The Lingua Descriptive Studies Questionnaire

Author : Bernard Comrie & Norval Smith

Publication date : 1977


This template was designed to describe the grammar of a language in detail and with labeled sections ensuring comparability of the description across languages.

Protocol summary

The template is organized as follows:

  1. Syntax: general questions, structural questions, coordination, negation, anaphora, reflexives, reciprocals, comparison, equatives, possession, emphasis, topic, heavy shift, other movement processes, minor sentence-types, operational definitions
  2. Morphology:  inflection and derivational morphology
  3. Phonology: inventory of the sounds, phonological units, phonotactics, suprasegmentals, morphophonology (segmental) and morphophonology (suprasegmental)
  4. Ideophones and interjections: inventory of these, analysis.
  5. Lexicon: structured semantic fields, basic vocabulary (a list of 207 English words to translate).

Development context

 ''A questionnaire primarily designed for grammar-writing, but with useful structural questions that should be addressed in the field; the Lingua Questionnaire underlies the North Holland/Croom Helm/Routledge Descriptive grammar series. This questionnaire provides the basic questions for the description of many of the constructions found in human language. A large number of grammars have been written based on the questionnaire. These constitute excellent models for users of the questionnaire." (Typological tools for field linguistics website,

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