Greenberg's Language Universals is typical of his typological-theoretical
work in its stunning originality. Starting out from the observations
underlying Praguian markedness, Greenberg contributes a mass of new data
and generalizations and lays the foundations for a post-structuralist,
usage-based theory of grammatical asymmetries. This work will continue to
be influential for many years to come.
"Joseph H. Greenberg was one of the most original and influential linguists
of the twentieth century. He died at his home in Stanford, California, in
May 2001. Joseph H. Greenberg was a major pioneer in the development of
linguistics as an empirical science. His work was always founded directly
on quantitative data from a single language or from a wide range of
languages. His chief legacy to contemporary linguistics is in the
development of an approach to the study of language - typology and
univerals - and to historical linguistics. Yet he also made major
contributions to sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, phonetics and
phonology, morphology, and especially African language studies."
(From an obituary by William Croft, University of Manchester, England)
Martin Haspelmath is Professor of Linguistics at the Max Planck Institute
for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Linguistics, Leipzig, Germany.
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