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Perspectives on Grammar Writing

Perspectives on Grammar Writing

Editors David J. Weber, Thomas E. Payne

 With over half the languages of the world currently in danger of extinction within a century, the need for high quality grammatical descriptions is more urgent than ever. Potential grammar writers, however, often find themselves paralyzed by the daunting task of describing a language. The papers in the present volume (originally published in Studies in Language 30:2 (2006)) provide suggestions and encouragement – from experienced grammar writers and users – regarding concrete methods for approaching the task of writing a descriptive grammar of a language. Salient “themes” emerging from the papers in this volume include: The necessity of community involvement in grammatical descriptions; The link between a grammar and the other products of a program of language documentation (a dictionary and collection of texts); The complementary functions of elicited vs. naturally occurring data; and grammatical description as ‘art’ as well as ‘science’.