ERIC Number: ED182983
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: N/A
Object Initial Languages. Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Volume 23.
Derbyshire, Desmond C.; Pullum, Geoffrey K.
Recently collected evidence shows the likely existence of twelve South American Indian languages with object-initial word order. This is contrary to what had been generally predicted in the literature on word order typology before 1977. Numerous examples are provided of OVS (Object-Verb-Subject) and OSV (Object-Subject-Verb) word order, primarily from the Carib languages. The constituents of these sentences and their positions are discussed in detail. In addressing the question of where these object-initial languages come from diachronically, it is suggested that a number of the OVS Carib languages represent breakaways from OVS languages of the area which exists today. This word order change is based on the grammaticalization of an older stylistic but frequently used option of subject postposing. The areal clustering of these languages is not due to either the genetic relatedness of the languages concerned or to contact between the languages; the languages discussed fall into five different families, and there is no evidence of contact between them. (PMJ)
Descriptors: American Indian Languages, Componential Analysis, Diachronic Linguistics, Language Research, Morphology (Languages), Nouns, Sentence Structure, Syntax, Verbs, Word Order
Summer Inst. of Linguistics, International Linguistic Center - Bookroom, 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236 ($3.00/volume).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Summer Inst. of Linguistics, Grand Forks, ND.