--- Isidora Zamora wrote:
> I had decided that a certain one of my languages would be OSV (it
> seemed reasonable to me), and then someone posted on the list not
> ago a breakdown of what percentage of languages had each of the basic

> word orders.  OSV was, to my surprise and dismay, right down at the
> bottom, with 0.1% of the world's languages having OSV word order.  So
> am rethinking my decision, since it would automatically make this
> language one in a thousand, which is pretty marked.  On the other
> perhaps I will just leave it marked and know that it is one in a
> thousand.  (Only problem here is that I already know that it's got a
> bunch of sister languages.  Are they all OSV or just this one?)
> Does anyone know anything about that 0.1% of natural languages with
> OSV word order?  According to those statistics, there can't be more
> than a handful of them in the entire world.  Do they all belong to
> same language family?  If not, then how did the peculiar word order
> arise?
>  What else is distinctive about them as a group?

First of all, I think very few if any OSV languages are well-studied.
The best-studied object-initial language is Hixkaryana, which is OVS.

Also, most or all object-initial languages are spoken in the Amazon
Basin (including Hixkaryana, which is in the Carib language family.),
in several different language families.  As far as I understand, none
of these language families have predominantly object-initial languages.

The book I have access to* has some suggestions as to how
object-initial order might arise, but I don't have the patience to read
and summarize them right now, especially as it probably deals mostly
with OVS order, not OSV order, which you're most interested in.  If you
want the info and don't have access to the book, I could extract some
information on request, but it may have to wait a week or two.

Hixkaryana also apparently breaks a number of universals, but who knows
how much is just Hixkaryana, and how much is because object-initial
languages weren't taken into account when the universals were

Don't know if this helps, but I hope it does.

*"Hixkaryana and Linguistic Typology", by Desmond C. Derbyshire (1985)

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