In linguistics, word order typology refers to the study of the order of the syntactic constituents of a language, and how different languages can employ different orders. Correlations between orders found in different syntactic subdomains are also of interest. The primary word orders that are of interest are the constituent order of a clause – the relative order of subject, object, and verb; the order of modifiers (adjectives, numerals, demonstratives, possessives, and adjuncts) in a noun phrase; and the order of adverbials.
Some languages have relatively restrictive word orders, often relying on the order of constituents to convey important grammatical information. Others, often those that convey grammatical information through inflection, allow more flexibility which can be used to encode pragmatic information such as topicalisation or focus. Most languages however have some preferred word order which is used most frequently.
For most nominative–accusative languages which have a major word class of nouns and clauses which include subject and object, constituent word order is commonly defined in terms of the finite verb (V) and its arguments, the subject (S) and object (O).
There are six theoretically possible basic word orders for the transitive sentence: subject–verb–object (SVO), subject–object–verb (SOV), verb–subject–object (VSO), verb–object–subject (VOS), object–subject–verb (OSV) and object–verb–subject (OVS). The overwhelming majority of the world's languages are either SVO or SOV, with a much smaller but still significant portion using VSO word order. The remaining three arrangements are exceptionally rare, with VOS being slightly more common than OSV, and OVS being significantly more rare than the two preceding orders.
Famous quotes containing the words word and/or order:
“The hood-winked husband shows his anger, and the word jealous is flung in his face. Jealous husband equals betrayed husband. And there are women who look upon jealousy as synonymous with impotence, so that the betrayed husband can only shut his eyes, powerless in the face of such accusations.”
—J. August Strindberg (18491912)
“Woman ... cannot be content with health and agility: she must make exorbitant efforts to appear something that never could exist without a diligent perversion of nature. Is it too much to ask that women be spared the daily struggle for superhuman beauty in order to offer it to the caresses of a subhumanly ugly mate?”
—Germaine Greer (b. 1939)