s-16 - VSO (less common) Welsh (Gaelic), Classical Arabic...

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Language Universals: Two very different views: Languages differ from each other without limit and in unpredictable ways (Joos, 1957) A visiting Martian would conclude that, aside from mutually uninterpretable vocabulary, Earthlings speak a single language (Chomsky, 1957) Differences among languages Word structure isolating: words are immutable English, Chinese inflecting: words are stems for inflections Latin, Russian agglutinating: verbs are stems for markers of all major elements of a sentence Kivunjo, West Greenlandic Eskimo fixed order: roughly correlates with isolating languages English, Chinese Free order: roughly correlates to inflectional and agglutinating Latin, Russian, Warlpiri (Australia) (Surface) Basic Word Order SVO (common) English, Russian, many others SOV (common) Japanese, German (embedded clauses), Turkish, etc.
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Unformatted text preview: VSO (less common) Welsh (Gaelic), Classical Arabic VOS (rare); OVS (even rarer) Malagasy; Hixkaryana (Amazon basin only?) OSV (probably nonexistent) Prominence Subject prominent English: The girl saw the dog. Topic prominent German, Russian, Japanese, ASL Den Hund hat das Madchen gesehen. [German] Sobaku videla devochka. [Russian] The Search for Universals Greenberg (1963) found 45 in 30 languages he studied. absolute: no language makes questions by reversing all words statistical: subject usually precedes object implicational: If SOV, then very probably post positional She dog sees > house in ; city from If VSO, then necessarily pre positional Sees she dog > in house; from city...
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s-16 - VSO (less common) Welsh (Gaelic), Classical Arabic...

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