LINGUIST List 9.304

Sun Mar 1 1998

Disc: Russian Syntax

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. manaster, Re: 9.249, Sum: Russian Syntax

Message 1: Re: 9.249, Sum: Russian Syntax

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 14:22:47 -0500 (EST)
From: manaster <>
Subject: Re: 9.249, Sum: Russian Syntax

I must have missed the original query, but I would like to take
exception to the idea that Russian is "basically SVO". First of all,
this seems to confuse theoretical and factual issues, since in many
theories a language can be "basically" X and "superficially" Y, where
X and Y are distinct (e.g., unless I am much mistaken there is hardly
anyone other than me who does not accept the idea that within
generative approaches to syntax Dutch and German basically are
non-SVO, even though in another sense of the word "basically" they are
precisely SVO). Second, and perhaps even more importantly, it is by
no mean clear, and certainly highly theory-dependent, whether Russian
has any "basic" word order statable in terms of the primitives S,V,
and O. In fact, I dont think that this is the case at all, and any
theory which requires it to be the case deserves to be scrapped. It
is likely that reference to 'S' and 'V' maybe necessary, but I dont
know that this is true of 'O', and certainly reference to these three
is not sufficient.

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