On the representativeness of language documentations

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Seifart, Frank. 2008. On the representativeness of language documentations. Language documentation and description 5. 60–76.

Imported: 2023-04-27 16:30

⭐ Main

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This paper argues that criteria for representative documentation should be an integral component of a theory of language documentation.

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There is consensus about one very general aspect of the contents of language documentation, i.e., that its focus is not so much on the language system (which is the subject matter of descriptive linguistics) but on the use of language in its culture-specific context.

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‘communicative events’,

✅ Definition

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I should also note here that what I mean by representativeness also includes ‘completeness’ (or ‘comprehensiveness’ Himmelmann 1998: 176ff.).

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systematic sampling of communicative events is based on a classification

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An explicit proposal for systematic sampling is the ‘spontaneity parameter’ developed by Himmelmann (1998: 177ff.), based on Ochs’ (1979) notion of ‘plannedness’ (Figure 2). Underlying this parameter is the finding that communicative events can be distinguished with respect to the kinds of linguistic structures that occur in them.

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a systematic sampling procedure through the identification of types and inclusion of sufficient examples

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informal events are in general less amenable for recording in natural circumstances

📚 Investigate

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