Principles of grammaticography

Florian Siegl
University of Helsinki 

Due to the raising awareness concerning language endangerment, documentary linguistics has received much more attention since the 1990s and has established itself as a discipline of its own in general linguistics. However, documentary linguistics as such is by no means a new discipline as many of its principles and preliminaries can be traced back at least into the 19th century. Whereas the last decades have seen attempts to theorize concepts such as fieldwork, documentation, corpus creation and archiving principles, the output of documentary linguistics is often vague. Although ideally, a potential output of language documentation should at least contain a grammar, a text collection and a dictionary, only the latter two outputs ‘text collection’ and ‘dictionary’ show clear interaction with specialized disciplines in general linguistics generally known as ‘corpus linguistics’ and ‘lexicography’. Whereas both corpus linguistics and lexicography are well established disciplines with their own journals, grammaticography is not. Although grammaticography has been understood as one of the task of linguistics, until recently questions of compilation and the relation of theoretical linguistics to grammar writing have not received attention. In fact, most of the recent discussion concerning grammaticography has been initiated by research on endangered languages. Therefore, this series of lectures offers a general and personal overview concerning the principles of grammaticography, especially from the perspective of documentary linguistics.


1) Onomasiological versus semasiological approaches to grammar
2) The interaction of grammaticography and theoretical linguistics
3) Where does the data come from?
4) Grammaticography now and then
5) Grammaticography and the languages of Northern Eurasia


Monday 4 May 16.00 - 20.30
Tuesday 5 May 17.30 - 20.30
Wednesday 6 May 17.30 - 20.30

Monday 11 May 17.30 - 20.30
Tuesday 12 May 17.30 - 20.30

room: 424 / Celetná 20

Grades (Z, 3 credits): for (i) attending the course, (ii) presentation of a grammar from the perspective of the lectures (to be specified)

Enrollment key = "registration". Enrollment in moodle = official registration (later, you will be automatically registered in SIS: ALINV309B Principles of grammaticography).