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WP2. Task 1. Articulating linguistic description and linguistic typology



  • Provide high-quality linguistic descriptions based on fieldwork and contributing to linguistic description and typology
  • Articulate descriptive, areal, interactional, diachronic dimensions into linguistic description, typology, and comparison
  • Participate in contemporary debates on language structures, uses, and functions



Several important grammars (e.g. Guillaume, 2008, Rose, 2011) and typological contributions (e.g. Creissels, 2006; Kopecka, 2006; Grinevald, 2007) have recently been produced by ASLAN members. They have also developed an areal dimension for Sub-Saharan Africa, South American languages, and Caucasus. Moreover, descriptions of grammatical features in interaction have been provided (Traverso, 2006; Gülich & Mondada, 2008). In parallel, studies based on experimental approaches and typological databases have improved our knowledge of the structure of phonological systems (e.g. Coupé et al., 2009) and of their cognitive primitives (Bedoin & Krifi, 2009; Bedoin et al., 2010).
Each published descriptive, naturalistic, experimental or typological contribution unveils a piece of the puzzle, but the overall work to accomplish is still huge. Consequently, the stakes are high in choosing languages and settings of interest and training skilled linguists to produce valuable grammars and to participate to typological debates. In parallel, developing archives of data and typological databases is a necessary but expensive effort.


Description of work

  • Produce comprehensive description of un(der)-described languages, with a focus on linguistic hotspots such as Bolivia and Caucasus where ASLAN members are already active
  • Contribute to data-based debates in the construction of morphosyntactic typology, with focus on typology of argument structure-voice systems, classification systems, expression of space
  • Develop, diffuse and analyze phonological, lexical, and interactional databases for typological, usage-based and complexity-based analyses
  • Describe grammar-in-interaction of European languages and of un(der)-described languages
  • Achieve the linguistic atlas of Gabon and contribute to the description of languages in Sub-Saharan Africa and to their classification
  • Investigate the phonological primitives from both cognitive and linguistic perspectives in light of the notion of complexity
  • Integrate hybrid and mixed varieties into the description of grammar


Criteria of achievement

  • Production of grammars that shed light on typological or areal debates
  • Conception of productive working typologies that stimulate further data gathering and contribute to the enhancement of typological debates
  • Diffuse useful databases and guaranteeing their long-term maintenance
  • Determine the phonological cognitive primitives and their variation among languages