Head-directionality parameterwikipedia
In linguistics, the head directionality is a proposed parameter that classifies languages according to whether they are head-initial (the head of a phrase precedes its complements) or head-final (the head follows its complements).
head-finalhead-initialhead finalhead-firsthead-directionality parameterstacking order of modifying clauseshead directionalityhead-lasthead directionality parameterhead-initial or head-final

Principles and parameters

principles and parametersparameterPrinciples and parameters theory
In linguistics, the head directionality is a proposed parameter that classifies languages according to whether they are head-initial (the head of a phrase precedes its complements) or head-final (the head follows its complements).
Whether a language is head-initial or head-final is regarded as a parameter which is either on or off for particular languages (i.e. English is head-initial, whereas Japanese is head-final).

Branching (linguistics)

branchingleft-branchingright-branching
Head directionality is connected with the type of branching that predominates in a language: head-initial structures are right-branching, while head-final structures are left-branching.
The direction of branching reflects the position of heads in phrases, and in this regard, right-branching structures are head-initial, whereas left-branching structures are head-final.

Chinese grammar

ChineseChinese aspectsChinese aspect markers
For more details and examples of the relevant structures, see Chinese grammar.
Otherwise, Chinese is chiefly a head-last language, meaning that modifiers precede the words they modify – in a noun phrase, for example, the head noun comes last, and all modifiers, including relative clauses, come in front of it. (This phenomenon is more typically found in SOV languages like Turkish and Japanese.)

Adpositional phrase

prepositional phraseadpositional phraseprepositional phrases
Languages that are primarily head-initial such as English predominantly use prepositional phrases whereas head-final languages predominantly employ postpositional phrases.

Preposition and postposition

prepositionpostpositionprepositions
English adpositional phrases are also head-initial; that is, English has prepositions rather than postpositions:
Whether a language has primarily prepositions or postpositions is seen as an aspect of its typological classification, and tends to correlate with other properties related to head directionality.

Noun phrase

noun phrasenoun phrasesNP
In English, determiners, adjectives (and some adjective phrases) and noun modifiers precede the head noun, whereas the heavier units – phrases and clauses – generally follow it. This is part of a strong tendency in English to place heavier constituents to the right, making English more of a head-initial language.

Japanese grammar

Japanesegrammarparticles
Some have pointed out that in predominantly head-final languages such as Japanese and Basque, the change from an underlying head-initial form to a largely head-final surface form would involve complex and massive leftward movement, which is not in accordance with the ideal of grammatical simplicity.
Its phrases are exclusively head-final and compound sentences are exclusively left-branching.

Complementizer

complementizersubordinatorcomplementizer phrase
Nouns also tend to precede any complements, as in the following example, where the relative clause (or complementizer phrase) that follows the noun may be considered to be a complement:
Evidence that the complementizer functions as the head of its clause includes that it is commonly the last element in a clause in head-final languages like Korean or Japanese, in which other heads follow their complements, whereas it appears at the start of a clause in head-initial languages such as English, where heads normally precede their complements.

Head (linguistics)

headheadsheaded
In linguistics, the head directionality is a proposed parameter that classifies languages according to whether they are head-initial (the head of a phrase precedes its complements) or head-final (the head follows its complements).
Some language typologists classify language syntax according to a head directionality parameter in word order, that is, whether a phrase is head-initial (= right-branching) or head-final (= left-branching), assuming that it has a fixed word order at all.

Antisymmetry

antisymmetryantisymmetricKayne's theory of antisymmetry
According to the Antisymmetry theory proposed by Richard Kayne, there is no head-directionality parameter as such: it is claimed that at an underlying level, all languages are head-initial.
According to Kayne's Antisymmetry theory, there is no head-directionality parameter as such: it is claimed that at an underlying level, all languages are head-initial.

Lucien Tesnière

TesnièreLucien TesnièreLucien Tesnière#Centrifugal .centrifugal
The idea that syntactic structures reduce to binary relations was introduced by Lucien Tesnière within the framework of dependency theory, which was developed during the 1960s.
The modern terms for these concepts are head-initial (centrifugal) and head-final (centripetal).

Standard Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin Chinese
Standard Chinese (whose syntax is typical of Chinese varieties generally) features a mixture of head-final and head-initial structures.
Another major difference between the syntax of Chinese and languages like English lies in the stacking order of modifying clauses.

Tamil language

TamilTamil-languageta
Tamil is a consistently head-final language.

Malagasy language

MalagasymlgAntemoro
Within phrases, Malagasy order is typical of head-initial languages: Malagasy has prepositions rather than postpositions (ho an'ny zaza "for the child").

Vietnamese grammar

Vietnamese classifier
Vietnamese is head-initial, has a noun classifier system, is pro-drop (and pro copula-drop), wh-in-situ, and allows verb serialization.

Subject side parameter

SOV
In this respect, the subject-side parameter contrasts with the head-directionality parameter.

Standard Tibetan

TibetanTibetan languagelanguage
Grammatical constituents broadly have head-final word order:

Adyghe verbs

steady-state verbsconditional suffixpositional prefix
Verbs are typically head final and are conjugated for tense, person, number, etc. Some of Circassian verbs can be morphologically simple, some of them consist only of one morpheme, like: кӏо "go", штэ "take".

OV language

OVobject–verbobject–verb order
They are primarily left-branching, or head-final, with heads often found at the end of their phrases, with a resulting tendency to have the adjectives before nouns, to place adpositions after the noun phrases they govern (in other words, to use postpositions), to put relative clauses before their referents, and to place auxiliary verbs after the action verb.

Thai grammar

Thai
Also like other languages in the region, Thai syntax conforms to subject–verb–object word order, Standard Thai is head-initial (displaying modified-modifier ordering), while Capital Thai more closely Southern Min grammar, and has a noun classifier system.

Tundra Yukaghir language

Tundra YukaghirNorthernNorthern Yukaghir
Tundra Yukaghir has residual vowel harmony and a complex phonotactics of consonants, rich agglutinative morphology and is strictly head-final.

Valyrian languages

ValyrianHigh ValyrianHigh Valyrian language
As a highly inflected language, word order is flexible (a feature lost in derived languages), but sentences with relative clauses are head-final.

Southern Yukaghir language

Kolyma YukaghirYukaghir, SouthernSouthern Yukaghir
Kolyma Yukaghir has residual vowel harmony and a complex phonotactics of consonants, rich agglutinative morphology and is strictly head-final.