Towards standardization of morphosyntactic terminology for general linguistics
Martin Haspelmath
July 2021

This paper proposes that just like phonologists, linguists working on morphosyntax should have a core set of standard terms that are understood in exactly the same way across the discipline. Most of these terms are traditional terms that are given a standard retro-definition, because linguists already behave as if these terms had the same meaning for everyone. The definitions are definitions of general concepts (i.e. comparative concepts, applicable to all languages in exactly the same way), but they are expected to be highly similar to language-particular categories with the same labels. If linguists were close to finding out the true natural-kind categories of Human Language that all grammars consist of, there would be no need for definitions, but since this seems to be a remote goal, research on general linguistics must rely on uniformly defined general terms.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005489
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: In ""Linguistic categories, language description and linguistic typology" (2021), edited by L. Alfieri et al. (
keywords: morphology, syntax, terminology, general linguistics
previous versions: v1 [November 2019]
Downloaded:483 times


[ edit this article | back to article list ]