Ideal in introductory courses dealing with grammatical structure and linguistic analysis, Introduction to Typology overviews the major grammatical categories and constructions in the world's languages. Framed in a typological perspective, the constant concern of this primary text is to underscore the similarities and differences which underlie the vast array of human languages.

Constituent Order Universals

Constituent order universals

A prominent area of study within typology deals with the order of elements in clauses and phrases. You have already been exposed to this type of work in the discussion on universals in earlier chapters. Many of Greenberg's (1966) universals, for instance, deal with the ordering of various constituents (1):

  • Greenberg's Universal 17: With overwhelmingly more than chance frequency, languages with dominant order VSO have the adjective after the noun.

In this chapter, we take a closer look at constituent order universals and some possible explanations for them.

Order of Clausal Constituents

In typological research, there has been particular interest in the relative ordering of subject (S), verb (V), and object (O). The most prevalent distribution of these three elements in a ...

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