Arbeiten des Kölner Universalien-Projekts : akup
Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität zu Köln. Hrsg. der Reihe: H. Seiler
Year of publication
- A dimensional view on numeral systems (1989)
- The Stanford Project on Language Universals began its activities in October 1967 and brought them to an end in August 1976. Its directors were Joseph H. Greenberg and Charles A. Ferguson. The Cologne Project on Language Universals and Typology [with particular reference to functional aspects], abbreviated UNITYP, had its early beginnings in 1972, but deployed its full activities from 1976 onwards and is still operating. This writer, who is the principal investigator, had the privilege of collaborating with the Stanford Project during spring of 1976. […] One of the leading Greenbergian ideas is that of implicational generalizations, has been integrated as a fundamental principle in the construction of continua and of universal dimensions as proposed by UNITYP. It is hoped that the following considerations on numeral systems will be apt to bear witness to this situation. They would be unthinkable without Greenberg’s pioneering work on "Generalizations about numeral systems" (Greenberg 1978: 249 ff., henceforth referred to as Greenberg, NS). Further work on this domain and on other comparable domains almost inevitably leads one to the view that generalizations of the Greenberg type have a functional significance and that a dimensional framework is apt to bring this to the fore. This is the view on linguistic behaviour as being purposeful, and on language as a problem- solving device. The problem consists in the linguistic representation of cognitive-conceptual ideas. The solution is represented by the corresponding linguistic structures in their diversity and the task of the linguist consists in reconstructing the program and subprograms underlying the process of problem-solving. It is claimed that the construct of continua and of universal dimensions makes these programs intelligible.
- A functional view on prototypes (1989)
- The human mind may produce prototypization within virtually any realm of cognition and behavior. A "comparative prototype-typology" might prove to be an interesting field of study – perhaps a new subfield of semiotics. This, however, would presuppose a clear view on the samenesses and differences of prototypization in these various fields. It seems realistic for the time being that the linguist first confine himself to describing prototypization within the realm of language proper. The literature on prototypes has steadily grown in the past ten years or so. I confine myself to mentioning the volume on Noun Classes and Categorization, edited by C. Craig (1986), which contains a wealth of factual information on the subject, along with some theoretical vistas. By and large, however, linguistic prototype research is still basically in a taxonomic stage - which, of course, represents the precondition for moving beyond. The procedure is largely per ostensionem, and by accumulating examples of prototypes. We still lack a comprehensive prototype theory. The following pages are intended, not to provide such, a theory, but to do the first steps in this direction. Section 2 will feature some elements of a functional theory of prototypes. They have been developed by this author within the frame of the UNITYP model of research on language universals and typology. Section 3 will bring a discussion of prototypization with regard to selected phenomena of a wide range of levels of analysis: Phonology, morphosyntax, speech acts, and the lexicon. Prototypization will finally be studied within one of the universal dimensions, that of APPREHENSION - the linguistic representation of the concepts of objects – as proposed by Seiler (1986).
- Beiträge zum Problembereich Skalen und Kontinua (1983)
- Linguistic continua, their properties, and their interpretation – Hansjakob Seiler ; Skala und Kontinuum: Versuch einer Abgrenzung – Fritz Serzisko ; Der Skalenbegriff in der Linguistik mit einer Demonstration am Beispiel der deutschen Adverbien – Paul-Otto Samuelsdorff ; Kasusrollen im Tagalog: ein intrasprachliches Kontinuum der Kontrolle – Werner Drossard ; Zu einigen Skalen bei der Beschreibung sprachlicher Variation – Manfred Ostrowski Sprachliche Skalen im-typologischen Vergleich (erläutert am Beispiel der Dimension "Apprehension") – Ulrike Kölver
- Determination: A universal dimension for inter-language comparison (1976)
- The basic idea I want to develop and to substantiate in this paper consists in replacing – where necessary – the traditional concept of linguistic category or linguistic relation understood as 'things', as reified hypostases, by the more dynamic concept of dimension. A dimension of language structure is not coterminous with one single category or relation but, instead, accommodates several of them. It corresponds to certain well circumscribed purposive functions of linguistic activity as well as to certain definite principles and techniques for satisfying these functions. The true universals of language are represented by these dimensions, principles, and techniques which constitute the true basis for non-historical inter-language comparison. The categories and relations used in grammar are condensations – hypostases as it were – of such dimensions, principles, and techniques. Elsewhere I have outlined the theory which I want to test here in a case study.
- Die universalen Dimensionen der Sprache : eine vorläufige Bilanz ; Vorlesung im WS 1985/86 (1988)
- Die folgende Vorlesung hat die universalen Dimensionen der Sprache zum Gegenstand, wie sie bis jetzt von der in Köln ansässigen Forschergruppe UNITYP erforscht und erarbeitet worden sind. ("UNITYP" steht für "Sprachliche Universalienforschung und Typologie mit besonderer Berücksichtigung funktionaler Aspekte.") Es handelt sich um eine vorläufige Bilanz, vorgestellt werden soll nicht eine monolithische, abgeschlossene Theorie mit endgültigen Resultaten. Daher sollten die bereits publizierten Ergebnisse "not as the final version of a ready-made theory of language" angesehen werden, "this would mean that the UNITYP-group has reached the end of its research and is no longer productive." (cf. Ramat 1984:365) Das erarbeitete Modell ist seiner Anlage nach offen. Das Ziel dieser Vorlesung besteht vielmehr darin, in eine bestimmte Art des linguistischen Denkens, in eine spezifische Methode des Herangehens an Sprachdaten einzuführen, mit dem Anspruch, dadurch zu einem besseren Verständnis sprachlicher Fakten beizutragen. Der Wert einer Theorie bemißt sich überhaupt daran, inwieweit sie imstande ist, zu einem besseren und tiefgreifenderen Verständnis des durch sie Systematisierten anleiten zu können. Auch insofern steht hier nicht lediglich die Präsentation fertiger Resultate, sondern die Vermittlung eines bestimmten linguistischen Sprachverstehens im Vordergrund, das zu eigenem Weiterarbeiten befähigen und anregen soll. Metawissenschaftlich-methodische Fragen, wie die nach dem, was ein sprachliches Faktum überhaupt ist, werden zunächst zurückgestellt.
- Introductory notes to a grammar of Cahuilla : [to appear in Linguistic Studies offered to Joseph Greenberg on the occasion of his 60th birthday] (1976)
- These notes grew out of my preoccupation with writing a grammar of a particular language, Cahuilla, which is spoken in Southern California and belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family. [...] The Introduction to the Grammar as a whole – of which two sections are reproduced here in a modified version – tries to integrate the synoptic views of the different chapters into a series of comprehensive statements. The statements cluster around two topics: 1. A presentation of Cahuilla as a type of language. 2. Remarks on writing a grammar.
- L'iconicité en perspective fonctionnelle (1988)
- Le but principal de notre essai est de poser des problèmes. En résumé de ce qui a été proposé jusqu'ici, ces problemes peuvent être formulés comme suit : 1. Comment le principe de l'iconicité intervient-il dans la tâche de la représentation de nos conceptualisations par les moyens de la langue ? 2. Quelle est la place de l'iconicité dans le cadre d'un modele dimensionnel qui réunit les trois modes de représentation que Peirce a dénommés "icon", "index", "symbol" ? 3. Quelle est 1a fonction de l'iconicité et quels sont les facteurs qui font alterner l'iconicité prédominante avec la prédominance de chacun des deux autres modes de représentation ? Certes, ces problèmes sont de portée très générale et de solution difficile. Il ne peut s'agir ici de donner des solutions définitives, mais plutôt de montrer la direction vers où s'orienter.
- Language typology in the UNITYP model : paper presented for the XIV. International Congress of Linguists, August 1987, Berlin, DDR, Plenary Session on Typology (1987)
- The aim of this contribution is to embed the question of an antinomy between "integral" vs. "partial typology", inscribed as the topic of this plenary session, into the comprehensive framework of the dimensional model of the research group on language universals and typology (UNITYP). In this introductory section I shall evoke some cardinal points in the theory of linguistic typology, as viewed "from outside", viz. on the basis of striking parallelisms with psychological typology. Section 2 will permit a brief look on the dimensional model of UNITYP. In section 3 I shall present an illustration of a typological treatment on the basis of one particular dimension. In section 4 I shall draw some conclusions with special reference to the "integral vs. partial" antinomy.
- Language universals and interlinguistic variation (1975)
- Actually, the title should include intralinguistic variation along with the interlinguistic one. For variation within one and the same language is the thing which directly presents itself to the observation while it still remains to be demonstrated that phenomena in different languages can be regarded as variants to be assigned to one and the same invariant principle. There are two senses in which the terms of variant, variation are used in the following remarks: one, which has just been mentioned, concerns the assignment of variants to some definite invariant. The other implies the possibility of gradient transitions and opposes the notions of discreteness and of yes-or-no. I shall not try here to reconcile these two senses and I trust that what I intend to show will become intelligible nevertheless. Henri Delacroix (1924:126f) has reformulated an old hypothesis which seems worth exploring in connection with the search for language universals: "Une langue est une variation historique sur le grand thème humain du langage." It remains to be seen what "le grand thème" or rather "les grands thèmes" are about and what particular language-specific properties could be shown to be variants of one and the same theme. One such major theme which we shall now investigate is the interrelation between, on one side, a word or a sequence of words, and, on the other, a sentence. As this for us is not only a syntactic but also a semantic problem, we might rephrase the anti thesis as that between a term or sequence of terms and a proposition. Two alternative views on the nature of this interrelation seem conceivable: A. The interrelation is yes-or-no, i. e. an element or a string of elements either constitutes a term (sequence of terms) or a proposition. B. The interrelation is of gradient nature, i. e. we find intermediary stages. Both alternatives are appropriate, but under different circumstances.
- Language universals and typology in the UNITYP framework (1990)
- Why should we engage in language universals research and language typology? What do we want to explain? It is a fact that, although languages differ significantly and considerably. indeed, no one would deny, that they have something in common; how else could they be labelled 'language'? - There is obviously unity among them, no matter how vaguely felt and for what reasons: Scientific, practical, moral, etc. Neither diversity per se nor unity per se is what we want to explain. There is no reason whatsoever to consider either one of them as primary, and the other as derived. What we do want to explain is "equivalence in difference" – cf. our motto – which manifests itself, among others, in the translatability from one language to another, the learnability of any language, language change – which all presuppose that speakers intuitively find their way from diversity to unity. This is a highly salient property which deserves to be brought into our consciousness. Generally then, our basic goal is to explain the way in which language-specific facts are connected with a unitarian concept of language – "die Sprache" – "le langage".