SOV, no case marking, relative clauses

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SOV, no case marking, relative clauses

Post by Davush » Sun 08 May 2016, 10:04


The language I am currently working on is SOV but shows some odd behaviour which is causing a few difficulties. It has no case marking, and generally strict SOV word order. It also has prepositions (rather than postpositions). It is strictly verb final, meaning prepositional phrases must appear somewhere before the verb.

Adjectives follow the head. Relative and complement clauses may optionally precede or follow the head using two different strategies.

Resumptive pronouns are used for more complex relative clauses such as those containing prepositions:

lu pya-haw rd-ujipan dyal čake uyo?
Q with-3P 2P-arrive-PAST REL man-DEF COP
Is he the man with whom you arrived? (The with-him you arrived REL man)

but this could alternative be:

lu haw čak-e dyal pya-haw rdu-ujip-an ndo uyo?
Q 3P man-DEF REL with-3P 2P-arrive-PAST ndo COP (The man REL with-him you arrived)

The relative particle dyal can't be attached to prepositions and either directly follows or precedes the relative clause, allowing both word orders. In the second case, the relative clause is 'closed' by the particle ndo.

I was wondering if this would be realistic at all, or is it too much? I have read SOV languages tend to show more case marking, but I can see this language being about to enter a transition stage, maybe towards a more SVO word order or perhaps it will gain case marking.

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Re: SOV, no case marking, relative clauses

Post by Curlyjimsam » Tue 10 May 2016, 17:31

It looks OK to me - though I'm rather sleepy and not processing things very well ...

SOV languages may tend to mark case, but SOV without case is by no means unattested, so I wouldn't worry about that.
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Re: SOV, no case marking, relative clauses

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 10 May 2016, 20:09

It is very unprobable that a language exactly follows a typological tendency. All languages have something odd.
Typological tendencies are created by diacronical processes. If the verb follows the object, a VP like an object follow can easily turn to a PP an object after. But there are plenty of sources for prepositions and the word order can change - it actually changes quite easily.
Head-final languages having more case marking, is (ratially) a matter of analyses. Clitics preceding the head is often analysed a prefix, while clitics following the head a often analysed case suffixes.

I son't see what you are describing odd, at all.
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