Re: Prefixes and typology
|From:||Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>|
|Date:||Monday, May 30, 2005, 2:20|
On 5/29/05, Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...> wrote:
> I may be wrong, but I think VOS languages are the most common of the OS
> type (although still pretty rare). OVS and OSV are rarer...
> Yup. It's still pretty rare, but if the studies so far are representative*, VOS probably greatly outnumbers the other two put together.
I'd estimate, oh, 100 VOS languages out there in the world, depending on how
one counts them. I'd be surprised if there are more than 30 or so OVS/OSV
languages total. (Incidentally, are there any of them outside the Amazon
You tend to find VSO and VOS in close genetic and areal proximity. (And
quite a few languages that are happily fluid between the two.) It seems
pretty common for languages to shift between them over time. My own guess is
that this is due to shifts in priority between the two constraints "Put the
subject before the object" and "Keep the verb phrase intact.".
Subjectively, VOS doesn't seem at all "weird" to me, the way OVS and OSV
feel. To me, there doesn't seem anything "counter-intuitive" to parsing
Malagasy or Tseltal. OVS and OSV feel strange to me.
*The largest study I've seen was about 1,000 languages, and maybe 25 of them
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