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Greenberg's universals for SVO

From:Adrian Morgan <morg0072@...>
Date:Saturday, September 9, 2000, 7:06
Marcus Smith wrote:

> case is less common, and when present, usually doesn't not follow an > ergative pattern.
I take it the double negative is a typing error :-) Speaking of which ... many people have probably heard the quip that "English is a language in which a double negative is a no-no", and also the joke about the linguistics student who, told that a double positive cannot make a negative in any language, responded, "Yeah right!"
> Subordinate clauses are often finite (e.g., "I want he goes" rather > than "I want him to go").
This is an easy sentence in my conlang as all the words are among the first that I ever specified. However, transcribing it into ASCII is a nightmare. Grammatically it's "I want, he goes" with the comma seperating the prelude from the rest of the sentence. The word for "he" is marked to indicate that "he goes" is a hypothetical rather than an actual event.
> Of course, as somebody pointed out in another message, universals are > just statistics. I know of no absolute universals except things like > "All languages have vowels".
Someone once said (speaking of programming languages, actually), "Every language offers you a way to shoot yourself in the foot". That sounds like a good universal to me :-) -- web. | Here and there I like to preserve a few islands of sanity | within the vast sea of absurdity which is my mind. member/ | After all, you can't survive as an eight foot tall dragon | flesh eating dragon if you've got no concept of reality.