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Word order typology (was: Skälansk - History and Babel text)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, December 10, 2004, 18:17
On Thursday, December 9, 2004, at 10:55 , Pascal A. Kramm wrote:

> On Wed, 8 Dec 2004 20:08:49 +0000, Keith Gaughan <kmgaughan@...> > wrote: > >> Ray Brown wrote: >> >> The joy of the archives: >> >> >> &P=5853 > > Pretty much what I had in mind. At only 9% for VSO, a "rare" is well > deserved here.
I want to move away from Skälansk - Pascal has explained why the creators of the language might not have been aware of SVO languages - to the actual figures. The order of popularity of different word orders is not surprising, but I am suspicious about the low percentage actually given to VSO occurrences. Certainly it seems too low for the Mediterranean and European area as recent mails have shown. But is it really so much rarer in sub-Saharan Africa, in non-Semitic Asia, in Oceana & the Americas? Is it not found among native american languages? Also as someone - I apologize for forgetting the name - asked recently, how do ergative languages fit into this? These percentages all seem to be due to Greenberg's findings in the 1960s. I believe Greenberg classified Basque as SOV equating the absolutuive case with 'subject'. Is the (a) correct, and (b) if correct, is it valid? I suppose one reason that VSO does not rare to me is that I've been familiar with one for some 40 years. Has, indeed, more work been done on this since Greenberg's? Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]