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Géarthnuns takes on Greenberg's Word Order Universa ls

From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Friday, September 15, 2000, 4:47

>> > > 10. Question particles or affixes, specified in position by reference >to a >> > > particular word in the sentence, almost always follow that word. Such >> > > particles do not occur in languages with dominant order VSO. >> > >> > I not quite sure I understand this one, but based on 9, I guess the >answer >> > would be 'no'? >> >> I think it would be "N/A" or "yes". The universals says that if the >> interrogative particle must occur next to a specific word/category, it >> will almost always follow it. > >But if my interrogative 'particle' must occur next to a verb, and it's a >prefix, doesn't that make it 'no'? (N/A may well be the easier answer :) ) >Or is "particle" the linchpin word?
Was it a prefix? I must have misread your gloss. I deleted your old message, so I can't look at the example again. If the negative marker is a prefix and not a separate word, then this universal does not apply. If it is a separate word, then it's a "no".
>> > > 26. If a language has discontinuous affixes, it always either >prefixing or >> > > suffixing or both. >> > >> > N/A? Discontinuous affixes? >> >> Discontinuous affixes are affixes that appear in two separate locations. >> For example, if the past tense were expressed by ke-ta, a past tense verb >> would be ke-bal-ta. > >Well then this seems obvious, but I still don't think I'm getting it. If a >language has affixes that go before or after the verb, they will either go >in front of the verb, after the verb, or both? Duh!?! What's the point of >this universal?
Well, you're forgetting infixes. :-)
>> Derivational morpheme. > >Perhaps an example would help me out here... > >For example, if English had an accusative case mark by -a, "electric" going >to a noun becomes "electricity" which in the accusative becomes >"electricity-a" and not "electric-a-ity? Not getting it.
You're example is right on: derivational morphemes always occur closer to the stem than the inflectional morphemes. Thus, we have "electricities" rather than "electricsity". I find this a very significant universal from a theoretical standpoint: it means that whatever mechanism puts words together recognizes the difference between derivational and inflectional morphemes and can treat them accordingly. If all words were just memorized with all their derivations/inflections intact (rather than being assembled), then we would expect to find morphemes in various orders in some languages. =============================== Marcus Smith AIM: Anaakoot "When you lose a language, it's like dropping a bomb on a museum." -- Kenneth Hale ===============================