Two nice resources to find the language of your choice

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I was just reading Haspelmath’s post on the CyberLingBlog in reply to a summary of a recent talk by Newmeyer. Most of you probable know the World Atlas of Languages, which allows you to browse through language and linguistic properties, view their distributions over beautiful maps, and contains nice introductory articles to many typological features. It’s very well structured and gives you references for each language, too. Here’s a link to a page on a specific language, Polish.

There is another database that I didn’t know about which let’s you browse or search a (as of yet rather small set of) languages for morpho-syntactic properties: Syntactic Structures of the World’s Languages. Properties are defined in a pragmatic and manageable way. For example, SVO is defines allowing that order in a “neutral” context. The definition also makes clear that SVO can be “yes”, while other word order features are “yes”, too.

It seems that you can even contribute to this database by entering your own data (though maybe you need to apply?), including examples with glosses. Looks interesting. The usual caveats apply, but great that someone is trying! Aside of this project I remember only one similar project that someone at the University of Vienna started while I was an undergrad …  but as far as I remember that never reached critical mass.

If anybody knows of similar databases out there, feel free to post them below. Or even better: contribute to the CyberLingBlog. Everybody is invited.

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2 thoughts on “Two nice resources to find the language of your choice

    Max Bane said:
    February 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    One of my favorite typological databases, just for the sheer variety of variables it catalogues (being a conglomeration of other databases) is the “Typological Database System” (TDS) at the University of Utrecht: http://languagelink.let.uu.nl/tds/index.html

    It has a pretty spiffy web interface that lets you download query results as CSV or XML files.

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      tiflo said:
      February 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks, Max =)

      Like

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