can you verify your
universal theory without a knowledge of quite a number of them?”
“It is true that we transformationalists have studied only
a handful of languages in a really intensive way, but each new language
that we study intensively in the future will support the conclusions
that we have already drawn. I am confident of this, because it seems
to me that if we assume that any infant can learn any language – that
no infant is genetically a speaker of a specific language – then every
attribute we postulate in order to explain an infant’s ability to
learn one language must be true of any child’s learning of any language,
and so must be a universal condition of a universal grammar. Thus,
on the basis of the evidence that we have from the study of a few
languages we can safely assume that for learning languages there must
be a schematism in the mind – a physical mechanism in the brain –
that is the same in every human being”.12
the assumption that “any infant can learn any language”, given an
environment of a certain kind, seems to be safe enough, it is clear
that this rationalization of the scientific leap in correlative comparison
will have a point only if one can formulate a validation procedure
for sorting out those traits of a specific language that have to be
presupposed by ANY infant’s ability to learn THAT language under certain
universal conditions from the traits that are, for one reason or another,
not so presupposed.
By way of concluding, I should like
to indicate an epistemologically vulnerable spot. For some, the mention
of neogrammarian hypothesis as a sample of phylogenetic correlations
may have rung a warning bell. It is not quite clear how far this hypothesis
(which is currently under fire) is a truth claim that can be proved,
refuted, or replaced by a revised truth claim, and how far it is merely
a methodological postulate that, in conjunction with the family tree
hypothesis (sample 22 above), makes comparative phonological reconstruction
possible. Probably, the same is the case with the claims that transformations
are all meaning-preserving or that they all “precede” the lexical
pass or the bad odor once associated with context-sensitive rules.
Are these truth claims about formal universals or demands for methodological
Even assuming that we can find some
touchstone with which to answer these questions and make the necessary
discriminations, there are three further questions: (1) What bearing,
if any, has this distinction on the philosophical distinction between
categories involved in category mistakes and classes? (2) How far
is the concept of validation or evaluation applicable to fundamental
paradigms or postulates? (3) What bearing, if any, has this distinction
on the alleged possibility of nonautonomous facts in linguistics –
facts that won’t brutally stare you in the face, but will be available
only to noses sensitized by certain theories?
Are we perhaps dealing with a three-way
distinction among universal traits – genuine truth claims, defining
traits, and methodological postulates? To say that the language has
AT LEAST two articulations or strata is offering to define the commonest
use of the term language; but to say, with Saussure or Bloomfield,
or Hjelslev or Hockett or Ross-McCawley-Lakoff, that it has only two,
or, with Trager or Chomsky or Lamb or Halliday, that is has at least
three, is making a true claim. To say that the claim that is has,
eight strata is prima facie dubious is making a methodological
demand. Now to which of these three belongs the general conspiracy
to agree that all languages have the same number of strata?
SELECTED BIBLOGRAPHY OF CORRELATIVE LINGUISTICS
The following is a selected, partially
annotated bibliography of works on correlative linguistics. (Not all
of the items have been seen by me personally.) The bibliography includes
all references cited in the text of this article.
In addition to the specific items below,
I also recommend the following general sources on correlative linguistics:
(a) the archiving issue of IJAL 20 (2) (1954); (b) the translation
issue of IJAL 20 (4) (1954); (c) the typology papers in IJAL
26 (3) (1960) and IJAL 28(4) (1962); (d) the section on language
universals in ICL-9 (1962); (e) the section on typology in
ICL-10 (1970); (f) the papers in the plenary sessions on language
universals and the section on typology in ICL-11 (1972); and
(g) TLP-2 (1966), -4 (1972).
papers of the V international congress of anthropological and ethnological
sciences. Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania press 1960.
ICL-8 Proceedings of the V111th
international congress of linguists. Edited by Eva Sivertsen.
Oslo: Oslo University press 1958.
ICL-9 Proceedings of the 1Xth
international congress of linguists. Edited by Horace G. Lunt.
The Hague; Mouton. 1962.
ICL-10 Actes du xe congress international
des linguists. Edited by A.Graur at al. Bucharest: Academiei Republicii
Sociaaliste Romania. 1970.
ICL-11 Proceedings of the X1th
international of congress of linguists. Edited by Luigi Heilmann.
Bologna and Florence. 1972.
IJAL International journal of American
IRAL International Review of applied
TLP Travaux linguistique de Prague.
AGNISKY, BURT W., ETHEL G. AGNISKY
The importance of language universals. Word 4: 168-172.
ASCH, SOLMON E.
“The metaphor: a psychological inquiry,” in person, perception
and interpersonal behavior. Edited by R. Tagiuri and L. Petrullo,
86-94. Stanford; Stanford University Press.
for phonetic similarity. Lg 33:
538-543. (Attestations of unusual phonetic distance between allophones
and between phones in successor relationship.
BACH, EMMON, ROBERT T.
Universals in linguistic theory. New York: Holt, Rinehart
relations and linguistic typology. Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure
1958 Linguistic typology:
an inaugural lecture. London; School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London. (Reprinted 1966 in Five inaugural lectures:
language and language learning. Edited by Peter Strevens, 27-49.
London: Oxford University Press.)
analysis of general vocabulary: the semantic structure of a set of
verbs in English, Hindi and Japanese. IJAL 32 (2), part 2
classification des langues. Conferences de l’Institute de Linguistique
de l’Universitė de Paris 11:32-50
de linguistique gėnėrale. Paris; Gallimard.
BERLIN, B., P. KAY
color terms: their universality and evolution. Berkeley
and Los Angles: University of California Press.
of typology and genetic linguistics viewed in a generative framework.
Janua Linguarum, Series Minor 106. the Hague: Mouton.
in Handbook of American Indian languages. Edited by Franz Boas,
1-83. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institute.
BOLINGER, DWIGHT L.
structural translation. Aeta Linguistica Hafniensia 9 (2):
BROWN, ROGER W.
selected papers. New York : The Free Press.
BROWN, ROGER W., ALBERT GILMAN
“The pronouns of power and solidarity,” in style in language.
Edited by Thomas A.Sebeok, 354-376. Cambridge, Mass: M.I.T. Press.
CASAGRANDE, JOSEPH B.
“Language universals in anthropological prospective,” in universals
in language, second edition. Edited by Joseph H. Greenberg. Cambridge,
Mass: M.I.T. Press.
1967 A linguistic theory of translation. Languages
and language learning series. London: Oxford University press.
DINGWALL, WILLIAM ORR
generative grammar and constrastive analysis. Language Learning
DI PIETRO, ROBERT J.
The discovery of universals in multilingualism. Monograph series
on languages and linguistics 23:13-22.
General linguistics and comparative philology. Lingua 7:134-174.
Towards a general comparative linguistics. The Hague:
FASOLD, RALP W.
1970 Two models of socially significant linguistic variation. Lg
FERGUSON, CHARLES A.
1964 “Baby talk in six languages”, in The ethnography of communication.
Edited by John J. Gumperz and Dell Hymes, 103-114. American Anthropologist
66 (6), part2.
FERGUNSON, CHARLES A., MUNIER CHOWDHURY
phonemes of Bengali. Lg 36:22-59.
(includes typological profile of Bangla phonology.)
“The case for case,” in Universals of linguistic theory. Edited
by Emmon Bach and Robert T. Harms, 1-88. New York ; Holt,Rinehart
“Towards a theory of deixis,” in Proceedings of the pacific conference
on contrastive linguistics, 219-242. working papers in
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This was presented in absentia at the
IXth International Congress of Anthrological Sciences at Chicago,
Fall 1973 and published in Sd Tax [ed.] World Anthropology,
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In current usage, the terms institutional linguistics or, more
have come to lump together indiscriminately these various behavior-oriented
extrinsic studies of language as well as that part of correlative
linguistics which is concerned with the correlation between intrinsic
traits of languages and the traits of users and situations.
2 Catford’s proposal (1967: 23, 56-61) to regard the former as phonological
translation is a brilliant insight. I have tried to incorporate it
without disturbing the conventional meaning of the term translation.
whether internal, comparative, or reverse, provide limited access
to prior states of languages or language families. Reconstruction
text fragments from historically related text fragments, and phonological
items from historically related phonological items, is primary. Reconstruction
of nonphonological items, of analytic rules and rule system, and of
texts on the basis of the primary reconstruction is derivative and
much less certain. Prelanguages and protolanguages are, at best, relatively
short descent subchains. It is misleading to think of them as states
of languages and to hope of making a secondary reconstruction of fables
in them. Thus, a reconstructed item or rule assignable to pre-A may
conceivably antedate a reconstructed item or rule assignable to proto-A-B,
where A and B are a pair of languages in codescencent relationship.
(I owe this last point to Gordon H. Fairbanks[personal communication])
would seem that at least the present generation of historical linguists
of the transformational-generative persuasion are guilty of harping
on descent relationships between rules and between systems at the
expense of those between text fragments and items. The formulation
of succession or cosuccession rules of the latter kind (pà p or p, b à b or Juppiter dyaus-pitar-pointing to the existence
of the compound in the ancestral language or, to take an example involving
reexpression rather than rerendition, digged à dug) is logically prior to the formulation
of the succession or cosuccession rules of the former kind (Rule X
à Rule Y à null Rule or Rules X followed
by Y à Rules X followed by Z followed
by Y or Rules X followed by Y à Rules Y followed by X or three-gender
paradigm two gender paradigm). The Neogrammarian slate cannot (and
need not) be wiped clean!
We are of course talking of the twofold sense proposed here. Traditionally
comparative linguistics has been usually been confined to comparative
reconstruction in the methodology of linguistic prehistory.
consequence of this is that the excessive emphasis so far in historical
linguistics on divergence at the expense of convergence and on succession
by descent at the expense of succession by influence has to be corrected.
[ ɹ ] or [ṣ] is a transverse-groove fricative
or approximant, while a sulcate like [s] or [š ] is a fricative or
approximant with a longitudinal short or long groove.
Cf. also Lounsbury (1953; 11-24), Robins (1959:137ff.), Matthews (1965:141-142;
1970: 110) for similar pointers towards reading a spectrum of languages
types into a spectrum of language models.
current usage, the term language universal trait in the maximal domain,
or even in a subdomain, but also in the sense of any prefect correlation
within a linguistic domain (i.e. any correlation of types [b] to [h]
that has “always” or “never” in it). This is sometimes confusing and
leads to awkward collocations like “regional” or “conditional universal”.
By confining the term language universal to prefect type (b) correlation
in the maximal domain, one can speak of a prefect correlation within
a stated linguistic domain when one needs a more inclusive term.
The name transfer grammar (Harris 1954) or transfer comparison (Halliday,
Mc-Intosh, and Strevens 1964; 120) has been suggested for a directed
presentation of correlative comparison between a pair of languages.
It will consist of transrendition rules (French to English: the vowel
of French pur is somewhat like ew in English pew)
and translation rules (English to French: English goes and is going
are both usually rendered by the present of aller in French).
An excessive reliance on such rules, often in an over-simplified version,
was typical of a good deal of traditional second language teaching
(in the present case, for teaching French renditions and expression
skills to English-knowing learners). Transfer comparison may of course
bring out resemblances as well (English adjectives normally translate
as French adjectives).
The recent strictures on the search for mechanical” discovery” procedures
apply primarily to phase (c) and to wide-ranging hypotheses and, even
more obviously to fundamental paradigms, where they are quite valid.
It is open to question, however, whether the posing of the following
dilemma is valid or not – any proposed discovery procedure is either
mechanical but invalid or nonmechanical but “uninteresting”(Cf. the
exchange between William Haas and Chomsky reported in ICL-9: 994-998.)
It is an irony that a distrust of mechanical “discovery” procedures
has often been accompanied by a rather naïve faith in mechanical “evaluation”
or validation procedures (called evaluation metric of the linear size
of the symbol inventory, of a specific rule, and of whole description
of a language), which of course presuppose a highly formalized presentation.
interlocutors reported are Ved Mehta and Noam Chomsky, respectively
(Mehta 1971: 210-211). The point of view attributed to Chomsky may
or may not have been correctly reported, but in any case it is a possible
point of view.