Pragmatics of Word Order Flexibility by Doris L. Payne

By Doris L. Payne

For a while the belief has been broadly held that for a majority of the world's languages, you possibly can establish a “basic” order of topic and item relative to the verb, and that once mixed with different evidence of the language, the “basic” order constitutes an invaluable approach of typologizing languages. New debate has arisen over various definitions of “basic”, with investigators encountering languages the place branding a specific order of grammatical family members as uncomplicated yielded no specific insightfulness. This paintings asserts that explanatory elements at the back of note order edition transcend the syntactic and are to be present in reports of ways the brain grammaticizes types, strategies info, and speech act idea issues of audio system' makes an attempt to get their hearers to construct one, instead of one other, psychological illustration of incoming info. therefore 3 domain names needs to be exceptional in realizing order edition: syntactic, cognitive and pragmatic. The works during this quantity discover quite a few points of this statement.

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Seems you. ' two weeks they. ' 40 MARIANNE MITHUN L-V where then you. all. will. go. ' Answers to alternative questions yield the same evidence. The constituent that provides the most important information, the one whose information answers the question, appears first. Cayuga S-V you. two. talked ? ' OV (70) tea ? coffee either you. ' Answers to yes-no questions provide the same evidence again. IS BASIC WORD ORDER UNIVERSAL? 41 Cayuga L-V (71) Q. boat ? ' A. there 'No. ' Poss-V (72) Q. you ? ' that dog yes I my.

At the second mention, in (22), it appears late, and is translated with a definite noun. In the passage below, the narrator is describing how Aborigines used to get yams and roast and peel them. When the yams are introduced, they are indefinite and appear early. When the skin first appears in the second line, it is identifiable from the preceding context, so it appears late. In the third line, it is identifiable from previous mention, so it appears late again. Ngandi (Heath 1978: 210-211) Indefinite V (37) buluki?

Do Cayuga, Ngandi, and Coos exhibit essentially 42 MARIANNE MITHUN the same type of ordering as a language like Czech, but backwards? If they do, and if it is assumed that a progression from theme to rheme is inherently more natural cognitively, are Cayuga, Ngandi, and Coos somehow less natural or logical? 2 The naturalness issue Themes, or topics, as noted earlier, have been variously defined as the elements carrying the lowest degree of communicative dynamism or oldest information, as the starting point of an utterance (Mathesius 1939), and as the focus of the speaker's empathy (Kuno 1976).

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