Published April 29, 2016 | Version v1
Journal article Open

The challenge of making language description and comparison mutually beneficial

  • 1. Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History


Here I argue that the distinction between comparative concepts and descriptive categories helps language describers and typologists to benefit from each other because describers are free to set up their own categories, typologists are free to define their own concepts, comparison need not involve complete systems, and interlinear translation can be either based on comparative concepts or descriptive categories. A similar distinction also exists in other disciplines that deal with cultural concepts.



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