MED-TYP: a Typological Database for Mediterranean Languages

Electronic databases are increasingly popular tools in typological research. Despite the advantages of such tools, there are problems connected both with their construction and with their standardization. For instance, there is generally a considerable gap between the information stored in typological databases and primary data: primary morphosyntactic data are much more difficult to handle compu-tationally than typological generalizations. Moreover, in current typological studies the need for standardization has led to the devel-opment of glossing practices and guidelines for collecting data, but there are still too few initiatives to increase standardization in typo-logical databases. The aim of this paper is to suggest a radically new approach to the storage of data for typological analysis. The Med-Typ Database, which is currently being developed at the University of Pavia, has been providing us with concrete experience of the problems that need to be addressed when creating typological databases. This database uses XML annotation and aims to be both a collection of data for future analyses of areal distribution of features within the Mediterranean area and a tool for systematic analysis of the range of variation found in various typological domains
Published in 2004