Analyticity and Syntheticity: A Diachronic Perspective With by Armin Schwegler

By Armin Schwegler

The sequence is a platform for contributions of all types to this quickly constructing box. common difficulties are studied from the viewpoint of person languages, language households, language teams, or language samples. Conclusions are the results of a deepened examine of empirical info. distinct emphasis is given to little-known languages, whose research could shed new mild on long-standing difficulties more often than not linguistics.

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Sapir (p. ' To illustrate the relativity of his classification, Sapir (136 n i l ) proceeds to explain that English, typed as analytic (see above), is analytic only in tendency since, relative to French—at least in certain aspects—it is still fairly synthetic. 39 By employing three sets of distinctions (conceptual type, technique, and degree of synthesis) Sapir offers a wide variety of possibilities for language characterization. 40 His matrix (p. 151, reproduced here as Table 1), with all its complex possibilities of variation,41 contains an unprecedented combination of features, some of which are mutually exclusive.

66 SlaviCková proposes to divide the number of root morphemes by the total of morphemes. It must be noted, however, that the morpheme count is obtained by the segmentation of lexical (autosemantic) words only (p. 284). That is to say, grammatical (synsemantic) words form a separate, non-segmented class which do not enter into consideration here. 60. The following hypothetical sentences and their resulting calculations should point up the differences in Greenberg's, Krupa's, Kelemen's, and SlaviCková's approaches: History of the terms Table 3.

Schlegel's "more or less synthetic," nor is it clear how many synthetic words it takes to characterize a language as either synthetic or analytic. Perhaps most crucially, Vennemann ignores the sobering, though, I believe, healthy conclusion of a hundred and fifty years of research and probings in morphological typology, namely that the parameters synthetic and analytic cannot be applied to languages as wholes in any meaningful way. 70 Seen in this light, it is regrettable that the latest effort to find a satisfactory definition for syntheticity and analyticity reverts back to methods shown to be so detrimental to linguistics in general and morphological typology in particular.

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