LINGUIST List 7.1459

Thu Oct 17 1996

Sum: Word order

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. "Paul de Lacy", SUM: Word Order

Message 1: SUM: Word Order

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 10:21:11 -0000
From: "Paul de Lacy" <>
Subject: SUM: Word Order

A few weeks ago I posted a query about the unmarked ordering of
arguments in SOV languages, with special attention to ditransitive
predicates. Thanks to the following respondents: Norvin Richards,
IvanA Derzhanski, Maria Polinsky, Arie Verhagen, Chris Culy, Cem
Bozsahin, Georges Rebuschi, Simin Karimi, Mela Sarkar, Ricardo Lima.
The following is a summary of their responses:

_Kabardian_: the order of the nominal constituents is flexible, and
depends on their activeness as well as grammatical functions. In
sentences with ditransitive verbs, however, <S Orec Oobl V> is the
first choice, <S Oobl Orec V> the second one. The preference seems to
be associated with the fact that <S> and <Oobl> bear the same surface
case (oblique). Therefore speakers tend to separate them with the
(absolutive) <Orec>.

_Tibetan_:indirect objects and VP-level adverbs must always precede
the verb, as must everything else (except for some inflection). Word
order before the verb is fairly free, but my impression is that the
unmarked order is S-IO-DO and S-Adv-DO.

_Turkish_ has the order S IO DO V . In fact, any order is acceptable
if DO is morphologically case marked. But if the DO is
nonspecific/nonreferential, S IO DO V and S DO V IO are the only

_Basque_: the unmarked order is S (erg) < IO(dative) < DO(absolutive)
< V but anything can occupy the position left adjacent to the verb,
and be interpreted as focused.

_Persian_ is an SOV language that allows scrambling. The specific
direct object (DO) precedes the indirect object (IO) in an unmarked
word order while the nonspecific direct object follows it. The
specific DO and the IO can both follow the verb (separately or
togetehr) in an word order that is marked for focus, emphasis, or
other discourse related factors.

_Bambara_ (Mande family) is S Aux DO V IO.
_Donno So_ (Dogon family in Gur) is S DO IO V Aux.

Some recommended readings follow:

- Polinsky, Maria. 1995. Double Objects in causatives. *Studies in
Language* 19: 129-221.
- Kozinsky, Isaac, and Maria Polinsky. 1993. Causee and patient in the
causative of transitive. In Bernard Comrie and Maria Polinsky, eds.
Causatives and Transitivity, 177-240. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- M S Polinskaja, `_Porjadok slov "Ob`ekt--Sub`ekt--Glagol"_',
_Voprosy jazykoznanija_ 1989.2:111-135.)


Paul de Lacy.
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