Characterological approach in the tуpological linguistic studies of the XX century

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2016, Vol. 2. №1

Characterological approach in the tуpological linguistic studies of the XX century

About the author:

Natalia B. Popova, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Professor, Roman and German Languages Department, Cheliabinsk State University;


The article deals with the new for the XX century linguistics approaches of typological research of languages, different from the genetic approach of the XIX century linguistics known as a comparative historical method. In fact, the typological linguistics was founded in the network of the comparative historical method. It is necessary to note that comparative researchers, constructing the morphological typology in the network of the comparative historical method in linguistics, rely on the historical process of languages formation at the initial phase of their study. 
Fridrich Shlegel in his work “On the Language and Wisdom of Indians” (1809) suggested dividing all the world languages into two types: inflexional and affixational languages. His brother August Shlegel in the work “Notes on Provençal language in literature” (1818) revised morphological (typological) classification of his brother and then suggested three types of languages: inflexional, affixational, and amorphous languages. It is necessary to note that August Shlegel also indicated two facilities of language grammatical structures: a synthetic and an analytic facilities. W. von Humboldt in his work of 1837 “On the Difference of Human Language Organisms and on the Influence of its Difference on the Mental Development of Humanity” adds and describes the forth type — the incorporating languages (e. g., American Indian languages and Paleo-Asiatic languages).
In the linguistics of XX century the development of typological tendency regards logical revision now existing typological categories and the search of the characterological features of different languages at all linguistic levels: phonetic, morphological, lexical, stylistic. It is no coincidence, because the XX century — as a century of structuralism in European linguistics and descriptive linguistics in America — is characterized by a more deterministic character of the typological studies of the language system and structure. Instead of classifications, scientists of XX century prefer to make lists of typological significant features of comparing languages. That is only the essence of the characterological approach in the typological linguistics of XX century.


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