ЗНАЕТЕ ЛИ ВЫ?

A Short Historical Outline of Typological Investigations



Many European scientists as early as the 17th and 18th centuries had pointed to the existence of some common (mainly lexical) features in different languages (I. Komensky, W. Leibnitz). This idea came to being especially in the minds of the first Europeans who had visited India in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were often struck by the great similarity in the lingual form (sounding) and meaning of a number of common words like mother, brother, sister, etc.

Strange as it might seem at first glance, but there exists an indisputable linguistic testimony to some closest contacts between our prehistoric Ukrainians and Indian Arians (арійці). This was noticed already by Krasuskiy M. (1880) and by our Kharkovite and Kyivan Indologists P. Richter and O. Barannykov (20s - 30s of the 20th century), who pointed to many Sanskrit words being of common, approximately the same or absolutely the same lingual form (sounding). Even a quick glance at a


short list of several nouns, verbs, numerals and other parts of speech below leaves no doubt whatsoever of their being once of genealogically common source of origin. This can be easily seen from many Sanskrit words having common root and very similar or identical lingual form expressing one and the same meaning in Ukrainian. For example,

Nouns: матар - матір/mother, девар - дівер/brother-in-law, бграта - брат/brother, свасар - сестра/sister, свасура - свекор/ father-in-law, відгава - вдова/widow, юван - юнак (юний)/young, ґріва - шия/neck, нас - ніс/nose, пада - п'ята/heel, стана - груди/ breast, мурдган - голова (cf. морда)/head, мус - миша/mouse, сурмі - труба (cf. сурма)/ріре, дгума - дим/smoke, дама - дім/house, набгаса - хмарний (cf. нeбeca)/cloudy, ripi - гора/hill, ваюс - вітер/ wind, pluti - плавання (cf. пливти)/swimming, данам- обдарування/ giftness and many other nouns.

Adjectives: нава - новий/new, крішна - красний, гарний/beautiful, рудгіра - червоний (cf. pyдий)/red, сукґа - сухий/dry, лаґгу - легкий/ light, наґна - голий/нагий/nude, сваччга - свіжий/fresh, тану- тонкий/thin, джіва - живий/life, тамаса - темний/dim, паріпурна -переповнений/overcrowded, д'ямант - яскравий/light (cf. діамант), etc.

Pronouns: Ту - ти/you, свій - свій/one's, тваї - твій/your, мамака - мій/my, катара - котрий/which, ка - хто/who, татсама -той самий/that same, та - та/that one (female), mam - той/that one (male, masculine gender), mo - то/те that one (neuter gender), катама

- котрий/which (out of many), etc.

Numerals: adi - один/one, двау - два/two, траяс - три/three, катварас - чотири/four, панча - п'ять/five, cam - шість/six, даса -десять/ten, батам - сто/one hundred, дваусатам - двісті/two hundred, багудга - багатьма(способами)/many, двітій - другий/ second, трітій - третій/third, санятга - шостий/sixths, etc.

Verbs: плаваті - плавати/swim, смаяті - сміятися/laugh, рудаті -ридати/to sob, кагаті- казати/say, tell, бгагаті- бігати/run, ліп'яті

- ліпити/to model, лубг'яті - бажати, домагатися/wish, будг'яті - будити/wake, джіті - жити/live, пітайє - пити/drink, дгам - дути/ blow, податі - падати/fall, ліз'яті - лизати/lick, etc.

Adverbs and some functionals as: нунам - нині/now, тада - тоді/ then, гат - геть/away, out, sadivas - сьогодні/today, kada - коли/


when, атаг - отож/thus, so, npаmi - проти/against, ну - ну/well now, на - ні/not, то - то/then, so, etc. [24:25-265], [3:3-4].

There can be no end to the great admiration at our native tongue being so ancient, taking into account that the works, from which these words have been taken, were written more than 2000 years B.C. No doubt this undeniable lingual testimony of lexical and semantic likeness can find its exhaustive explanation only on the basis of historical typology and its present-day scientific methods of analysis. Not excluded completely could also be other approaches, some of which are already familiar to our students. The likeness of many Ukrainian and Sanskrit lexical units cannot be treated within the framework of the common Indo-European stock of words comprising such words as cow корова, milk молоко, wolf вовк, sun сонце and some words denoting kinship (mother, sister, brother, etc.). These and several other words were noticed, as has been mentioned above, by the first Europeans who visited India as far back as the 16th century. Those observations, however, did not initiate then a regular typological study of languages.

The first ever attempt (thought quite naive) to create a grammar on "common in all languages principles" was made by the Frenchmen Claude Lancelot and Antoine Arnaud in their Universal or Rational Grammar (Pour Royal, 1660). And yet only the beginning of the 19th century with its historical and comparative method brought a dynamic development to European linguistics. This method was originally employed to investigate genealogically related languages, principally Indian, Germanic and Romanic. Though not without exception, some linguists having made general observations in non-related languages as well. These observations helped establish the languages' common and divergent features. Thus, together with the historical and comparative study, the typological investigations were born. One of the first linguists to have made a scientific approach to the regular Contrastive study of structurally different languages was Frederick Schlegel (1772 - 1829). On the ground of a thorough study of ancient Indian and modern Chinese, Polynesian, Turkic and the major West-European languages F. Schlegel singled out among them two clearly distinguishable groups:

1. Affixal languages in which the form-building of words is realised through affixes added to the amorphous (invariable) root morphemes.


These languages were Turkic, Polynesian and Chinese.

2. The second large group in F. Schlegel's classification constituted the inflexional languages, which included among others all Semitic languages and also, to his mind, French as well as the Georgian language.

Though somewhat restricted, this classification already stood to the requirements of a regular typological classification of languages. The main principle upon which it was based was therefore the morphological one. F. Schlegel's classification was followed by some others which were more all-embracing, like that of August Schlegel (1767 — 1845), who in some places perfected his brother's first attempt of typological classification of languages in the history of European linguistics. This German linguist singled out, on the basis of the same morphological criterion, three typologically common groups of languages: a) those without any grammatical structure, as they were called; b) the affixal languages; and c) the flexional languages. The first two were considered to have been preceded in their historical development by the synthetic languages. The Chinese language and the languages of Indo-China, however, in which the grammatical relations between words are realised depending on their placement in syntactic units, had been singled out as a separate group, though they were not yet allotted by the scientist to any typologically concrete class.

A decisive step forward in the typological classification of languages on the basis of the same morphological criterion was made by Wilhelm Humboldt (1761 — 1835), who is considered to be the father of typology as a new branch of linguistics. The scientist had studied a great number of languages including those of Polynesia and American Indians. Having taken into account the morphological divergences in a large number of languages, W. Humboldt suggested a much more embracing typological classification of languages than those suggested by his predecessors. It was partly a perfected and more scientifically supported variant of Frederic and August Schlegels' morphological classifications. Thus, W. Humboldt grouped all known to him languages into the following four classes: 1) the isolating languages, which are devoid of the form-building morphemes (like Chinese); 2) the agglutinative languages (like those of the Turkic group); 3) the flexional languages (like the Indo-European or Semitic languages); 4) the incorporating languages of the American


Indians. The last type of languages is characterised by the possibility of words to combine and form specific word- sentences. The isolating languages were considered by W. Humboldt and his countryman August Schleicher (1821 — 1868) to be archaic, the agglutinative type languages to be at the intermediary stage of development and the inflectional languages, both contemporary and dead, as those representing the highest stage in language evolution.

A prominent place among the charactereological typologists of the first half of the 19th century belongs to Franz Bopp (1791 — 1867), the German linguist who had elaborated and widely implemented the comparative/Contrastive method of investigation. F. Bopp had introduced a hitherto unknown approach to the typological investigation of languages on the basis of their syllabic root morphemes structure. On the ground of this criterion he succeeded and singled out three typologically distinguishable language types, namely: 1) the language type with the root morpheme consisting of one syllable only (the so-called monosyllabic languages); 2) the language type in which the root morpheme can combine with other roots and affixal morphemes (like in most Indo-European languages); 3) the language types with disyllabic and even trisyllabic root word-structures (as in Semitic languages).

All through the second half of the 19th century and during the beginning of the 20th century the only object of typological investigation which continued to remain was word/word-form. It was investigated in different languages (and by way of different approaches) with the aim of identifying common/divergent features on whose basis a universal morphological classification of languages was planned to be established. An exception to this general trend of classifying typology was the investigation of syntactic connections in different languages, initiated by Humboldt's disciple and adherent H. Steinthal (1823 — 1899). This was a new and until then untouched upon object of typological investigation. It was followed by one more new typologically relevant criterion, namely the placement of syntactically principal parts in the sentence. Thus, the predicate always follows the subject in statements of such analytical languages as English, Swedish, Norwegian, etc. whereas in Turkic languages it mostly occupies the closing position. This criterion was put


forward by H. Steinthal's adherent F. Mistely, who took the inner form of the word as a relevant criterion of classificational typology. The German linguist F. N. Finck [32] suggested two more criteria for the typological classification of different languages. The first of these was based on the correlation between the solid (unbreakable) word structure and the fragmentary (breakable) word structures. The second criterion was based on the type of concord and the manner of its realisation. On the ground of the two criteria Finck had singled out eight main types of languages: 1) the subordinating word-type languages (like present-day Turkish); 2) the incorporating word-type languages with the most extended word structures (as in the language of Greenland inhabitants; 3) the regulating type languages having a rather weak connection between the auxiliary words and affixes as in the Subia language (Bantu language family); 4) the isolating root languages (like Chinese); 5) the isolating stem languages (represented by the Samoa language); 6) the root inflected language type (represented by Arabic); 7) the stem inflected language type (like Greek) and 8) the group inflected language type (like Georgian).

The 20th century typological investigations have been marked by some new approaches to the Contrastive study of languages and their classification. One of the best-known trends is connected with the name of the prominent American linguist E. Sapir (1884 — 1939) who criticised the 19th century typological classifications of languages and the evolutional approach to the development of different language types. His investigations being based on a profound study of a large number of languages, Sapir came to the conclusion that some languages, distant in location, could in the course of their development acquire common features and thus move to a common model and language type [24, 95]. E. Sapir was also the first to treat a language material as a system; he acknowledged the typological nature of language development as well as the possibility of establishing the structural types of languages in accordance with the following three criteria:

1. The degree of cohesion between the root morphemes and the affixal morphemes of word-forming nature in a word.

2. The degree of synthesis i.e. the ability of a word to combine and express different lexical and grammatical meanings (as in flexional languages).


3 The nature of grammatical processes by means of which the morphemes are joined in the word (i.e. isolation, agglutination or symbolisation).

Guided by these three criteria E. Sapir suggested four basic types of languages: 1) the type of simple purely relational languages in which the syntactic relations are realised without the help of affixal morphemes (as in Chinese); 2) the complicated purely relational type languages in which the syntactic relations can be realised with the help of affixes and without their help (as in Turkish); 3) the simple mixed-type relational languages, realising their syntactic connections both by means of agglutination or by means of fusion (as in French); 4) the complex mixed relational type languages in which the meanings of root morphemes may be changed with the help of affixes or inner alterations (like in Latin or in present-day English).

On the ground of these three far from all-embracing and quite clear criteria E. Sapir singled out twenty-one different language types.

Sapir's countryman Joseph Greenberg, as has been mentioned on the foregoing pages, has also elaborated the principles of quantitative typological contrasting and thus he has laid the foundation of quantitative typology. This linguist together with R. Jakobson, J. Jenkinson and C. Oshood contributed significantly to the study of language universals [44, 3], 158 — 162].

An important contribution to the 20th century typology was made by the Prague school linguists V. Skalička, V. Mathesius, I. Levy, N. S. Trubetskoy and others, who carried on their major investigations in the domain of charactereological typology. These scholars considered the essential features of a language to have been prearranged. Hence, the type of a language was identified as a unity of its characteristic features and phenomena. N. S. Trubetskoy on the other hand has elaborated typology of phonemic and morphophonemic systems of languages based on oppositions. His idea found a further development in the second half of the 20th century linguistics. Considerable research work in phonological typology was carried on by O. Isachenko, who investigated the Slavonic languages on their quantitative representation of vowels and on the musical accent in words and b) on the existence or non-existence of palatalised consonants. As a result, two types of languages have been identified:


1) The vocalic type languages, like Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian, in which a) some consonants have historically changed into vowels and some have become syllable forming /r, l/ as in trg, vlk etc.; b) languages in which there occurs an insertion of vowels between consonants and c) languages in which the double consonants have reduced to single consonants.

2) The consonantal type languages whose characteristic features are as follows: a) the existence of the binary opposition of palatalised consonants versus non-palatalised ones; b) the loss of the syllable forming consonants; c) the retention of double consonants [17, 106 125].

These features of consonantal languages can be well observed in Ukrainian or Russian too. Phonological typology was also investigated by other Western linguists, as T. M. Milewski and C. V. (American Indian languages), C. E. Bazell (Turkic and Bantu languages) Ch. E. Hockett and others.

In Soviet times typological investigations were initiated by N. Ya. Marr (1864 — 1934) who investigated the Caucasian area languages and by I.I. Meshchaninov (1883 — 1967), whose subject of investigation was predicative, objective, and attributive relations in different Caucasian and Paleoasiatic languages. These linguists suggested their typological classifications of languages as well.

96]

Prominent before World War II and immediately after it was the Ukrainian typologist M. Ya. Kalynovych, whose object of contrasting was the word in different European and South Asian languages [18, 96] The domain of Contrastive investigations of his disciple Yu. O. Zhluktenka, comprised the English and Ukrainian languages [11, 160] and their interrelations in the North American countries.

During the late 50's and in the 60's and 70's a series of international and national symposia, congresses and scientific conferences were held (Oslo, 1957), Bucharest (1967), Moscow (1963, 1964, 1974), etc., at which the elaboration of new principles and more efficient methods of typological investigation were discussed [34, 203 — 207]. Of special attention were also questions concerning the classification of universals, the typological study of lexicon, the aims and principles of historical typology, ways of contrasting the microsystems of related and non-related languages, as well as approaches to the typological analysis of the corresponding level units


the definition of a language type (V. D. Arakin), the constants of dominant features and tendencies in the contrasted languages (G. P. Melnikov)

and others.

Many of the then problems have been solved already. Thus, the "type" of a language is identified today on the basis of its dominants in the systems of phonetic/phonological, morphological or syntactic level units. On this ground there can be distinguished the following types of languages: a) consonantal, vocalic (after Isachenko); b) agglutinative (like Turkic); c) synthetic or more exactly-predominantly/mainly synthetic (like Ukrainian or Russian); d) analytical i.e. predominantly analytical, like English, etc. Typologically relevant may equally be some dominant prosodic and other features in a language/group of languages. But the structural type of a language can not be identified on the basis of a coincident isomorphic feature within a certain microsystem of a language. For instance, the rigid order of words in Chinese and English affirmative sentences can not testify to these two languages being of one and the same language type.





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