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Géarthnuns takes on Greenberg's Word Order Universals

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Friday, September 15, 2000, 1:52
From: "Marcus Smith"

> Here are Greenberg's Word Order Universals from his book Universals of > Language.
How well does Géarthnuns stand up? Let's check:
> 1. In declarative sentences with nominal subject and object, the dominant > order > is almost always one in which the subject precedes the object.
Yep. Géarthnuns is SOV. Chau teshers la chi sölsít glozh. the cat-nom present-aux the mouse-acc eat The cat eats the mouse.
> 2. In languages with prepositions, the genitive almost always follows the > governing noun, while in languages with postpositions it almost always > precedes.
Nope. Géarthnuns uses postpositions; the genitive also follows. The Géarthçins see postpositional phrases and genitives to be like adjectives, modifiers which follow the noun. chi gefröls Íöhansas the book-nom John-gen John's book
> 3. Languages with dominant VSO order are always prepositional.
> 4. With overwhelmingly greater than chance frequency, languages with
> SOV > order are postpositional.
Yep. Söb lé sü haileksüt síb fkö gdez. he-nom past-aux a ball-acc I-post at throw He threw a ball at me.
> 5. If a language had dominant SOV order and the genitive follows the
> noun, then the adjective likewise follows the noun.
This relates back to 2, but yep. chí gefröls Íöhansas chí gefröls zíauríl the book-nom John-gen the book-nom red-nom John's book the red book
> 6. All languages with dominant VSO order have SVO as an alternative or as
> only alternative basic order.
> 7. If in a language with dominant SOV order there is no alternative basic > order, or only OSV as the alternative, then all the adverbial modifiers of
> verb likewise precede the verb.
Yep. There is no alternative word order. Adverbs precede the verb. Sí la chauk teshersauch tha-u íaníl. I-nom pres-aux the-pl cat-acc/pl very like I like cats very much.
> 8. When a yes-no question is differentiated from the corresponding > assertion by > an intonational pattern, the distinctive intonational features of each of
> patterns is reckoned from the end of the sentence rather than the
beginning. Sort of yes? There's a question prefix, but the rest of the sentence stays intact, and intonation goes up at the end. Chau teshers la chí sölsít höglozh? / the cat-nom pres-aux the mouse-acc eat-interrogative Is the cat eating the mouse?
> 9. With well more than chance frequency, when question particles or
> are > specified in position by reference to the sentence as a whole, if initial, > such > elements are found in prepositional languages and, if final, in > postpositional.
Yes? The interrogative prefix is glommed onto the verb which is final and Géarthnuns is postpositional. Söb lé sü haileksüt síb fkö högdez? he-nom past-aux a ball-acc I-post at throw-interrogative Did he throw a ball at me?
> 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'?
> 11. Inversion of statement order so that verb precedes subject occurs only
> languages where the question word or phrase is normally initial. This
> inversion occurs in yes-no questions only if it also occurs in
> word questions.
Yep. No inversion occurs. Question words crop up in the same place whatever word they are replacing would. Öçek la vacher-ha hökadiz? you-nom pres-aux whither go-interr Where are you going? Sí la cha hensav kadiz. I-nom pres-aux the store-locative go I'm going to the store.
> 12. If a language has dominant order VSO in declarative sentences, it
> puts interrogative words or phrases first in interrogative word questions;
> it has dominant order SOV in declarative sentences, there is never such an > invariant rule.
Yep. See above.
> 13. If the nominal object always precedes the verb, then verb forms > subordinate > to the main verb also precede it.
Yep, if I understand. Sí lé chau teshersaut, chaur lé chí sölsít glozh sho, tel. I-nom past-aux the cat-acc, which-nom past-ux the mouse-acc eat SHO, see. I saw the cat which ate the mouse. Söb lé, vaçte söb lé sa éfübönginsat nadíatun sho, chízhin. he-nom pat-aux, because he-nom past-aux some black.pepper-acc inhale SHO, sneeze He sneezed because he inhaled some pepper. Note: "sho" marks the end of an imbedded subordinate clause.
> 14. In conditional statements, the conditional clause precedes the
> as the normal order in all languages.
Yep. Fenfe lí haukadiz, fí lí ífa-u hekadiz. you-nom/neg future-aux go-speculative, I-nom/neg fut-aux also go-conclusive If you won't/don't go, I won't go either.
> 15. In expressions of volition and purpose, a subordinate verbal form
> follows the main verb as the normal order except in those languages in
> the nominal object always precedes the verb.
Yes? Sí la, gü öçek lí haukadiz sho, üraf. I-nom pes-aux, that you-nom fut-aux go-speculative SHO, want I want you to go.
> 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.
Nope. Though Géarthnuns is verb final, the auxiliary hangs V2 position, consequently preceding. Sí la chízhin. I-nom pres-aux sneeze I'm sneezing. Chí söls lat chau teshersaun glozh. the mouse-nom pres/passive-aux the cat-intrumental eat The mouse is being eaten by the cat.
> 17. With overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, languages with
> order VSO have the adjective after the noun.
> 18. When the descriptive adjective precedes the noun, the demonstrative
> the > numeral, with overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, do likewise.
> 19. When the general rule is that the descriptive adjective follows, there
> be a minority of adjectives which usually precede, but when the general > rule is > that descriptive adjective precede, there are no exceptions.
> 20. When any or all of the items -- demonstratives, numeral, and
> adjective -- precede the noun, they are always found in that order. If
> follow, the order is either the same or its exact opposite.
Yes. chauk teshersaup dvaurhöraup touraup helkeraup the-pl cat-nom/pl brown-nom/pl three-nom/pl yon-nom/pl those three brown cats
> 21. If some or all adverbs follow the adjective they modify, then the
> is one in which the qualifying adjective follows the noun and the verb > precedes > its nominal object as the dominant order.
Yes, yes, no. Adverbs follow adjectives, adjectives follow nouns, but the object precedes the verb. Chau teshers lé chí sölsít gaterelít theu glozh. the cat-nom past-aux the mouse-acc big-acc very eat The cat ate the very big mouse.
> 22. If in comparisons of superiority the only order or one of the
> 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? Sí la Íöhansab íe ftomab íe nöi. I-nom pres-aux John-post than tall-nom comparative be I'm taller than John.
> 23. If in apposition the proper noun usually precedes the common noun,
> the > language is one in which the governing noun precedes its dependent
> With much more than chance frequency, if the common noun usually precedes
> proper noun, the dependent genitive precedes its governing noun.
Yes? Elizabeths, Öns cha Elizabeth-nom, Queen-nom the Queen Elizabeth Cha Öns Ingglandsarsaus the Queen-nom England-gen
> 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.
> 25. If the pronominal object follows the verb, so does the nominal object.
> 26. If a language has discontinuous affixes, it always either prefixing or > suffixing or both.
N/A? Discontinuous affixes?
> 27. If a language is exclusively suffixing, it is postpositional; if it is > exclusively prefixing, it is prepositional.
> 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.
Not quite sure I get 28 & 29. What is "derivation" here?
> 30. If the verb has categories of person-number or if it has categories of > gender, it always has tense-mode categories.
> 31. If either the subject or object noun agrees with the verb in gender,
> the adjective always agrees with the noun in gender.
> 32. Whenever the verb agrees with a nominal subject or nominal object in > gender, > it also agrees in number.
> 33. When number agreement between the noun and verb is suspended and the
> is based on order, the case is always one in which the verb is in the > singular.
> 34. No language has a trial number unless is has a dual. No language has
> dual unless it has a plural.
Yep. There is a singular, dual, plural, and defective septimal (has only nominative and accusative cases). sau laturs a star saul latursauzh two stars sauk latursaup stars saukh latursauth seven stars
> 35. There is no language in which the plural does not have some nonzero > allomorphs, whereas there are languages in which the singular is expressed > only > by zero. The dual and the trial are almost never expressed by zero.
Yep. Singular is zero; dual, plural, and septimal are marked.
> 36. If a language has the category of gender, it always has the category
> number.
Yes. Declensions are no longer based on gender, but they used to be, and that was when number came on the scene.
> 37. A language never has more gender categories in nonsingular numbers
that in
> the singular.
Okay, sure.
> 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 intransitive verbs.
Yep. Unmarked case is the nominative.
> 39. Where morphemes of both number and case are present and both follow or > both > precede the noun base, the expression of number almost always comes
> the > noun base and the expression of case.
> 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.
Yep. Adjectives agree with the noun they modify in declension, number, and case. chí gefröls zíauríl the red book (nominative sing.) chík gefrölsíp zíaurílíp the red books (nom. pl.) chík gefrölsích zíaurílích the red books (acc. pl) chauk teshersauch zíaurírauch the red cats (acc. pl.)
> 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. Oh yes.
> 42. All languages have pronominal categories involving at least three
> and two numbers.
> 43. If a language has gender distinctions in the noun, it has gender > categories > in the pronoun.
Modern Géarthnuns would call them declension distinctions rather than gender distinctions, but since that's where they originally came from, I guess this holds true. söb 1st declension pronoun saur 2nd declension pronoun söit 3rd declension pronoun san 4th declension pronoun sük 5th declension pronoun síl 6th declension pronoun seth 7th declension pronoun
> 44. If a language has gender distinctions in the first person, it always
> gender distinctions in the second or third or in both.
> 45. If there are any gender distinctions in the plural of the pronoun,
> are some gender distinctions in the singular also.
Yes, but again, these are now declension distinctions. rhöb 1st declension plural pronoun rhaur 2nd declension plural pronoun rhöit 3rd declension plural pronoun rhan 4th declension plural pronoun rhük 5th declension plural pronoun rhíl 6th declension plural pronoun rheth 7th declension plural pronoun carries on for dual and septimal as well, affirmative and negative forms.
Indeed. Kou