The Central European languages in the World Atlas of Language Structures: Supplementing WALS data(points)


The proposed project aims at interconnecting three research initiatives (Prague, Vienna, and Berlin)

focusing on the description, typological comparison and documentation of languages of Central

Europe, including both spoken and sign(ed) languages.


The long-term goal of this collaboration between the three research teams will be to supplement the database of typological structural features of Central European languages in the World Atlas of Linguistics Structures (WALS, The number of features currently available in WALS for individual Central European languages varies, with most of them being underrepresented. This significantly hampers the potential for using WALS data on Central European languages for typological comparing or computational processing (clustering etc.). The project teams will thus make a collaborative effort to (a) elaborate on languages already represented by supplementing the missing features, and to (b) create new datasets from scratch for languages and varieties not yet covered by WALS. Thanks to the supplemented data, the linguists will be able to explore the question “Central Europe – what unites and divides us?” regarding the structural features of Central European languages more easily, more empirically and in a wider typological context. The collaborative framework between the three institutions involved will be established via two workshops. The first workshop will take place in Prague in January 2022. Its agenda will concern the general methodology of the project and agreement upon the detailed road map of the project. The second workshop will take place in Vienna in June 2022. Dedicated to presentation of the interim results, the specific agenda of the workshop will also partly be determined by the outcomes of the first workshop. The proposed project will ultimately lead to the creation of a completed dataset that will be available to the scientific community at an open data repository. Also, a paper in English reporting the dataset and its assembling will be prepared for (an open access) publication in collaboration of the three institutions involved. Furthermore, the project will provide a significant impetus for a continuous typological research on Central European languages at the involved institutions, by introducing new methods, especially regarding data processing and modelling, and by sharing the data, tools as well as good practices in typological and comparative research. 

Contact person:  

Assistant Professor Viktor Elšík, Charles University, Prague

CENTRAL partners:

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Stefan Michael Newerkla, University of Vienna

Dr. Philipp Wasserscheidt, Humboldt-Univerität zu Berlin



@Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash