English and drama

Linguistic Typology

Module code: Q3157
Level 6
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

Whaley (1997: 7) defines linguistic typology as 'the classification of languages or components of languages based on shared formal characteristics.' In this module, we investigate some of the structural similarities and differences between the languages of the world, focusing on the patterns that are found in grammar (morphology and syntax). Which features co-occur within a language? Why are some patterns common across languages and others rare? We explore the principles of research in language typology, including establishing representative language samples, and look at grammatical phenomena including basic word order, word structure, case systems, relative clauses, interrogatives and information structure.

Module learning outcomes

  • Describe and explain some of the similarities and differences between language structures.
  • Explain and evaluate principles of research in language typology (e.g. language samples and the logic of language types and implicational universals).
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the further 'why?' questions that the results of typological research raise.
  • Demonstrate a critical appreciation of theory construction.