Linguistik-Klassifikation: Quantitative Linguistik / Quantitative linguistics
Measuring nominal descriptivity
- Using Ultan's theory of descriptivity grading as a starting point, I will attempt to capture this differential utility in terms of [...] criteria of literalness, explicitness and syntactic complexity. I will first briefly present his System and investigate some generalizations which he has proposed on the basis of his study of body part terminologies in numerous languages. I will apply his theory to nouns in this and four other semantic domains, in three North American Indian languages. I will test his generalizations and propose some new ones. I will then present an alternative system of descriptivity grading and compare the results of its application with those of Ultan's system. In the final section I will suggest another methodology for quantification. An appendix at the end of the paper lists all of the descriptive lexical items mentioned, graded according to both systems.
A general method for the statistical evaluation of typological distributions
- The distribution of linguistic structures in the world is the joint product of universal principles, inheritance from ancestor languages, language contact, social structures, and random fluctuation. This paper proposes a method for evaluating the relative significance of each factor — and in particular, of universal principles — via regression modeling: statistical evidence for universal principles is found if the odds for families to have skewed responses (e.g. all or most members have postnominal relative clauses) as opposed to having an opposite response skewing or no skewing at all, is significantly higher for some condition (e.g. VO order) than for another condition, independently of other factors.