The purpose of the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT), founded in March 1994, is to advance the scientific study of typology, that is, of cross-linguistic diversity and the patterns underlying it. To that end ALT seeks:
- to further mutual awareness, dialogue, and co-operation within the international community of typologists;
- to give typology a higher profile within as well as outside linguistics, and in particular to act as an interest group of typologists in relation to the world of science and science funding.
ALT’s principal public activities are:
- the organization of biennial ALT conferences
- the managing of the LINGTYP mailing list, where issues pertinent to linguistic typology and the activities of the association are discussed
- awarding of prizes for outstanding typological research and reference grammars.
- providing fellowships for participating in ALT conferences for members requiring such assistance and for reimbursing the travel expenses of the ALT award winners
- supporting other types of events and activities contributing to the promotion of linguistic typology
- the publication of a journal, Linguistic Typology
As an association of linguists whose special professional expertise lies in linguistic diversity, ALT will share in the responsibility for a task of paramount cultural importance — the documentation and maintenance of this diversity that is in danger of being dramatically reduced in the near future.
At ALT’s meetings priority is given to the unhurried presentation and discussion of typological research. Under the auspices of ALT, Mouton de Gruyter publishes a journal catering for the special needs of the typological community. The journal appears in three issues per year.