LE 62: Norwegian examples in international linguistics literature

Product no.: ISBN 9783895868566
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Norwegian examples in international linguistics literature

An inventory of defective documentation

Jan Engh
University of Oslo

This is an inventory of examples of incorrect Norwegian used by foreign linguists in international theoretical linguistics literature. It is the result of a search of several volumes of 18 journals and some 1500 printed books. It consists of approximately 346 excerpts, each containing at least one case of deficient documentation, made by 139 linguists under 167 titles. The excerpts contain a rich variety of errors, ranging from character representation errors and mere misspellings to sheer nonsense. The extent of the deficient documentation is astonishing as well: More than two thirds of all the articles, books etc. with Norwegian material written by foreign theoretical linguists contained errors (even when the less offensive ones are not taken into consideration).

In most cases, the excerpts contain many errors, frequently errors pertaining to various levels of description (characters, morphology, syntax etc.). Moreover, identical errors may appear in subsequent versions of the same text or in other texts by the same author. Although most of these errors seem trivial considered separately, their negative importance increases as a consequence of their quantity both for the individual linguist and for linguistics on the whole, thus highlighting the problematic relationship between current theoretical linguistics and its empirical base. This inevitably raises doubts as to the validity of the theoretical arguments that the examples are meant to support - and the standards of linguistics’ publishing.

ISBN 9783895868566. Linguistics Edition 62. 170pp. 2008.

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