The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide

The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide

by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald


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This book introduces the principles and practice of writing a comprehensive reference grammar. Several thousand distinct languages are currently spoken across the globe, each with its own grammatical system and its own selection of diverse grammatical structures. Comprehensive reference grammars offer a basis for understanding linguistic diversity and can provide a unique perspective into the structure and social and cognitive underpinnings of different languages. Alexandra Aikhenvald describes the means of collecting, analysing, and organizing data for use in this type of grammar, and discusses the typological parameters that can be used to explore relationships with other languages. She considers how a grammar can made to reflect and bring to life the society of its speakers through background explanation and the judicious choice of examples, as well as by showing how its language, history, and culture are intertwined. She ends with a full glossary of terms and guidance for those wanting to explore a particular linguistic phenomenon or language family. The Art of Grammar is the ideal resource for students and teachers of linguistics, language studies, and inductively-oriented linguistic, cultural, and social anthropology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199683215
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 4.00(d)

About the Author

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Distinguished Professor, Australian Laureate Fellow, and Director of the Language and Culture Research Centre at James Cook University. She is a major authority on languages of the Arawak family, from northern Amazonia, and has written grammars of Bare (1995) and Warekena (1998), plus A Grammar of Tariana, from Northwest Amazonia (Cambridge University Press, 2003), in addition to essays on various typological and areal features of South American languages. Her other major publications, with OUP, include Language Contact in Amazonia (2002), Evidentiality (2004), The Manambu Language of East Sepik, Papua New Guinea, (2008), Imperatives and Commands (2010), and Languages of the Amazon (2012).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: To write a grammar
2. A language and its setting
3. Basics
4. Sounds and their functions
5. Word classes
6. Nouns
7. Verbs
8. Adjectives and adverbs
9. Closed classes
10. Who does what to whom: grammatical relations
11. Clause and sentence types
12. Clause linking and complex clauses
13. Language in context
14. Why is a language the way it is?
15. How to create a grammar and how to read one

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