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Re: Greenberg's Word Order Universals

From:Carlos Thompson <carlos_thompson@...>
Date:Saturday, September 16, 2000, 15:31
Raymond Brown wrote:

> Yes, I'd basically go along with that. > > But Greenberg didn't say: "Some SOV do not allow either the S or the
O to
> occur after the V, but all known VSO languages do allow either the S
or the
> O to occur before the verb in certain circumstances." > > But he said, rather: > "All languages with dominant VSO order have SVO as an alternative or
as the
> only alternative basic order." > > This seems to imply that in VSO langs, if there is a departure from
VSO, it
> is most likely to be SVO. This IME is not the case in Welsh. The > departure from VSO occurs because, if there is a focus, it is put
> OVS is probably, therefore, more likely.
Well, if Welsh accept SVO as an alernative, then it fulfits the first premise in the disjunction, then Welsh is not a counter example. What it is said, and even if English is not my native lnaguage I feel confortable with this sentence, is that there is not any VSO language that doesn't accept SVO. The second premise means that if a VSO language has only one alternative basic order it, then it is SVO (what we mean as "alternative basic order" is prone to interpretation, I would understand unforced natural orders). Then, if SVO constructions in Welsh are rare (subject almost never get the focus), and when it happens speakers would understand but deem them ungramatical or affected, then the second premise would be false. -- Carlos Th