Questions tagged [word-order]

When the relative position of words within a sentence may change the meaning or grammaticality, a language is said to be sensitive to word order.

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What theory of syntax and grammar do language typologists tend to prefer?

The first concerns the theory of syntax and grammar that typologists prefer: What theory of syntax and grammar do language typologists tend to prefer? Do they prefer a transformational phrase ...
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Are there any languages with dominant VSO word order that DON'T switch to VOS in copular sentences?

VSO languages are few and hard to find. The few I know of all switch to VOS order in copular sentences. Is this universal or are there exceptions? Do humans really dislike de-coupling V and O so much ...
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Allowable flexibility in word order in *ordinary verse* vs in *ordinary prose*

Forgive my amateurish way of asking this, I have no background in linguistics, but I have noticed a phenomenon enough times to want to raise the question. Have there been studies of how flexible can ...
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What are the general word order trends of VO languages

I’ve heard that some scholars collapse SVO, VSO, and VOS into one general category of VO. From what I understand, these VO languages allegedly exhibit strong and weak common word order trends. If this ...
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Why do dominant VSO languages all have SVO as an alternative word order?

According to Greenberg’s 6th universal, "All languages with dominant VSO order have SVO as an alternative or as the only alternative basic order." Why are dominant VSO languages predisposed ...
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Are there languages with free argument order that lack a passive voice? If not, why not?

Consider German, with its four cases and relatively free argument-order. Now consider the following German sentence, courtesy of Google Translate. Johan schenkte dem Mädchen eine Katze. (Johan gave ...
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Exception to word order in quotative situations

I'm very uneducated in syntax, so I apologize if this question is something really basic that everyone already knows. English is a subject-verb-object language, and it is known to follow that pattern ...
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Is there a standardized way to classify languages according to how much the order of the words is tied to the words themselves?

(I'm a language enthusiast, not a linguist, so the question is probably longer and contains more examples than it needs; maybe it could have been shorter if I had more techinical terminology at my ...
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How does order of prepositional phrases effect semantics?

I was discussing the semantics difference when switching prepositional objects in the following sentences with a German native: , damit die Eltern auf ihre Kinder über CCTV aufpassen können, damit ...
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The sequence of parts of speech in English

Considering the main eight parts of speech, every two adjacent words in a sentence can be one of the possible 64 pairs. The probability of these pairs significantly varies, as some might even be ...
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How is topic-prominence different than OSV word order?

I have read that "most East-Asian languages" are topic-prominent languages, which means putting the topic (object) first before the subject, and the verb last, but they never say explicitly ...
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How do the various different word orders handle 3 and 4 argument verbs?

If a 2-argument verb is like "to light", as in "I light the candle", a SOV might say it equivalent to "I the candle light", and a VSO might do "light I the candle&...
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Is there a name for a situation where a word can be described by prepositive and postpositive modifier at the same time?

With the current culture of quiet quitting in English, lying flat, or letting it rot in Chinese, I was curious if there is such a phrase in my own Mong language. The adverbs laam and dlogdlig will ...
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Why French Adjectives Uses BAGS

In French, most adjectives are positioned behind the noun e.g. vache bleue médecin étrange orange énevrant But sometimes you have an adjective following BAGS -- the adjective describes beauty, age, ...
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French language : is it possible to use a possessive adjective earlier than the name it refers to? [closed]

I have posted the same question on the French language Stackexchange, and I have been referred to post it here too. A phrase said by Mireille left me dumbfounded: Bénédicte et ses filles ont ...
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Can't find the features related to Rel-N

I'm making a table of features related to language families that exist in Northeast Asia, but I can't find out if I'm not good at searching. What is the word order in the relative clauses (WALS 90A) ...
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When do Hindi and Urdu follow free word order?

Urdu is my first language, yet I can't really think of any sentences off the top of my head where Urdu doesn't follow the SOV order. A sentence like : میں گھر جا رہا ہوں (I am going home) follows the ...
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OVS in English dialogue

English is an SVO language. When writing dialogue, especially in literature, writing a sentence with the speech first is considered grammatically correct. Take for example this extract from Ursula K ...
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Question on Avestan Adjectives

Looking at various examples of Avestan, I am confused on how the adjectives work. For instance, Ahura Mazda, Vohu Manah, Angra Mainyu, Spenta Armaiti, Aka Manah, etc are all adjective first. But Asha ...
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What psychological effects does the language one speaks have on them? [closed]

Are there any known psychological effects that have been observed on people who speak one language as opposed to another. For example, in Latin languages there are genders, in English there are none; ...
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V-Bar Syntax in Latin

I am reading Devine and Stephens Latin Word Order, but without the requisite grounding in formal linguistics. They use the term V-bar syntax, and I am not sure what they mean by this and would like ...
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On the change of word order as languages develop?

While I understand the most common changes in word order, the whole SOV can go to OSV, SVO, and OVS, and so forth. But I do not exactly understand how and why word order would change. Can you explain ...
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In English are there any rules to prefer the word order "rock, paper, scissors" to name the game?

Reading some buzzfeed article I saw someone claiming that in their part of the world they say "paper, scissors, rock" As the article mentions, this seems crazy wrong to most Americans and to ...
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Peculiarities of English as spoken/written by Norwegians [closed]

I'm writing a fiction book. Some of its characters are Norwegians who exchange emails in English. I'd like to lightly stylise their texts. What mistakes / peculiarities / word choice / sentence ...
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Why is English so flexible?

In handling the concept of dialects of a common language among characters in "classical" role-playing games (e.g., D&D, Traveller), one idea for signalling 'foreign' dialects that often ...
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
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What are the pros and cons of having adjectives appear first?

In the English, we say: Red apple Red is an adjective. apple is a noun. Red tells us that, well, the apple is red. In other languages, such as Arabic, it is the other way around. I.e.: تفاحة ...
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rules of syllogistic logic in an OVS or OSV language

I am looking to write the present the rules of Aristotelian syllogistic logic in a language that would be unfamiliar to my mostly-American students. So I thought I would do it in an OVS or OSV ...
Larry Moss's user avatar
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Did Proto-Indo-European put the adjective before or behind the noun?

Did PIE put the adjective behind the noun (like Romance languages usually do) or before the noun (like Germanic languages)?
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Is this phrase or clause a clause?

Is "lefty loosey, righty tighty" a clause? Or what is "lefty loosey, righty tighty"? Or what part of speech is "lefty loosey, righty tighty"? Or what part of speech is ...
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Order of spoken numbers with respect to powers of the base of the numerical system

I am interested in the history of how numbers were spoken with respect to hundreds, tens, unities... (or more generally powers of a base if the systems is not decimal). To clarify, here is an example: ...
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Word order in "ברוך הבא" [closed]

I'm learning Modern Hebrew (I am a complete novice) and I was trying to wrap my head around the structure of the common phrase for "Welcome" ("ברוך הבא"). The etymology of "הבא" is pretty much clear ...
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What are some good resources on the study of word order?

I've already read the Wikipedia article on the subject, and I was wondering if any resources exist that go more into detail.
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Why is Spanish SVO and not VSO?

I understand that Spanish sentences have an SVO sentence structure. (S)(Yo) (V)compro (O)los zapatos. What confuses me is the fact that when the subject is a pronoun, it is omitted so often that you ...
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What is the position of the subject in a Greek sentence, whose word order is VSO?

The following is a Greek sentence Σε ποιόν φίλο νομίζεις ότι μιλάει ο άντρας; To which friend think.2SG that speak.3SG the man Its counterpart in ...
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Why do adverbials of place come before adverbials of time? [closed]

He comes to class at 9 AM. In the above sentence to class, the adverbial of place comes before at 9 AM, the adverbial of time. Why is the below sentence wrong? **He comes at 9 AM to class."
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I read the Quran syllable by syllable but I don't know where a word begins and where it ends.If I knew that I could translate them from the dictionary [closed]

Salaam aleikum. I have learned the entire Arabic alphabet. And also the harakat and long vowels. But I have a big problem. I read the Quran syllable by syllable but I don't know where a word begins ...
edmond90 desert's user avatar
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How common are languages with different word orders in matrix and non-matrix clauses

How common is it cross-linguistically for a language to have a different word order in various types of embedded clauses such as relative clauses? WALS appears to collect information on word order in ...
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Are there languages where this "is" phrase is reversed?

"A cat is an animal". "Is a cat an animal?" I have a theory that the word order here is important. One must first put the image of a "cat" in your brain BEFORE recognising if it is an "animal". For ...
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Is there a term for mismatch between time and word order?

Is 'word order' the correct term? Does anyone know of other examples from the literary canon? I can think of merely one in English from As I Lay Dying (1930): I can remember how when I was young I ...
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"I gave Tom an apple" and "I gave an apple to Tom"

"I gave Tom an apple" and "I gave an apple to Tom" have the same meaning. The meaning of Tom receiving the apple comes form the position of the word in the former example and from the preposition in ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
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Does a null-subject language always have to satisfy EPP?

I am analyzing Latin word order. As in many other languages, most Latin sentences begin with the subject, but I've noticed quite a few that have many complements and adjuncts and then end with the ...
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Why are French, Italian, Spanish etc. listed as SVO languages?

In this Wikipedia article, French, Italian and Spanish are listed as SVO languages, along with English and Chinese. (However, Latin is listed as SOV.) I am highly confused about such statement. In ...
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What's the difference between V2 word order and OVS word order?

Is there any difference between the two? They seem the same to me, c.f.: Fußball spielten die Kinder vor der Schule im Park. Football played the kids before school in the park. (...
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How VSO (Verb-Subject-Object) works [closed]

After looking through some of the VSO languages, it seems that the "most VSO centric" one I could find (using Google Translate) is Hawai'ian. The simplest example sentence is (1): I went to the ...
Lance's user avatar
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How common is it for languages to be head-first as often as they are head-final?

English, I've heard, is rather odd for not leaning one way or another towards a head-final order, or a head first. Verbs gravitate towards the beginning of sentences and it uses prepositions, which ...
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"In his desk(,) he kept a black book." Is "in his desk" a preposed complement here?

The answers and comments beneath my question about the sentence “He kept a black book in his desk” seemed to agree that “in his desk” acts as a complement and not as an adjunct in that sentence. But ...
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Are there any languages that mark plural before the noun, while everything else comes after?

There's a lot of head-final languages where everything precedes the noun except for the number (Japanese is one example). But are there any that do the reverse? Is there a language where number ...
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Is there any theoretical explanation of putting infinitive clause at the beginning?

There is a sentence which my Canadian professor today talked about. 1-) I see no reason to do these stupid things. The Canadian English professor at the university said that we could put the part "...
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Linear order preserving syntactic trees

Two questions: Is the syntactic tree notation supposed to be Linear order preserving in general Linear order preserving for English Generally linear order preserving for English None of the above ...
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Do different alignments restrict what kind of word order a language can have?

I've read somewhere that all known ergative languages are either verb-initial, or verb-final. I find this surprising, but I don't know of any counter-examples. I've seen plenty of nominative ...
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