Analysis Of Possible Systems Of Typological Classifications English Language Essay

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The word order typology (in the sentence) is one of the possible systems of typological classifications of the language, which is used within the linguistic typology. It is grounded on the basis order type, which has subject, verb and object (often regarded to as direct object) as a primary within the classification. There exists 6 possible types of the language:

SVO - Subject Verb Object

SOV - Subject Object Verb

VSO - Verb Subject Object

VOS - Verb Object Subject

OSV - Object Subject Verb

OVS - Object Verb Subject

This division is generally used as abbreviated and actually is often regarded to as language typology.

In the languages with the fixed word order in the sentence, there is not significant difficulty to signify the type of the language. But there should be noted that there exists a number of nuances. In some languages the verb could stand without auxiliary part and infinitive or participle, between which a subject or an object are placed. For example the German language: «Im Wald habe ich einen Fuchs gesehen», Dutch : «Hans vermoedde dat Jan Piet Marie zag leren zwemmen» and Welsh «Mae'r gwirio sillafu wedi'i gwblhau» the compound part of the verb are marked by the italics.

In this case, to signify the typology there are observed such types of sentences, where the verb is not separated on several parts (for example non-analytical tense of the verb is taken) or the language is clasasified according to the location of the auxiliary part. For example the German language is regarded to SVO/VSO language type (without Im Wald the subject is on the first place in the main sentence) and the Welsh language is defined as VSO language type.

Typological studies of SVO languages

German as well as Dutch are often Classified as the V2 languages, which have the verb always on the second place in the full sentence. Hence a number of languages have non-linear word order and that creates a certain problem within the classification. "Languages with no free or bound morphological marking of core arguments (here isolating languages) typically employ linear order for distinguishing who is doing what to whom. The linear order in such languages is typically SVO. A sample of roughly 300 languages, based on the WALS database and my own studies, contained 21 isolating languages. Of these 21 languages, 17 (81 %) had SVO word order and 4 (19%) had SOV order (multiple languages from the same genera were not counted). Thus, the proportion of isolating languages with SOV word order may be around as low as 1 % in the world's languages despite an overall preference for SOV. Notably, it also seems that isolating languages disallow V- and O-initial orders" (Kaius Sinnemaeki, 2006). We see how difficult and complicating is the studies of the language typology. Hence through a number of studies there have been developed a number of approaches to signify the language type. In the case of non-linear word order the frequency of different types usage is examined within the affirmative main sentence in the neutral context, the preferable type of speech is RP of elder age.

Using these criteria for the investigation we could number out the languages, which are signified as SVO. Among them we could mention English, Russian and Chinese, as SVO sentence type is the word order type, which is met very often (yet, there are possible a number of other variants within the text). The deviation from the standard word order is possible in the number of inflectional languages (such as Russian, Latin and Greek). Hence such type of the word order is generally supposed signifying either particular component of the sentence or special context. The poetry of these languages often requires changes in the word order according to the demands of the Rhyme. When in the signed circumstances there could not be observed the directly signed preferences, than the language is observed as the one that deals with the non-linear word order in its structure.

One more significant problem in this case is the fact that among the dead languages (Latin, Ancient Greek and the Church Slavonic languages) the linguists traditionally deal with the written issues, which are mainly written in poetic, artistic or archaic style, which is badly reflecting the norms of everyday life communicative practice. Sophocles and Cicero communicative language could significantly differ and we could observe this according to the written signs of their written heritage. It goes without saying that classification and typology in the contemporary facilities, when the languages are constantly changing is not an easy task. That is why investigative practice and researches of the different scientists could be quite controversial and contradictory. It goes without saying that there also exist a number of approaches to study the language typology and we observed just one of them

It is a well known fact that SVO is one of the most widely spread word order type in creolized languages, which could signify its "natural" existence in the human psychology. Some researches consider that its popularity is directly co0nnected with "physical metaphor". For example, when a thing is thrown attention I a natural way is moving from the thrower (Subject) to the track of flying object (Verb) and finally to the target (object). Hence the hypothesis is just set up, but has now scientific proves.

We could signify as SVO languages: English, Russian, Finnish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai Bulgarian and many others. This typology is widely spread within the Roman group languages, except the contructions where the role of object belongs to pronoun (a good example would be French expression Je t'aime).

All the Scandinavian languages are regarded to as SVO type languages; hence we could observe in the interrogative sentences the word order shift on the VSO type. In some languages (English language is the perfect example), in certain literary styles (for example in poetry) we could observe usage of the OSV word order type, which used alongside with SVO.

A number of languages have much more complicated situation than English language. For example in German and Dutch languages we could observe such a situation the SVO type in the main clause coexists with SOV in the subordinate clause (V2 word order). The English language has the same roots with these two languages and we still could observe the signs of such word order time. A good example would be the sentences, using locative inversion: "In the garden sat a cat" and the sentences using only "only then do we find X".

The language typology provided a number of significant discoveries in the field of linguistics. It turned out that pretty different languages could belong to the one type. As we have seen English and Chinese - both are perfectly developed and having one of the richest literary heritage in the world and written language are belonging to the one typology area SVO languages, as well as synthetic Russian language. It goes without saying that contradictory nature of these discoveries significantly influenced the science and the researches. It is generally considered that due the investigative practice the linguists of the past were in some parts disappointed in their discoveries and up to the middle of the 20th century the typology was in significant decay. But after that period typology passed through a rebirth and contemporary typology is dealing with the different schemes, but not with the separate elements of the language study

Zero marking language and SVO correlation

The Zero marking language is also one of the approaches to classify the languages and it correlates with SVO type: "A rather wide consensus that zero marking of languages tend to correlate with SVO word order" (Kaius Sinnemäki, 2009). From the very beginning I would like to reveal what we understand under the Zero Marking: "Zero marking = the absence of overt morphological marking of core arguments of the predicate. Core arguments = S, the more agent-like argument, and O, the more patient-like argument, of a two-place transitive predicate. Overt marking comes in many types:

Georgian (Kartvelian; Aronson 1991: 261)

(1) Bič'-ma c'ign-i da-mal-a.

boy-ERG book-NOM he-hid-it

'The boy hid the book'" (Kaius Sinnemäki, 2009).

It goes without saying that correlation of Zero marking structure and SVO language type is inevitable the existence of this structure is observed in many other languages and now this question is one of the most attractive for studies in European educational Institutions. Finnish investigator Kaius Sinnemäki made a number of hypothesis to reveal whether the SVO type correlate with Zero marking or not: "If there is universal pressure that favors the development and maintenance of zero marking in SVO languages and disfavors it in non-SVO languages, over time families that have a skewing to zero marking as well as SVO word order will have outnumbered those with non-SVO word order" (Kaius Sinnemäki, 2009). The result of his research reveled such a tendency that SVO languages observe the Zero marking more often that non-SVO languages does, hence the possibility of Zero marking developing in the non-SVO languages exists: "Non-SVO languages may develop zero marking but not maintain it for long, so that the whole group would develop a skewing to zero marking. Only one group that was skewed to zero marking had a non-SVO word order, the Gur language Supyire. Compare to an SVO language: Old Chinese was zero marking 3000 years ago and modern Mandarin still is" (Kaius Sinnemäki, 2009). The author himself makes a stress on the fact that the question still needs more thorough investigation, but there is a number of fact that prove the hypothesis. Collaboratively with the other researches Kaius Sinnemäki plans to proceed the studies in order to find more evident data for the typology formation.

OSV typology observation in comparison to SVO type. Usage of OSV typology in the languages, which are generally considered SVO

OSV is one of the language types, which is met quiet rarely and often regarded to as Object Agent Verb (OAV). One of the best examples of this language and word order types could be Southern American language Savant and other languages of the local Brazilian tribes, which dwelled there before the Conquistadors. We could also fin this type of the word order in the Southern Europe, for example in the Sardinian variant of the Italian language and Yiddish. The construction in the both languages is generally used to make a stress on the object and the structures of such type are sometimes used in the English language. Traditionally it is used in the Future tense or with the but conjunction, for example in the sentences: «To Rome I shall go!», «I hate oranges, but apples I'll eat!» and in the subordinate attributive sentences, where direct and indirect object is relative pronoun (a good example would be «What I do is my own business». The word order in American gesture language is also corresponding to the OAV type of classification. And one more illustration is subjunctive mood in the Chinese language is also using this structure: 那 橘 子 被 我 吃 掉 了 - could be translated as "An orange by me is eaten", where 橘 子 (orange) is an object, 我 (I) - is regarded in Chinese like a subject, 吃 (eat) - is regarded to as a verb predicate.

The linguists consider this language type to be quite often meet within some artificially created language, for example in Teonaht, and very often is chosen by the language inventors due the extraordinary and outstanding phonation. The changed version of this typology style is used by Master Yoda in the "Star Wars" movie and that makes the viewer understand at once that he is foreign-speaker.

Comparatively with SVO type we see how rarely is used OSV type, but the same time the peculiar counting makes it attractive for creation of unusual imagery in books and cinematography. As it was mentioned earlier we could also meet this typological style within the traditionally SVO regarded languages, which gives wide variety to the construction of these languages and characterize them as perfectly developed.


In the end I would like to make a stress on the fact that the recent studies revealed that the spread of SVO languages is observed right now, but the developmental process of the language study revealed that later it was not so widely spread: "The fact that SVO, now a common order in Europe and around the Mediterranean, was less common in the past: on the one hand, there were SOV languages like Latin and Etruscan in western Europe; on the other hand, there were many VSO languages in what is now the

Middle East represented both by Semitic languages and by Egyptian" (Dryer, 2005). It goes without saying that the development of contemporary SVO languages could later transform in some other type of language and it would be essential in the field of language study. That is why a number of contemporary linguists try to reveal the mechanism of historical development of the language to understand what could be the future perspective for the development of the languages. It goes without saying that they have only written material and this significantly prevents the development of the theoretical basis.