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WALS in the university classroom

Hildebrandt, K.A. and Bond, O. 2009, 'WALS in the university classroom' , Linguistic Typology, 13 (1) , pp. 183-193.

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Abstract

The world atlas of language structures (WALS) originally appealed to the linguistics community as a resource for research. However, the relevance of the feature chapters to teaching environments and the user-friendly nature of the Interactive Reference Tool also make it suitable for university classrooms. Based on our experiences using WALS in two typology courses at the University of Manchester and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), we provide a review of WALS as a teaching and learning tool, including both its successes and frustrations. We note some methodological and technical issues with using WALS in the university classroom, including problems of over- and under-sampling, and a lack of coverage on typological rarities. However, we have also found that WALS has much to offer instructors and students in terms of its breadth of topic coverage, the linkage of the feature chapters with course reading assignments, the wealth of genealogical, geographical, and bibliographic information on individual languages, and the hands-on experience that the Interactive Reference Tool offers students.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: linguistic atlas, methodology, teaching
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Journal or Publication Title: Linguistic Typology
Publisher: Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT)
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1430-0532
Depositing User: Dr. Oliver Bond
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 11:49
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 18:17
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/18943

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