Linguistic Data Types and the Interface between Language Documentation and Description

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ISSN: 1934-5275

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Himmelmann, Nikolaus P.
language documentation; language description; linguistic data types; primary data
article description
This paper presents a new definition of documentary linguistics, based on a typology of linguistic data types. It clarifies the distinction between raw, primary, and structural data and argues that documentary linguistics is concerned with raw and primary data and their interrelationships, while descriptive linguistics is concerned with the relations between primary and structural data. The fact that primary data are of major concern in both fields reflects the fact that the two fields are very closely interlinked and difficult to separate in actual practice. The details of their interaction in actual practice, however, are still a matter for further discussion and investigation, as the second main part of the paper attempts to make clear.