I'm looking for a book on comparative grammar, where the grammar of different languages and/or language families is described and compared.

EDIT: A comment made me realize that the question is extremely broad. An example of a reference that I think would be ideal for my purposes is this one. It's just that it was written in 1843! Also, books which describe grammar generically, but with examples from different languages, are of interest. It does not need to be research level, this is just for fun!

Could anyone give some pointers?

  • Is it possible to narrow down your question a little? Perhaps to specific languages you're interested in seeing a comparison of? As it stands, the possible frame of reference is HUGE! – P Elliott Aug 10 '13 at 18:22
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    @PElliott: I tried to narrow it down a bit, please see the edit. – Daniel R Aug 10 '13 at 18:33
  • I can suggest an introductory syntax textbook, but i'm not sure if that's quite what you have in mind. It does however fit the remit of "...describe grammar generically, but with examples from different languages.". I personally got a lot out of David Adger's Core Syntax textbook, which lays out a model of grammar which can be applied cross-linguistically, on the basis of examples from lots of different languages: books.google.co.uk/books/about/… It's quite challenging, but it doesn't presuppose any previous knowledge. – P Elliott Aug 10 '13 at 18:42
  • Although I personally liked David Adger's textbook, I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. At first, it is generative syntax (namely, MP). Second, honestly, I wouldn't say there is a lot of data from typologically different languages in it. – Alex B. Aug 11 '13 at 0:05
  • @AlexB Yep, you're right. Re-reading the question something specifically on typology is clearly more appropriate. – P Elliott Aug 12 '13 at 13:50

If you want a broad overview of variation in a wide variety of languages have a look at the field typology and language universals.

Two standard text books that I found excellent are

They are also in some ways complementary, so it's worth it to read both. Some background in linguistics will be useful to get the most out of them but they don't require too much previous knowledge.

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    Comrie's The World's Major Languages is a very good start, too. – jlawler Aug 10 '13 at 21:57
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    How about the Cambridge Language Surveys series. – Gaston Ümlaut Aug 11 '13 at 0:48
  • Wow, thanks everyone! The upside of asking a broad question is that you will sometimes get a smörgåsbord of answers! :) I think I'll start with Comrie's book and dig deeper using some of your other suggestions later. – Daniel R Aug 11 '13 at 19:14
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    Both Comrie books go well together; one is theory and the other provides lots of contrastive evidence. – jlawler Aug 12 '13 at 0:00

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