Crosslinguistic Computation and a Rhythm-based Classification of Languages

  • August Fenk
  • Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


This paper is in line with the principles of numerical taxonomy and with the program of holistic typology. It integrates the level of phonology with the morphological and syntactical level by correlating metric properties (such as n of phonemes per syllable and n of syllables per clause) with non-metric variables such as the number of morphological cases and adposition order. The study of crosslinguistic patterns of variation results in a division of languages into two main groups, depending on their rhythmical structure. Syllable-timed rhythm, as opposed to stress-timed rhythm, is closely associated with a lower complexity of syllables and a higher number of syllables per clause, with a rather high number of morphological cases and with a tendency to OV order and postpositions. These two fundamental types of language may be viewed as the “idealized” counterparts resulting from the very same and universal pattern of variation.


Numerical Taxonomy Fundamental Type Morphological Case Superordinate Concept Systemic Typology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin · Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • August Fenk
    • 1
  • Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Medien- und KommunikationswissenschaftUniversität KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria
  2. 2.Institut für Sprachwissenschaft und ComputerlinguistikUniversität KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria

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