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Seminar 1

CONTRASTIVE TYPOLOGY, ITS AIM, BASIC NOTIONS AND METHODS

1.1. Basic notes

1.1.1. Subject and aims

Contrastive typology is a branch of linguistics which aims at establishing the most general common and divergent as well as dominant and recessive features of the languages compared and determining their structural types on this basis. The number of languages subjected to typological contrasting at a time is not limited.

Contrastive typological investigation may be focused on phonetic/phonological, morphological, lexical or syntactic phenomena of the languages. Contrastive typology of the English and Ukrainian morphology compares morphological systems of the English and Ukrainian languages.

1.1.2. Basic notions

Like any other science, contrastive typology employs some terms and notions of its own:

  1. absolute universals (абсолютні/повні універсалії), i.e. features which are common to any languages of the world, cf. parts of speech, parts of the sentence etc.);

  2. near universals (неповні/часткові універсалії), i.e. features which are common to some languages under typological investigation;

  3. metalanguage (метамова), i.e. the language in which analysis of contrasted languages is carried out;

  4. typologically dominant features (типологічні домінантні), i.e. features dominating in one/some/all the contrasted languages and predetermining its structural type as analytical or synthetic; cf. rigid word order, prominent role of prepositions in expressing case relations, word morphemes in expressing grammar categories, etc. in English and case, person, gender, number, tense etc. inflexions in Ukrainian;

  5. typologically recessive features (типологічно рецесивні), i.e. features losing their former dominant role; cf. case forms in English or dual number forms of some nouns in Ukrainian;

  6. isomorphic features (ізоморфні), i.e. common features, observed in all the compared languages; cf. categories of number, person, tense, parts of speech.

  7. allomorphic features (алломорфні), i.e. divergent features, observed in one language and missing in others; cf. analytical verb forms in English;

  8. typological constants (типологічні константи), i.e. features which are contrasted. The main typological constants of the English and Ukrainian morphology are: 1) morphemes; 2) parts of speech; 3) morphological categories of the parts of speech.

1.1.3. Methods

Contrastive typological investigations are carried out with the help of some methods. The main one is the contrastive method which is also employed in historical and comparative linguistics. The main aim of the contrastive method is to establish isomorphic and allomorphic, dominant and recessive features of the languages compared and drawing conclusions as to their structural types.

Comparing is done on the basis of deduction and induction. Inductive method draws on the empirical facts: scientists observe the facts, make conclusions and verify these conclusions by more facts. Practically, this method needs no verification since the investigated phenomena were already proved by preceding generations of researchers.

Deductive method presupposes making conclusions on the basis of logical calculations which suggest all theoretically admissive variants of realization of a certain feature in contrasted languages and consequently need verification.

The (ICs) immediate constituents method is employed to contrast constituent parts of the language units. At the morphological level the ICs method helps determine morphemic structures of the words of the languages compared; cf. the nouns in-nova-tion-s and пере-напр-уг-а consist of 4 ICs.

Method of oppositions is used to establish grammatical categories. Opposition is made by two forms carrying two manifestations of one categorical meaning, cf. works :: is working carry two particular manifestations (non-Continuous :: continuous) of the general categorical meaning of aspect.

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