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Janhunen Juha A. Mongolian

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Janhunen Juha A. Mongolian
Amsterdam - Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 2012. — XV+ 320 p. — (London Oriental and African Language Library, vol XIX). — Includes bibliographical references and index. — ISBN 978 90 272 3820 7
This grammar was written as a medium-length synchronic description of the Mongolian language. It is neither the first nor the last grammar of this language, but it differs from most of its predecessors, and probably also from many of its successors, by not being based on a specific dialect or standardized form of speech. Mongolian is a language spoken on a vast territory, written in two scripts and used orally in a large number of local forms. Although an exhaustive treatment of all the local forms would be impossible, a grammatical description will have to include at least some of the variation actually present in the language. Following the objectives of the present series, this grammar is intended for both the general linguist and the specialized Mongolist. It has been a challenge to try to accommodate the expectations of these two very different readerships. Conventional Mongolian studies is a field where the established tradition often matters more than theoretical innovation and descriptive adequacy, while the theories of general linguistics are sometimes based on a surprisingly superficial familiarity with the reality of actual languages. The terminological traditions are also very different. Quite possibly, some readers will find this grammar hopelessly conventional, while to others it may appear disturbingly modern and innovative. On the conventional side, this grammar places relatively much emphasis on phonology and morphology, while syntax and especially discourse (and anything beyond that) are given less attention. The description is focused on the qualitative analysis of the language in a rather strict form-to-function framework with no specific linguistic theory or quantitative corpus as a basis. The language material comes from published sources, personal observations, interviews with native speakers, data communicated by colleagues, and the internet. Also, diachrony is freely used as an explanatory tool, as it always should in a descriptive grammar. Following the introduction (Chapter 1), the discussion is organized into seven chapters, which proceed in a cumulative order, but without strict borderlines, from phonology (Chapters 2–3) through morphology (Chapters 4–5) to syntax (Chapters 6–8). Morphophonology is discussed both in connection with morpheme structure and in the relevant sections of morphology, while morphosyntax is introduced in the chapters on morphology but illustrated in more detail, with sentence examples, in connection with the syntax. The interaction of the different parts of grammar is also illustrated by the sample text and the selection of sample paradigms.
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