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Yes, the famous Joseph Greenberg, and other linguists, have pointed out just
such connections, which include hypotheses about the branching structures of
VO and OV languages (among other things).  I think Greenberg is responsible,
and I may be wrong, for the term "typology."  These hypotheses are not
without some dispute.  You might look at

 http://greenberg-conference.stanford.edu/Kemmer_Abstract.htm.

Or the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_H._Greenberg

and go on from there.

cheers,
Sally

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rob Haden" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2004 5:24 PM
Subject: THEORY: Connections Between Word-Order and Typology


> Hey everyone!
>
> I was wondering if anyone knows whether a relationship exists between
> word-
> order and basic typology in languages.  It seems to me that left-branching
> languages would tend to prefer ergative-absolutive, while right-branching
> languages would tend to prefer nominative-accusative.  That is, of course,
> if all other things are equal (which is never the case :P ).  I also think
> this relationship is due to the core argument that is closest to the
> verb -
> the object in left-branching languages and the subject in right-branching
> ones.  What do y'all think?
>
> - Rob
>