29

French, Spanish and Italian use SVO in clauses with non-pronominal arguments. Many languages make use of more than one kind of word order; the "canonical" order used in simplistic categorizations of entire languages as "SVO" vs. "SOV" etc. has to be based on some particular subset of clauses in the language in cases like that. English isn't SVO in all ...


8

The premise holds for most Romance languages but it is difficult to categorize Spanish (the largest latin language by number of speakers) as an SVO language. The earliest texts in medieval Spanish were all VSO and I, as a native Spanish speaker, tend to use VSO sentences slightly more often than SVO. I will say "Ya ha llegado Jose a casa" (already ...


7

WALS is a great tool to answer questions like this. With this combined view of three features I find Zapotec and Sre as languages with the following features: Plural prefix / Noun-Adjective / Numeral-Noun


7

Word order in a copular construction can be flexible according to the languages of the world. You can have for a canonical sentence: Subject + Copula + Predicate (e.g English) Copula + Subject + Predicate (e.g Welsh) Predicate + Subject + Copula (e.g Basques) Copula + Predicate + Subject (e.g Irish) In addition, this order can vary according to the tense,...


7

In Russian, the sequence is “rock, scissors, paper”: камень, ножницы, бумага (kámen’, nóžnitsy, bumága). The most obvious reason for this very sequence is that it makes a trochaic tetrameter verse, like Double, double, toil and trouble or Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater. The “paper, scissors, rock” sequence is also trochaic, namely, it is catalectic trochaic ...


6

There is a trend for languages, in general, to lose inflection of a certain type, and Indo-European languages manifest that trend. Particular facts of English have encouraged that development, and different facts of Indic or Greek encouraged similar developments. The main fact about Indo-European morphology (or, late versions if its morphology) that presages ...


6

Short answer: of course, word order matters in Latin but differently from languages like English. Technical answer: rather than being vaguely classified as a free word order language, Latin is often referred to as a "discourse configurational language". Latin word order is strongly driven by so-called "information structure" (involving notions like "old ...


6

1) "Young" in your sentence will be in the nominative case agreeing with the nominative case of "man", but both "friend" and "dog" will be in the accusative, which excludes "young" modifying "friend" or "dog", since only adjectives in the accusative can modify them in your sentence. Actually, the free word order in those languages that allow it, functions ...


6

OVS word order means that the object comes before the verb and the verb comes before the subject. It's not very common, for reasons relating to branching direction. But in an OVS language it doesn't matter what else is on the left side of the sentence: you can put prepositional phrases there, or adverbs, or anything else you feel like. The object just has to ...


6

Yes. In the most common order for equative or defining sentences in Welsh, the complement comes first, then the verb, then the subject. Example (from Wikipedia's article on Welsh syntax): Diffoddwr tân ydy Gwyn. 'Gwyn is a fireman.' To see this in use, look at the first sentence of most articles in the Welsh Wikipedia. The usual syntax is "[definition,...


5

Most prepositions are originally, most likely, nouns of their own, in different fossizilied case forms that preceeded or followed the corresponding noun. For example, Latin pro, de are IIRC believed to stem from ablative forms prod, ded. Coincidentally, they also require ablative. So, a preposition was originally some sort of abstract apposition to the noun ...


5

Mande languages generally have SOVX word order. Otherwise, it is quite rare.


5

Here is Quran word for word – every word is written separately, translated, explained grammatically, and recited audio by a professional reciter. If you click a word, you are redirected to a more detailed explanation of the word.


5

The simplest answer is that the classification into VSO, SVO etc. as "types" is based on the order of full-word elements, thus full verbs and noun phrases as subject and object. Subject or object marking within a verb isn't "counted". It is also true that subject or object marking on a verb "counts" for the requirement of having a subject or an object which ...


5

Here are some reconstructed phrases in PIE. It seems, the adjective could go both before and after the noun. Examples: Adjective before h₁ōḱéwes h₁éḱwoes "swift horses" dus menes "bad mind" (> "bandit, enemy") dus dius "bad sky" Adjective after ḱléwos wéru "wide fame" ḱléwos meǵh₂ "big fame" ...


5

PIE had a rich inflection system, as is echoed in the oldest attested daughter languages. Owing to this, if adjective and noun were each appropriately declined, the order could be either way. As to the actual order, there is not enough evidence to support an absolute trend either way in PIE. Remember that word order is more important in modern Germanic and ...


5

What about translating literally some Norwegian expressions? I've heard someone says "it wasn't only-only" before now, with a thick accent of course. "only-only" is not a recognisable English phrase. It could only be a literal translation of "bare bare" (for those that don't know Norwegian, this is an idiomatic way to say "...


4

I tried to add it as a comment, but I couldn't so I post it here. I think there is a misunderstanding between free word order and scrambling languages. Free word order languages are those that do not have any order. It is a property of non-configurational languages. (Of course there is a big discussion whether these languages really non- configurational ...


4

As many pointed out, 'free word order' is a complete misnomer. I don't know of any language where the label would apply without at least some qualification. As TKR mentioned word order is motivated by information structure and pragmatics but also can display certain tendencies of iconicity and be subject to language default. That's why a language like ...


4

User tchrist made an excellent point in a comment to an answer by Mark Beadles, which probably deserves to be expanded into a separate answer: In many spoken varieties of Spanish, (3) will never be naturally produced (though it will be understood). But there will be focal contrasts such as: (2)' MARÍA lo compró. (3)' Lo compró MARÍA. Also: (4) María ...


4

To my knowledge Japanese has the feature you are looking for, provided that you consider such things as topicalization and focalization to be good examples of "additional meaning". In Japanese, the predicate is always final, while the order of the pre-verbal NPs is quite free. The topicalized or focalized constituent always comes first. It's equivalent to ...


4

This is called Order of Genitive and Noun and common abbreviations are GenN (for A's B) and NGen (for B of A). For a survey, see WALS chapter 86.


4

This is a very bad sentence in Dutch : "Waarschijnlijk deze zomer ga ik naar Spanje." The normal word order would be Deze zomer ga ik waarschijnlijk naar Spanje. The referential adverbial in sentence initial position serves to determine the temporal reference of the phrase, the modality 'waarschijnlijk' remains VP internal. I do not know how this bears on ...


4

There is a certain meaning, and a sentence constructed in a particular language, obviously, uses the linguistic tools (or instruments) of that language to convey the meaning. In English, the word order is a tool (one of many) to convey grammatical information. No other tool can replace its function. Hence, "John loves Mary" and "Mary loves John" convey two ...


4

There's no link between the principle of compositionality and (free) word order. Basque (and many other languages, such as most Indo-European and native American languages) use morphology to indicate grammatical functions whereas word order encodes topic-focus articulation.


4

An example of how the spoken numerals influenced the way they were written numerically is the Slavic languages and their Cyrillic alphabet. Since Cyrillic is derived from the Greek alphabet, it also inherited the Greek tradition of writing numbers with letters, isopsephy (gematria), which dates back to Euclid, about 300 BC. The first 9 letters were assigned ...


4

Which approach allows for the transfer of a higher amount of information bits per second? This is, as it turns out, a question that can be answered experimentally: neither. Coupé, Oh, Dediu, and Pellegrino (2019) showed that the information rate (bits per second) of different languages is roughly consistent all across the world; if the speakers of a ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible