Word order

free word orderconstituent orderword-orderadjective-nounflexible word orderfollowfree-word-order languagesinvertedmuch freerorder
In linguistics, word order typology is the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders.wikipedia
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Syntax

syntacticsyntacticalsyntactically
Correlations between orders found in different syntactic sub-domains are also of interest. Many synthetic languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Assyrian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, and Basque have no strict word order; rather, the sentence structure is highly flexible and reflects the pragmatics of the utterance. Language Universals and Linguistic Typology: Syntax and Morphology – Bernard Comrie (1981) – this is the authoritative introduction to word order and related subjects.
In linguistics, syntax is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences (sentence structure) in a given language, usually including word order.

Nominative–accusative language

nominative–accusativenominative-accusativeaccusative
Most nominative–accusative languages—which have a major word class of nouns and clauses that include subject and object—define constituent word order in terms of the finite verb (V) and its arguments, the subject (S), and object (O).
Nominative–accusative languages, or nominative languages have a form of morphosyntactic alignment in which subjects of transitive and intransitive verbs are distinguished from objects of transitive verbs by word order, case-marking, and/or verb agreement.

Verb–subject–object

VSOverb-subject-objectVERB – SUBJECT – OBJECT
The overwhelming majority of the world's languages are either subject–verb–object (SVO) or subject–object–verb (SOV), with a much smaller but still significant portion using verb–subject–object (VSO) word order. VSO languages include Classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, the Insular Celtic languages, and Hawaiian. "Ate she bread" is grammatically correct in these languages.
VSO is the third-most common word order among the world's languages, after SOV (as in Hindi and Japanese) and SVO (as in English and Mandarin).

Object–verb–subject

OVSobject-verb-subjectobject-initial language
The remaining three arrangements are exceptionally rare, with verb–object–subject (VOS) being slightly more common than object–verb–subject (OVS), and object–subject–verb (OSV) being the rarest by a significant margin.
In linguistic typology, object–verb–subject (OVS) or object–verb–agent (OVA) is a rare permutation of word order.

V2 word order

verb-secondV2verb-second (V2) word order
Sometimes patterns are more complex: German, Dutch, Afrikaans and Frisian have SOV in subordinates, but V2 word order in main clauses, SVO word order being the most common.
V2 word order is common in the Germanic languages and is also found in Indo-Aryan Kashmiri, Northeast Caucasian Ingush, Uto-Aztecan O'odham, and fragmentarily in Rhaeto-Romansh Sursilvan.

Synthetic language

syntheticsyntheticallysynthesis
Many synthetic languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Assyrian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, and Basque have no strict word order; rather, the sentence structure is highly flexible and reflects the pragmatics of the utterance.
In analytic languages there is a lower morpheme-to-word ratio, and an increased dependence on both separate helping words and word order.

Assyrian Neo-Aramaic

AssyrianaiiAramaic
Many synthetic languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Assyrian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, and Basque have no strict word order; rather, the sentence structure is highly flexible and reflects the pragmatics of the utterance.
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is a moderately-inflected, fusional language with a two-gender noun system and rather flexible word order.

Topic-prominent language

topic-prominentTopic-Commenttopic
Topic-prominent languages organize sentences to emphasize their topic–comment structure.
Topic–comment structure may be independent of the syntactic ordering of subject, verb and object.

English language

EnglishEnglish-languageen
SVO languages include English, the Romance languages, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, the Chinese languages and Swahili, among others. "She ate bread."
Modern English relies more on auxiliary verbs and word order for the expression of complex tenses, aspect and mood, as well as passive constructions, interrogatives and some negation.

Ergative–absolutive language

ergativeergative–absolutiveergativity
However, they are ergative–absolutive languages, and the more specific word order is intransitive VS, transitive VOA, where S and O arguments both trigger the same type of agreement on the verb.
An ergative language maintains a syntactic or morphological equivalence (such as the same word order or grammatical case) for the object of a transitive verb and the single core argument of an intransitive verb, while treating the agent of a transitive verb differently.

Verb–object–subject

VOSverb-object-subjectverb–object–subject (VOS)
The remaining three arrangements are exceptionally rare, with verb–object–subject (VOS) being slightly more common than object–verb–subject (OVS), and object–subject–verb (OSV) being the rarest by a significant margin. VOS languages include Fijian and Malagasy. "Ate bread she."
VOS occurs in many languages, including Austronesian languages (such as Malagasy, Old Javanese, Toba Batak, Dusun and Fijian), Mayan languages (such as Tzotzil) and even Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, as it has a very free word order with inversions.

Warao language

WaraoWarrauWaroid
OSV languages include Xavante and Warao. "Bread she ate."
It is notable for its unusual object–subject–verb word order.

Korean language

KoreanKorean-languageKorea
Many synthetic languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Assyrian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, and Basque have no strict word order; rather, the sentence structure is highly flexible and reflects the pragmatics of the utterance. SOV is the order used by the largest number of distinct languages; languages using it include Korean, Mongolian, Turkish, the Indo-Aryan languages and the Dravidian languages. Some, like Persian, Latin and Quechua, have SOV normal word order but conform less to the general tendencies of other such languages. A sentence glossing as "She bread ate" would be grammatically correct in these languages.
The basic form of a Korean sentence is subject–object–verb, but the verb is the only required and immovable element and word order is highly flexible, as in many other agglutinative languages.

Latin

Lat.Latin languagelat
Many synthetic languages such as Latin, Greek, Persian, Romanian, Assyrian, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese, Finnish, and Basque have no strict word order; rather, the sentence structure is highly flexible and reflects the pragmatics of the utterance. SOV is the order used by the largest number of distinct languages; languages using it include Korean, Mongolian, Turkish, the Indo-Aryan languages and the Dravidian languages. Some, like Persian, Latin and Quechua, have SOV normal word order but conform less to the general tendencies of other such languages. A sentence glossing as "She bread ate" would be grammatically correct in these languages. Most languages with a high degree of morphological marking have rather flexible word orders, such as Turkish, Tamil, Latin, Portuguese, Ancient and Modern Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Serbo-Croatian, Russian (in intransitive clauses), and Finnish.
Thus, word order is not as important in Latin as it is in English, which is less inflected.

Grammatical case

casecasescase marking
Another method is to label the constituents in some way, for example with case marking, agreement, or another marker.
Languages having cases often exhibit free word order, as thematic roles are not required to be marked by position in the sentence.

Interrogative

interrogative sentenceinterrogative moodQuestions
However, most languages are generally assumed to have a basic word order, called the unmarked word order; other, marked word orders can then be used to emphasize a sentence element, to indicate modality (such as an interrogative modality), or for other purposes.
Different languages have various ways of forming questions, such as word order or the insertion of interrogative particles.

Anastrophe

Anastrophe, change in word order
Anastrophe (from the ἀναστροφή, anastrophē, "a turning back or about") is a figure of speech in which the normal word order of the subject, the verb, and the object is changed.

Insular Celtic languages

Insular CelticInsular Celtic languageCeltic
VSO languages include Classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, the Insular Celtic languages, and Hawaiian. "Ate she bread" is grammatically correct in these languages.
These similarities include verb–subject–object word order, singular verbs with plural post-verbal subjects, a genitive construction similar to construct state, prepositions with fused inflected pronouns ("conjugated prepositions"), and oblique relatives with pronoun copies.

Information flow

flow of informationestablished in the conversationflow
Information flow
word order (topic, focus, and afterthought constructions).

Grammatical modifier

modifiermodifiersqualifier
Within the noun phrase, one investigates whether the following modifiers occur before or after the head noun.
This type of situation is especially likely in languages with free word order.

Malagasy language

MalagasyBetsimisarakamlg
VOS languages include Fijian and Malagasy. "Ate bread she."
Malagasy has a verb–object–subject (VOS) word order:

Datooga language

DatoogaDatogTatoga
Also, some languages with free word order, such as some varieties of Datooga, combine free word order with a lack of morphological distinction between arguments.
Some varieties of Datooga have a verb-initial word order, but the relative order of subject and object reflects pragmatic concerns.

Morphology (linguistics)

morphologymorphologicalmorphologically
Language Universals and Linguistic Typology: Syntax and Morphology – Bernard Comrie (1981) – this is the authoritative introduction to word order and related subjects.
By contrast, Classical Chinese has very little morphology, using almost exclusively unbound morphemes ("free" morphemes) and depending on word order to convey meaning.

Hungarian language

HungarianMagyarHungarian-language
Most languages with a high degree of morphological marking have rather flexible word orders, such as Turkish, Tamil, Latin, Portuguese, Ancient and Modern Greek, Romanian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Serbo-Croatian, Russian (in intransitive clauses), and Finnish.
However, Hungarian, a topic-prominent language, has a word order that depends not only on syntax but also on the topic-comment structure of the sentence (for example, what aspect is assumed to be known and what is emphasized).

Linguistics

linguistlinguisticlinguists
In linguistics, word order typology is the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders.