• Judith L. Aissen
Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 7)


Linguistics for the most part no longer write grammars or grammatical sketches. Common in the past, these forms have largely been replaced by the journal article. Problems, rather than languages, constitute the unit of research. The reasons for this shift are complex. They reflect, in part, the idea that grammar writing is descriptive and non-theoretical, to be valued chiefly as grist for the theoretician’s mill. Indeed, working at the level of ‘the whole grammar’ or even a sizable fragment, it is very difficult to maintain a consistently theoretical stance. Shorter pieces are obviously better suited for a sharp focus on particular questions. However, large-scale theoretically informed descriptions should have a place in modern linguistic discourse, for there are good reasons for attempting to deal with a language in some breadth. Obviously, principles which can account for larger factual domains are correspondingly more secure. And ultimately, the results of highly focussed studies will be valid only to the extent that they can be integrated into fuller descriptions of the language.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith L. Aissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Cowell CollegeUniversity of California at Santa CruzUSA

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