Typological Studies
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Typological Studies

Word Order and Relative Clauses

Guglielmo Cinque

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eBook - ePub

Typological Studies

Word Order and Relative Clauses

Guglielmo Cinque

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In this book, Cinque takes a generative perspective on typological questions relating to word order and to the syntax of relative clauses. In particular, Cinque looks at: the position of the Head vis à vis the relative clause in relation to the position of the verb vis à vis his object; a general cross-linguistic analysis of correlatives; the need to distinguish a sentence-grammar, from a discourse-grammar, type of non-restrictives (with languages differing as to whether they possess both, one, the other, or neither); a selective type of extraction from relative clauses; and a tentative sketch of a more ample work in progress on a unified analysis of externally headed, internally headed, and headless relative clauses.

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Information

Publisher
Routledge
Year
2014
ISBN
9781317691235
Edition
1
Part I
Word Order
1 Word Order Typology
A Change of Perspective*
1 INTRODUCTION
In much work stemming from Greenberg (1963), the order of the direct object with respect to the verb has been claimed to correlate (to varying degrees) with the relative order of many other pairs of elements, among which those in (1):
(1)
VO
OV
a.
P > DP (Prepositional Phrases)
DP > P (Postpositional Phrases)
b.
Aux > V
V > Aux
c.
copula > predicate
predicate > copula
d.
V > manner adverb
manner adverb > V
e.
(more) A (than) ‘Standard of Comparison’
‘Standard of Comparison’ (than) A (more)
f.
A > PP
PP > A
g.
V > complement/adjunct PP
adjunct/complement PP > V
Despite the feeling that we are confronting some great underlying ground-plan, to borrow one of Sapir’s (1949, 144) expressions, and despite the numerous attempts to uncover the principle(s) governing it,1 the concomitant demand of empirical accuracy with respect to actual languages has reduced all of the correlations proposed to the state of mere tendencies. In particular, with the increase of the number of languages studied, the neat mirror-image picture emerging from some of the works mentioned in note 1 has come to be drastically redressed.2
As shown in Dryer (1991, 1992a, 2007), virtually all bidirectional correlations, like those in (1), have exceptions. For example, the existence of OV languages with prepositions, and VO languages with postpositions (Dryer 1991, 448, and 452; 2007, 87f) is an exception to (1)a.3
Mande languages (Kastenholz 2003, Nikitina 2009) and some Chibchan languages (Ngäbére–Young and Givón 1990), with the order SAuxOVX, are an exception to (1)b, as is VSO Island Carib (Northern Maipuran—Heine 1993, 133, note 4) with inflected auxiliaries following the main verb.4 OV Ngäbére, with the copula preceding the predicate, is also an exception to (1)c, as is VO Wembawemba (Pama-Nyungan) with the copula following the predicate (Dryer 1992a, 94).
Angami, an OV Tibeto-Burman language, with manner adverbs following the V (Giridhar 1980, 85, cited in Dryer 2007, §2.2; Patnaik 1996, 72) is an exception to (1)d. Chinese (VO with Standard > Adjective) is an exception to (1)e. And so on.
Even the second type of correlations, unidirectional ones, like that in (2),5 are not exempt from exceptions. Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Bai (Sinitic), Amis (Formosan—Austronesian) (Dryer 2005a), and Asia Minor Greek (Campbell, Bubenik and Saxon 1988, 215), are VO and RelN.
(2) N(P) and Relative clause (Dryer 1992a, 86; Cinque 2005a)
a. VO ⊃ NRel
b. RelN ⊃ OV
Finally, other word order pairs have seemingly turned out to be no correlation pairs at all; for example, those in (3):
(3)
a.
Adjectives with respect to N (Dryer 1988a, 1992a, §3.1)
b.
Numerals with respect to N (Dryer 2007, §7.3)
c.
Demonstratives with respect to N (Dryer 1992a, §3.2, 2007, §7.2)
d.
Intensifiers with respect to Adjectives (Dryer 1992a, §3.3, 2007,§7.6; Patnaik 1996, 70)
e.
Negative particles with respect to Verbs (Dahl 1979, Dryer 1988b, 1992a, §3.4, 2007, §7.4; LaPolla 2002, 209)
f.
Tense/aspect particles with respect to Verbs (Dryer 1992a, §3.5, 2007, §7.5)
So, this viewpoint (which strives for absolute formulations that may capture the underlying ground-plan and avoid at the same time being falsified by actual languages) leads at best to the scarcely enlightening picture of the three cases just seen (nonexceptionless bidirectional correlations, nonexceptionless unidirectional correlations, and no correlations at all); in other words, to at most statistical tendencies (however important they may be).
2 A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE
We may wonder whether something would change if we reversed this perspective; not by asking what the predominant correlates of OV and VO orders in actual languages are, but by asking what precisely the harmonic word order types are that we can theoretically reconstruct, and to what extent each language (or subset of languages) departs from them.
This change of perspective entails viewing the “harmonic” orders as abstract and exceptionless, and independent of actual languages, though no less real6 (below I will suggest that these harmonic orders should not be regarded as primitives, but rather as derived from a universal structure of Merge reflecting the relative scope relations of the elements involved, via two distinct movement options, with actual languages departing to varying degrees from the “ideal” derivations).
This way of looking at things has a number of implications, some apparently undesirable (under its strongest interpretation):
(4)
a.
Every word order pair belongs to one or the other of the harmonic word order types. In other words, there are no noncorrelation pairs.
b.
Each correlation pair is related bidirectionally to every other correlation pair of its harmonic type (Dem N ⊃ DP P and DP P ⊃ Dem N. Dem N ⊃ V Aux and V Aux ⊃ Dem N, etc.). In other words, there are no merely unidirectional correlations.
c.
It should in principle be possible to measure the distance of a certain language (or group of languages) from one of the abstract harmonic types (how much it “leaks”, in another of Sapir’s expressions7), thus leading to a finer-grained typology than just VO and OV.8
d.
More interestingly, perhaps, such measuring should lead one to try and determine which correlation pairs are more stable and which more prone to be relaxed, possibly along a markedness scale, which in turn should correlate with the number of the languages belonging to that (sub)type (though it is not to be excluded that each language will ultimately represent a subtype of its own, of some higher order (sub)type).9
To take one illustrative example from the literature, Table 1, from Hawkins (1979, 645) (adapted from Mallinson and Blake 1981, 416), shows that there is a decline in the number of attested languages (in Hawkins’ sample) the more the language deviates from the word order type:10
SOV
Postposition
AN
GN
(consistent)
80 languages
SOV
Postposition
NA
GN
(one deviation)
50 languages
SOV
Postposition
NA
NG
(two deviations)
11 languages
Table 1
If we take this general perspective, then the first task should consist in determining precisely what the abstract harmonic orders are.
3 THE TWO ABSTRACT HARMONIC ORDERS
A complete reconstruction of the two abstract harmonic orders is out of the question here. I will present a fragment of these orders merely to illustrate the logic of the approach. The harmonic orders can to a large extent be gathered from the correlations pairs attributed in the literature to OV and VO languages (in the Appendix, I ...

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