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Vortrag von Harald Hammarström am Dienstag, 28.04.2015 (16:00 Uhr - GB 3/159)

Dienstag, 21. April 2015. Aus der Kategorie 'Vortragsreihe'. Das Sprachwissenschaftliche Institut lädt ein zum Vortrag von

Harald Hammarström (MPI für Psycholinguistik, Nijmegen)

Universals and particulars of the basic constituent order in the languages of the world

One of the most celebrated themes of Linguistic Typology is the so-called basic constituent order in the transitive clause (SOV, SVO, VSO etc.), popularized by Greenberg (1966) with a sample of 30 languages. Since then studies covering an ever increasing array of languages have appeared (Tomlin 1986, Hawkins 1983, Haarmann 2004, Dryer 2005) and today we are able to present statistics for 5213 languages. (This number is maximal since there is insufficient published information on the remaining 2320 languages to ascertain the basic word order.) The pertinent question is whether the word order data give evidence for universal preferences of human language or whether they are simply the result of language family history and areal contact (Evans and Levinson 2009, Dunn et al. 2011). In this line, we will analyze the word order data as a combination of three factors universals (U), genealogical inheritance (G) and areal diffusion (A). Using data on language locations and genealogical relations of all the languages we can calculate the explanatory value for each of the three factors U/G/A. This analysis reveals a weak but persistent universal tendency towards verb finality and subject before object, in harmony with earler work (cf. Song 2012). Contra Dunn et al. (2011), the tendency is recurrent within language families.