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Joseph Greenberg

About Joseph Greenberg

Comprehensive Biography

Terms in Greenburg (relevant to language typology)

Diachronic: looking at something (i.e., language) in respect to the passage of time

Synchronic: looking at something at a given moment in time.

See explanations here in regard to linguistics.

Ways to Categorize Languages:

Genetic (historical or diachronic)
Word order (Syntax)
Types of Nouns or Verbs or Prepositions/adpositions

Types of languages in relation to the number of morphemes in a word:

Type Morpheme to Word ratio  Examples
Isolating a word is usually one morpheme  Chinese, English
Synthetic there is usually more than one morpheme per word German, Japanese
Polysynthetic there are a large number of morphemes per word Mohawk, Yup’ik Inuit


Linguistic Typology Resources from the Association of Linguistic Typology (what did I say about geeks with specific interests?)
(includes a database of universals)