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 theO to
> occur after the V, but all known VSO languages do allow either the Sor 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 oras the
> only alternative basic order."
> This seems to imply that in VSO langs, if there is a departure fromVSO, 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 putfirst.
> 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