|From:||Jackson Moore <jacksonmoore@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, March 26, 2006, 20:30|
My questions for the moment concern variable word order, which seems
to be a fairly constrained mechanism for expressing grammatical
meaning. Its uses in English are apparently limited to voice and
mood, and idiosyncratically at that.
Are there any constructed languages that were designed to maximize or
systematize the portion of grammatical meaning expressed through the
variation of word order? How do analytic natural languages differ in
the way they permutate word order? Are there languages, constructed
or natural, in which it is used for purposes other than voice and mood?
It strikes me that perhaps the original coup of generativism wasn't
so much the conceptual framework but the theory of movement found in
'Syntactic Structures' - indeed, that the bravura of this achievement
is what lent force to Chomsky's polemics. But generative models do
lend an intuition of the range of syntactic permutation available, in
the sense that they render a series of potential landing sites for
syntactic constituents and features which trigger movement. One
could even tweak them so as to construct movement not found in any
natural language. It would only remain to translate such rules into
learner-friendly terms. Has anybody looked into this, or is there a
general sense that variable word order is unwieldy?