Control patterns: grammar and description

Author : Maria Polinsky

Publication date : 2006

Questionnaire URL :


This questionnaire was developped in order to analyse the different control structures within an understudied language. It aims "to provide a typological snapshot of each language" (Questionnaire, p.1)

Protocol summary

This questionnaire, intended for the linguist, is divided in two major sections :
- the grammar profile. This is a checklist-like part designed to avoid forgetting any detail regarding morpho-syntax, the matrix clause and the embedded clause. 
- the control profile, entailing the description of each control pattern identified. In this section, the linguist is asked to provide examples of control structures. Examples have to be glosed as well as including an English translation.

Development context

"This questionnaire was developed as a part of the Variation in Control Structures project to document control patterns in understudied languages." (Questionnaire, p.1)

"About the Project 
Until very recently, it was assumed that control structures in English were representative of control structures cross-linguistically. Specifically, it was assumed that the controller always preceded the controllee. Recent syntactic proposals, especially analyses of "backwards control," however, have challenged these assumptions.

Backward control has been proposed for such "exotic" languages as Tsez and Malagasy, but it has also been suggested in analyses of Japanese and Korean. This project sets out to examine whether such variations in control patterns are mere quirks, or if there is an underlying regularity to their appearance that can be linked to other aspects of a language's grammar." (From the Typological tools for field linguistics,

"About this site
To test this hypothesis, we are collecting reports for a variety of languages, especially under-documented languages. Each report includes a language profile describing specific morpho-syntactic properties of the language, as well as a control profile, which includes data supporting analyses of specific control patterns.

This web site was developed by linguists for linguists. Our goal is to make it easy to find and to share research and data about control in a theory-neutral framework. We encourage you to browse the collection and to consider contributing your own research. If you have other suggestions for improving the site as a resource for the linguistics community, please contact us.

Principle investigators are Maria Polinsky and Eric Potsdam. Graduate student researchers include Shin Fukuda, Youssef Haddad, Peter Jenks, and Nayoung Kwon. Past participants include Laura Kertz (through 2006), Philip Monahan (through 2003), and Antje Thiessen (through 2003). Programming and technical support were provided by Robert Lee, Richard Liu, Ezra Van Everbroeck, Laura Kertz, and Marc Silver.'' (From the Typological tools for field linguistics,

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