Perspectives on Grammar Writing
With over half the languages of the world currently in danger of extinction within a century, the need for high quality grammatical descriptions is more urgent than ever. Potential grammar writers, however, often find themselves paralyzed by the daunting task of describing a language. The papers in the present volume (originally published in Studies in Language 30:2 (2006)) provide suggestions and encouragement – from experienced grammar writers and users – regarding concrete methods for approaching the task of writing a descriptive grammar of a language. Salient "themes" emerging from the papers in this volume include: The necessity of community involvement in grammatical descriptions; The link between a grammar and the other products of a program of language documentation (a dictionary and collection of texts); The complementary functions of elicited vs. naturally occurring data; and grammatical description as 'art' as well as 'science'.
[Benjamins Current Topics, 11] 2007. viii, 218 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Introduction | pp. 1–9
Contextualizing a grammarWilliam Bright | pp. 11–17
Writing grammars for the communityJames Lokuuda Kadanya | pp. 19–23
Collective field work: Advantages or disadvantages?Aleksandr E. Kibrik | pp. 25–44
Grammars and the communityMarianne Mithun | pp. 45–69
From parts of speech to the grammarPamela Munro | pp. 71–111
Grammar writing for a grammar-reading audienceMichael Noonan | pp. 113–126
A grammar as a communicative act, or what does a grammatical description really describe?Thomas E. Payne | pp. 127–142
A typology of good grammarsKeren Rice | pp. 143–171
Thoughts on growing a grammarDavid J. Weber | pp. 173–198
The linguistic exampleDavid J. Weber | pp. 199–213
Index | pp. 215–218
“My conclusion from studying this book is that grammar writing (or a good grammar) must be both comprehensive and complete. A grammar must be written in a clear style and include many examples that are relevant and that have been carefully checked. The grammar should be readily accessible and appropriately presented, thereby enhancing the validity of the work and the author. These are also the basic concepts that all of the authors of this book address in differing but absolutely useful ways. ”
Harriet E. Manelis Klein, Stony Brook University, in Language 85(4): 944-947
“The book provides a good starting point for anyone setting out to describe a language. It also provides a nice reference for what is expected of descriptive grammars as a genre, and I anticipate referring back to it, time and again, in the future as I expand upon my own grammar writing efforts. Although I doubt very much that there exists a description of a language that meets all the expectations presented in Perspectives on Grammar Writing, the volume is very readable and interesting, and the issues addressed are worth serious consideration and effort. ”
Timothy J. Thornes, University of Central Arkansas, in Studies in Language Vol. 33:3 (2009)
Cited by 6 other publications
van den Berg, René
2010. Review of Dixon (2010): Basic Linguistic Theory, Volume 1: Methodology. Studies in Language 34:3 ► pp. 737 ff.
[no author supplied]
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