On 25 April 2018 at 15:23, Tim Smith <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I think Aidan has it right, but to say the same thing from a slightly
> different perspective:  I would say that there is a "flow" involved, but
> it's the flow of information from topic to comment, not the flow of action
> from subject to object.

> On 4/24/2018 10:08 PM, Aidan Aannestad wrote:
>> It seems to me almost entirely coincidental that SVO can be perceived as
>> a flow. I don't think the flow is at all what's going on underlyingly - I
>> think a sentence is intended, probably even in SVO languages, to be nothing
>> more than a statement of an action and its participants.
I recall reading a book by Bill Croft in the early 90s arguing that the
order of arguments within the clause reflects a billiard-ball model of
causation: A acts on B, which acts on C, which acts on D, yielding the
order A-B-C-D. Those better versed than me in typology should remember
which book I am recalling. I might be underremembering the subtlety of the
claim, and there may have been some key distinction between arguments that
'precede' the action, such as instrumental and comitative, and those that
'follow' the action, such as patient and goal. At any rate, it was a story
about a correlation between force dynamics and clause position.

> On 2018/04/24 20:32, Michael Martin wrote:
>>> I realize this is likely only my native-English-speaker's bias but SVO
>>> word
>>> order just makes the most logical sense to me. To my mind it exactly
>>> follows
>>> the actual flow of how things happen. The subject initiates the action,
>>> the
>>> action happens, and the object is effected by the action - SVO.
There might be some validity to the intuition. AIUI (and dimly recall), BSL
is normally "OSV" (i.e. PAV), but is "SVO" precisely when the object is
effected, so "a cake, Sophy saw" but "Sophy baked a cake". But effected
objects are very much the minority; some are merely affected, and some are
not even affected.

(All my recollections are subject to correction by any more reliable
information source, which would include anybody who has read the book in
question or who knows BSL.)