• Ling/Cog-F. Language Typology: Major Constituent Order

    (Asya Pereltsvaig, Santa Clara University)

    This seminar is available for all students. Recommended for students interested in linguistic typology and comparative syntax

    In this seminar, we’ll examine syntactic typology across the world’s languages, in particular in terms of major constituent orders. Topics include: OV vs. VO languages, Verb-initial (VSO and VOS) languages, Verb-Second, Object-initial languages (OVS and OSV) and Object fronting constructions (scrambling and object shift). We will consider a wide range of languages from around the world, focusing on contrasts between seemingly similar languages, for example, OV languages of the Germanic type and OV languages like Japanese or Turkish, or VSO languages like Irish and Welsh. While we will compare and evaluate specific and often opposing analyses of various word order facts, our ultimately goal will be to address the more general issues of the architecture of the grammar and the nature of cross-linguistic variation and typology.


    Day 1 – Introductions. The range of variation of major constituent orders. Syntactic background. Are all languages underlyingly the same?
    Day 2 – The OV/VO distinction. Are all OV languages the same: Germanic languages vs. Japanese/Turkish.
    Day 3 – VSO languages: Are all VSO languages the same?
    Day 4 – VOS languages and VOS orders in other languages.
    Day 5 – Verb-Second: Are all V2 languages the same? How do V2 languages relate to V-initial languages?
    Day 6 – Object Shift & Scrambling: Are all Object-fronting languages the same? What are the similarities and the differences between Object Shift and Scrambling?
    Day 7 – Different types of Scrambling in Russian and beyond: SOV, OSV and OVS in otherwise SVO languages.
    Day 8 – Modeling syntactic typology.