Hvordan valideres tværsproglige kategorier? Aspekt som eksempel
The precise status of cross-linguistic categories remains a contested issue in contemporary linguistics. This paper proposes a solution based on a functional rethinking of classic concepts in Danish structural linguistics. It is argued that the level of content substance constitutes the necessary starting point for typological categories (such as tense and aspect), distinct from but presupposed by structural categories. This theory is compared to Haspelmath’s influential notion of “comparative concepts”. Comparative concepts arise as subjective stipulations (as claimed by Haspelmath), but we argue that they can be evaluated and potentially validated as cross-linguistically real substance descriptions. A validation procedure based on semantic mapping is proposed and illustrated in an analysis of Comrie’s (1976) category of aspect, which is argued – in contrast to what is generally assumed – not to constitute a cross-linguistically valid semantic domain. We conclude, however, that the category of aspect does constitute a different type of generalization: a generalization over cross-linguistically frequent distinctions.
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