ALT8 conference on typology and comparative grammar

(July 2009) SIL linguist Colleen Ahland presented a paper at the Eighth Biennial Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT8). The conference, which had as its theme, "Typology and the Study of Language: Comparative Grammar and Beyond," was held 23–26 July at the University of California, Berkeley (USA).

Ahland's paper was titled "Predicate (verbal) classification in Gumuz: A typological anomaly in Africa?" Noun classification systems are well-known in Africa. Verbal classifiers (classifiers found on the verb and that classify an argument of the verb) have only been documented in the Americas and in Australia. This is the first documentation of verbal classifiers in any African language.

Plenary sessions

  • Mark Baker (Rutgers University, USA) "Formal generative typology: "A little vision and a little example"
  • Balthasar Bickel (University of Leipzig, Germany) "Typological patterns and hidden diversity"
  • Joan Bresnan (Stanford University, USA) "The dynamics of probabilistic grammar— Implications for typology"


In its 75-year history, SIL personnel have worked in over 2,550 languages. Approximately 2,000 SIL language research and development projects are currently in progress. The SIL Bibliography contains over 35,000 references to books, journal articles, book chapters, dissertations and other academic papers about languages and cultures authored or edited by SIL staff or published by SIL.

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