Re: THEORY: word-order
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Monday, December 27, 2004, 20:38|
On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 00:20:36 -0600,
"Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote:
> I'm not sure how one could objectively classify languages into
> "free" word-order languages, and "strict" word-order languages.
> Some otherwise very similar languages have very different attitudes
> towards branchedness and word-order. Turkish and Georgian, e.g., are
> both highly left-branching languages, and both have extensive case marking
> to identify NPs' roles, but Turkish is said to be very strictly SOV,
> while Georgian does sometimes, sometimes not.
This is true; the only way to tell whether the word order in a language
is free or not is to examine the corpus. Do different word orders
occur? And if yes, do they correlate with clause types? Etc.
> Phaleran tends more to be like Georgian in this respect; it's
> nonconfigurational, and can throw things around in really wild
> orders. (See my earlier post on binding and anaphora for some
Old Albic is much like Phaleran; it is also nonconfigurational.
The arguments within a clause can occur in any order; adjectives
can be moved away from their head noun because they agree with it
in gender, number and case; the same thing can be done with
possessors because of Suffixaufnahme; and even with relative
clauses because the relative particle agrees with its head.
An example sentence:
O ndero pecham terára
the.M-AGT man-AGT small-C-OBJ see-PRES-3SG:P-3SG:A
o bocara am henam.
REL.M-AGT flee-PRES-3SG:A the.C-OBJ child-OBJ
This is indeed evilly twisted, but it can only mean `The man who flees
looks at the small child' because _pecham_ agrees with _am henam_ and
_o bocara_ with _o ndero_.
However, most of these tricks occur chiefly in poetry and are rarely
used in "normal" texts. A sentence like the one given above would
strike any Old Albic native speaker as contrived, and he might have
some difficulty parsing it.
> C'ali, on the other hand, tends strongly to VSO order,
> with focused or topicalized NPs coming initially sometimes.
VSO order with topic fronting is also the rule in Old Albic, and
more so in its (yet mostly unexplored) modern descendants.