Beware of the emperor’s conceptual clothes: General linguistics must not be based on shaky dichotomies
Dietmar Zaefferer
March 2021

This is an invited comment on Martin Haspelmath’s target article 'General linguistics must be based on universals (or nonconventional aspects of language)', highlighting some of the pros and cons of his metatheoretical ideas. After acknowledging H’s merits in typology and universals research I focus on attacking the unnessessarily overstressed dichotomies he advocates between description and comparison, particular languages and language in general, and particular and general linguistics, that amount to erecting an unhelpful wall. Using arguments from philosopy of science some terminological, methodological, and ontological shortcomings are pointed out.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005827
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Theoretical Linguistics 2021
keywords: metalinguistics, universals, general linguistics, typology, philosophy of science, ontology, methodology, semantics, morphology, syntax
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