Re: Comrie's book on universals and typology
|Date:||Monday, December 15, 2003, 20:41|
>On Mon, 15 Dec 2003 14:07:45 -0500 Javier BF <uaxuctum@...> wrote.
>>>_Language Universals And Linguistic Typology_
>>What you really need to know: It's by Comrie. Thus, it rocks.
>>It goes into a wider array of phenomena than Payne's work, including the
>>famous hierarchy of colour terms, among other memorable moments.
>I haven't had the pleasure of reading through
>that book yet, but I hope Comrie isn't adhering
>there to that much publicized but outdated theory
>of colour universals proposed by Berlin & Kay
>three decades ago.
I remember that the work he presents is based on work that he calls better
than previous work. However, the hierarchy given for B&K does look very like
the hierarchy Comrie quotes, except ISTR the methodology was quite the
reverse, i.e. show an informant a random color chip, and ask him what color
it was, rather than ask him to pick out the prototypical example of a given
color word. It is very possible, however, that in the years between my
reading it and writing this, my memory has become confused.
>>There's a really interesting bit about the necessary and sufficient
>>conditions for subjecthood, comparing English and Russian IIRC, as well
>>few other langs.
>Interesting. Could you offer us a summary of
>those necessary and sufficient conditions that
Not without reading it again, and the book is at home, and IIRC it's quite a
lengthy read. I don't think the conclusions were particularly concise,
either. ISTR the question for which the answer was been sought was "is the
question of whether a given language has 'subjects' and 'objects'
neccesarily cut and dried?" or something in that vein.
It's one of those books that I have read piecemeal, and that went back on
the shelf, used only as a specific reference, usually of an example in a
given language. I ought to re-read it, and more carefully this time.