W's take on the Universals
|Date:||Friday, September 15, 2000, 6:41|
> 1. In declarative sentences with nominal subject and object, the dominant
> is almost always one in which the subject precedes the object.
Check. Normal order is VEA (Ergative & absolutive), with a good deal of
freedom in relative placing of Erg and Abs.
> 2. In languages with prepositions, the genitive almost always follows the
> governing noun, while in languages with postpositions it almost always
Yes. Prepositional, noun-genetive.
> 3. Languages with dominant VSO order are always prepositional.
> 6. All languages with dominant VSO order have SVO as an alternative or as the
> only alternative basic order.
Nope. The only way the verb can be not initial is in certain idiomatic
expressions, and those are ones in which the object precedes the verb;
most of these involve the verb labí, to give.
> 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.
Yes and no. Yes/no questions are formed by a clitic -bu, always
following a word, usually the verb. But, W is VSO.
> 12. If a language has dominant order VSO in declarative sentences, it always
> puts interrogative words or phrases first in interrogative word questions; if
> it has dominant order SOV in declarative sentences, there is never such an
> invariant rule.
No. Question words are usually immediately after the verb, yet W is VSO
> 14. In conditional statements, the conditional clause precedes the conclusion
> as the normal order in all languages.
> 15. In expressions of volition and purpose, a subordinate verbal form always
> follows the main verb as the normal order
Yes, when it's expressed by two verbs, and not by incorporating the
subordinate verb into the main verb.
> 16. In languages with dominant order VSO, an inflected auxiliary always
> precedes the main verb
> 17. With overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, languages with dominant
> order VSO have the adjective after the noun.
Yes. All modifiers follow.
> 19. When the eneral rule is that the descriptive adjective follows, there may
> be a minority of adjectives which usually precede
There are no known adjectives that precede, but that's not a violation,
since it says "may".
> 20. When any or all of the items -- demonstratives, numeral, and descriptive
> adjective -- precede the noun, they are always found in that order. If they
> follow, the order is either the same or its exact opposite.
Yes. Order is noun demonstrative numeral adj.
> 21. If some or all adverbs follow the adjective they modify, then the language
> is one in which the qualifying adjective follows the noun and the verb
> its nominal object as the dominant order.
> 23. If in apposition the proper noun usually precedes the common noun, then
> language is one in which the governing noun precedes its dependent genitive.
I think that's a yes, but I'm not sure yet.
> 25. If the pronominal object follows the verb, so does the nominal object.
Yes, since *everything* follows the verb. :-)
> 28. If both the derivation and inflection follow the root, or they both
> the root, the derivation is always between the root and the inflection.
Yes. There are both prefixes and suffixes for each, so
> 29. If a language has inflection, it always has derivation.
Yes. (Are there any languages with NO derivation at all?)
> 30. If the verb has categories of person-number or if it has categories of
> gender, it always has tense-mode categories.
Yes. Has person and number, and a limited version of gender, and has
tense prefixes, and arguably modal suffixes.
> 31. If either the subject or object noun agrees with the verb in gender, then
> the adjective always agrees with the noun in gender.
The absolutive agrees with the verb in animacy, while the adjective
agrees with the noun in gender.
> 32. Whenever the verb agrees wih a nominal subject or nominal object in
> it also agrees in number.
> 34. No language has a trial number unless is has a dual. No language has a
> dual unless it has a plural.
Yes. W's pronouns and verbs have singular/dual/plural, with paucal for
> 35. There is no language in which the plural does not have some nonzero
Yes. Plural is indicated, synchronically, by either adding -i or by
shortening a long stem-final vowel and adding -ki, -yi, or -i depending
> whereas there are languages in which the singular is expressed
> only by zero.
Yes. Singular is zero.
> The dual and the trial are almost never expressed by zero.
Dual and paucal exist only for pronouns, where they can be seen to be
derived from the singular, but not in obvious manners.
> 36. If a language has the category of gender, it always has the category of
Yes. Seven genders, two numbers in nouns, 3 numbers is 2nd/3rd person,
and 4 in first.
> 37. A language never has more gender categories in nonsingular numbers that in
> the singular.
Equal number, seven for each.
> 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 intrasitive verbs.
Yes. Absolutive is marked by zero suffix.
> 39. Where morphemes of both number and case are present and both follow or
> precede the noun base, the expression of number almost always comes between
> 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.
Yes to the first, no to the second (except in the case of the very small
number of words like sutlaníi, which do not change for plural, but a
following adjective would agree in number.
> 42. All languages have pronominal categories involving at least three persons
> and two numbers.
3 numbers in 2nd and 3rd persons, 4 numbers in 1st. Third person is
divided into animate and inanimate.
> 43. If a language has gender distinctions in the noun, it has gender
> in the pronoun.
Yes, same distinctions.
> 45. If there are any gender distinctions in the plural of the pronoun, there
> are some gender distinctions in the singular also.
Yes, all of the genders are equally marked for all nouns.
Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos
God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb
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