Word Order Tendencies

A forum for guides, lessons and sharing of useful information.
User avatar
eldin raigmore
fire
fire
Posts: 6260
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 18:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: Word Order Tendencies

Post by eldin raigmore » 10 Oct 2011 18:18

xingoxa wrote:There seems to be some kind of relationship between word order and the prevalence of ergativity.

Verb-final SOV languages are quite often ergative.
Verb-initial VSO languages are sometimes ergative.
Verb-medial SVO languages are rarely (perhaps some would claim never) ergative.

For some reason.
Is that true? ( edit ): WALS.info seems to back it up, so I guess it is. ( / edit )

I checked WALS.info.

The Word-Order features having to do with Verbs are 81, 82, 83, and 84.

The Alignment features are 98, 99, and 100.

In http://wals.info/feature/combined/98A/81A,
150 languages have both features recorded;
78 (52%) are verb-final, 52 (35%) are verb-medial, and 20 (13%) are verb-initial;
20 (13%) are ergative, and 130 (87%) are non-ergative.

Out of the 78 verb-final languages, 16 (21%) are ergative.
Out of the 52 verb-medial languages, 1 (2%) is ergative.
Out of the 20 verb-initial languages, 3 (15%) are ergative.

Out of the 20 ergative languages, 16 (80%) are verb-final, 3 (15%) are verb-initial, and 1 (5%) is verb-medial.
Out of the 130 non-ergative languages, 62 (48%) are verb-final, 51 (39%) are verb-medial, and 17 (13%) are verb-initial.

You'd have to do a chi-square test to see whether the correlation "verb-medial means non-ergative" is statistically significant.

Or to decide whether the statistical correlation between verb-final and ergative is statistically significant.

If word-order and morphosyntactic alignment were statistically independent
you would expect to see 2% of the languages be verb-initial and ergative, just as you do,
and expect to see 11% of them be verb-initial and non-ergative, as compared with the 12% that are.

But you'd expect to see 5% be verb-medial and ergative, instead of the 1% that is;
you'd expect to see 7% be verb-final and ergative, instead of the 11% that are;
you'd expect to see 30% be verb-medial and non-ergative, instead of the 34% that are;
and you'd expect to see 45% be verb-initial and non-ergative, instead of the 41% that are.

Is that significant?

So; why is it that verb-medial languages tend not to be ergative and ergative languages tend not to be verb-medial?

_______________________________________________________________________________

http://wals.info/feature/combined/99A/81A and http://wals.info/feature/combined/100A/81A show just about the same correlation, ANAICT.

http://wals.info/feature/combined/98A/82A, http://wals.info/feature/combined/99A/82A, and http://wals.info/feature/combined/100A/82A don't show any immediately-obvious-to-me correlation between alignment and the "SV or VS" feature.

But http://wals.info/feature/combined/98A/83A and http://wals.info/feature/combined/99A/83A seem to show that OV languages outnumber VO languages about 5 to 1 among ergative languages, while there're almost as meany VO languages as OV languages among all alignments taken together.

http://wals.info/feature/combined/100A/83A, http://wals.info/feature/combined/98A/84A, http://wals.info/feature/combined/99A/84A, and http://wals.info/feature/combined/100A/84A, probably shed less light on the subject; or if they shed light on it I don't see it yet.

User avatar
Xing
MVP
MVP
Posts: 5311
Joined: 22 Aug 2010 17:46

Re: Word Order Tendencies

Post by Xing » 23 Dec 2011 22:47

eldin raigmore wrote:
So; why is it that verb-medial languages tend not to be ergative and ergative languages tend not to be verb-medial?
Don't know. Here is an attempt to explain this tendency within a minimalist framework: Excluding SVO in Ergative Languages: A New View on Mahajan’s Generalisation

User avatar
CarsonDaConlanger
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 170
Joined: 02 Nov 2017 20:55

Re: Word Order Tendencies

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 05 Dec 2018 01:30

What about the placement of adjectives-adverbs? I.E very tall.

User avatar
eldin raigmore
fire
fire
Posts: 6260
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 18:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: Word Order Tendencies

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Dec 2018 03:17

CarsonDaConlanger wrote:
05 Dec 2018 01:30
What about the placement of adjectives-adverbs? I.E very tall.
https://wals.info/chapter/91, “Order of Degree Word and Adjective”

Here are Feature 91A interacting with each alignment feature:

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_98A#2/19.7/154.7

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_99A#2/19.7/154.7

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_100A#2/19.7/151.7

Can you do the math yourself?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________


Features involving order and adjectives are:
Feature 87A: Order of Adjective and Noun
Feature 91A: Order of Degree Word and Adjective
Feature 97A: Relationship between the Order of Object and Verb and the Order of Adjective and Noun

There are other WALS.info features concerning adjectives (but not order), and other features concerning order (but not adjectives).

User avatar
CarsonDaConlanger
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 170
Joined: 02 Nov 2017 20:55

Re: Word Order Tendencies

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 05 Dec 2018 16:06

eldin raigmore wrote:
05 Dec 2018 03:17
https://wals.info/chapter/91, “Order of Degree Word and Adjective”

Here are Feature 91A interacting with each alignment feature:

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_98A#2/19.7/154.7

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_99A#2/19.7/154.7

https://wals.info/combinations/91A_100A#2/19.7/151.7

Can you do the math yourself?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thanks!

Post Reply