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Telek tackles Greenberg's Word Order Universals

From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Friday, September 15, 2000, 5:32
Well, since I seem to have started this, I might as well contribute. :-)  I've
deleted all the N/A ones to make the list shorter.

At 9/13/00 08:20 PM -0700, you wrote:
>Here are Greenberg's Word Order Universals from his book Universals of >Language. > >1. In declarative sentences with nominal subject and object, the dominant >order >is almost always one in which the subject precedes the object.
>2. In languages with prepositions, the genitive almost always follows the >governing noun, while in languages with postpositions it almost always >precedes.
Sort of yes. No adpositions except perhaps the three that mark case (similar to -ga and -(w)o of Japanese). They are enclitics though, since they are monosyllabic and therefore cannot be stressed. Possessor precedes the possessed, but the possessed is what gets marked. wanada-al ke-wifaana deer-NOM AsA-run (AsA = animate, singular, agent). A deer is running.
>4. With overwhelmingly greater than chance frequency, languages with normal >SOV >order are postpositional.
Sort of (see #2)
>8. When a yes-no question is differentiated from the corresponding >assertion by >an intonational pattern, the distinctive intonational features of each of the >patterns is reckoned from the end of the sentence rather than the beginning.
>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.
Yes. Interrogative morphemes are always the last element in a question word. me-lu-miina-l-wa-ky 2sA-1sP-smile-CAUSE-POT-Q Can you make me smile? uuni-ky m-as-lesa. person-Q 2sA-AsP-see Who do you see?
>12. If a language has dominant order VSO in declarative sentences, it always >puts interrogative words or phrases first in interrogative word questions; if >it has dominant order SOV in declarative sentences, there is never such an >invariant rule.
>14. In conditional statements, the conditional clause precedes the conclusion >as the normal order in all languages.
>15. In expressions of volition and purpose, a subordinate verbal form always >follows the main verb as the normal order except in those languages in which >the nominal object always precedes the verb.
No. Subordinate verbal forms always precede the verb, but nominal objects may follow the verb.
>16. In languages with dominant order VSO, an inflected auxiliary always >precedes the main verb. In language with dominant order SOV, an inflected >auxiliary always follows the main verb.
>19. When the eneral rule is that the descriptive adjective follows, there may >be a minority of adjectives which usually precede, but when the general >rule is >that descriptive adjective precede, there are no exceptions.
All adjectives follow the noun. This is because adjectives in Telek are verbs, so noun-adjective phrases are a type of reduced relative clause.
>20. When any or all of the items -- demonstratives, numeral, and descriptive >adjective -- precede the noun, they are always found in that order. If they >follow, the order is either the same or its exact opposite.
>22. If in comparisons of superiority the only order or one of the alternative >orders is standard-marker-adjective, then the language is postpositional. >With >overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, if the only order is >adjective-marker-standard, the language is prepositional.
Yes (assuming case markers are postpositional).
>24. If the relative expression precedes the noun either as the only >construction or as an alternative construction, either the language is >postpositional or the adjective precedes the noun or both.
Relative clauses are internally headed, so it would be hard to say if the relative expression actually precedes the noun on occassions, or if the noun is just scrambled inside the clause. In any case, it is postpositional, but adjectives follow the noun.
>25. If the pronominal object follows the verb, so does the nominal object.
As an alternative order, yes.
>28. If both the derivation and inflection follow the root, or they both >precede >the root, the derivation is always between the root and the inflection.
>29. If a language has inflection, it always has derivation.
>30. If the verb has categories of person-number or if it has categories of >gender, it always has tense-mode categories.
No. Telek has mode, but not tense. It uses aspect instead.
>31. If either the subject or object noun agrees with the verb in gender, then >the adjective always agrees with the noun in gender.
Yes, but because adjectives are verbs, so it's a vacuous statement.
>32. Whenever the verb agrees wih a nominal subject or nominal object in >gender, >it also agrees in number.
Yes, though there is no number distinction in for inanimates.
>36. If a language has the category of gender, it always has the category of >number.
Yes, but number only exists in verbal agreement. Gender can also be distinguished on the noun by the possibility of adding a diminutive or augmentive suffix.
>37. A language never has more gender categories in nonsingular numbers
that in
>the singular.
>38. Where there is a case system, the only case which ever has only zero >allomorphs is the one which includes among its meanings that of the
subject of
>the intrasitive verbs.
No. Subjects are always marked nominative, but some objects are not marked at all.
>40. When the adjective follows the noun, the adjective expresses all the >inflectional categories of the noun. In such cases the noun may lack overt >expression of one or all of these categories.
Yes. And the noun lacks all of those categories -- but they do even when not modified by an adjective, so no surprise there.
>41. If in a language the verb follows both the nominal subject and nominal >object as the dominant order, the language almost always has a case system.
>42. All languages have pronominal categories involving at least three persons >and two numbers.
>43. If a language has gender distinctions in the noun, it has gender >categories >in the pronoun.
>45. If there are any gender distinctions in the plural of the pronoun, there >are some gender distinctions in the singular also.
Yes. =============================== Marcus Smith AIM: Anaakoot "When you lose a language, it's like dropping a bomb on a museum." -- Kenneth Hale ===============================