Max Planck Institute
for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Linguistics

Typological tools for field linguistics


Leipzig Valency Classes Project

The Leipzig Valency Classes Project (funded by the DFG) is carrying out a large-scale cross-linguistic comparison of valency classes. With respect to their valency properties, verbs fall into different classes in all languages. The project is inspired by Levin (1993), a classical study of syntactic classes of verbs in English, which argues that a semantic classification of verbs can be achieved through applying syntactic diagnostics. Yet, this study, as well as an earlier study by Apresjan (1967) on Russian, has not been followed up cross-linguistically, which leaves open the question of which aspects of these classifications are universal and which are language-particular. Similarly, valency dictionaries are few in number and mostly deal with European languages, thus they cannot fill the gap.

Project members:
Andrej Malchukov, Bernard Comrie, Iren Hartmann, Martin Haspelmath, Bradley Taylor & Søren Wichmann