Aspects of the Typology of Slavic Languages

Exemplified on Word Length
  • Otto A. Rottmann
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 31)

Traditional linguistic approaches are characterized by a generous use of the terms ‘classification’ and ‘typology’; this can for example be found with Haarmann (1976: 13), who calls the classification of natural languages the aim of general language typology, Lehmann (1969: 58), who says that the classification of languages is the main target of each typology, as do Horne (1966: 4) and Serebrennikov (1972), where we find the term of ‘typological classification’). So it seems the two terms are used as synonyms. Linguistic dictionaries published in the second half of the 20th century also reflect a state which can already be found in the 19th century. A good example of this is the dictionary by Rozental'/Telenkova; in their dictionary the entry ‘typological classification of languages’ is followed by the definition: “morphological classification of languages” (1976: 487). The same holds for quite modern works, e.g. Siemund (2000), in which several contributors identify typology with plain classification. This definition can already be found at the beginning of any interest in typology. For the purpose of our studywehave separated both terms.We call the traditional method of grouping languages a classification and reserve the term ‘typology’ for the study of mechanisms generating types, i.e. in our conception typology is identical with Hempel’s ideal typology or theory. We would like to take a well-known example to show the reach of classification and thus demonstrate the differences.


Word Length Mathematical Linguistics Slavic Language Typological Classification Attractor Landscape 
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© Springer 2007

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  • Otto A. Rottmann

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