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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.  Sentences tend to have a topic-comment 
structure, where the topic is what you're talking about and the comment 
is what you're saying about the topic, so the most "natural" order is 
topic-first.  Of the various constituents that make up the sentence, the 
subject is the most likely to be the topic. Therefore, if constituent 
order becomes fixed (as, for example, by the loss of case endings in 
English), the most likely order to become mandatory is SVO.  (At first 
glance, you'd think that SOV would be equally likely, because it also 
puts the subject first. The problem with that is that, if you're really 
relying on constituent order alone to distinguish subject from object, 
as in English, SOV is potentially ambiguous (as is VSO), because if one 
or the other is omitted, you can't tell which one it is.  With SVO, if 
there's only one overtly expressed core argument, you know that it's the 
subject if it's before the verb, and that it's the object if it's after 
the verb.  In fact, IIUC, a "typical" SOV language (to the extent that 
there is such a thing) does have case marking, and the SOV order is not 
mandatory; the verb might have to be at the end, but the order of the 
other constituents is flexible, with SOV being merely the most common 
order, not the only one; a better way to express the order would be 
"topic - everything else - focus - verb".)

-- Tim

On 4/24/2018 10:08 PM, Aidan Aannestad wrote:
> To me, a native speaker of an SVO language and a fluent speaker of an 
> SOV language, any order seems mostly logical. I'm not thinking about 
> it as a flow, but rather as a unitary statement. With a verb-final 
> language, for instance, you list the participants and then state what 
> action they take part in - just as logical, at least to me. 
> Verb-initial is simply that in reverse. Subject and object are both 
> inputs, and the verb is the process that occurs involving them - SOV 
> is reverse Polish notation, VSO is frontways Polish notation; or 
> maybe, SOV requires you to declare all of your variables in advance. 
> This becomes even more clear in languages with topic/focus-driven word 
> order, where the ordering of the list of participants has nothing to 
> do with the roles its contents are assigned - the list is just a list, 
> nothing more, and the morphology is what tells you how to relate the 
> listed participants to the action the list is appended to.
>
> 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. The flow interpretation may be part of the motivation to 
> move to SVO from something else (though I bet topic/focus word 
> ordering has more to do with it), but once SVO is established, I 
> suspect that it's not anything special - it's just a list that happens 
> to be discontinuous.
>
>
> On 2018/04/24 20:32, Michael Martin wrote:
>> I had decided to make my conlang either VSO or SOV simply because I 
>> wanted
>> to do things differently from English. But I've finally developed my 
>> conlang
>> to the point of making very simple sentences and I've found that I don't
>> really like these word orders. To be honest, they feel very illogical 
>> to me.
>>
>>
>>
>> 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. My
>> perception may also be colored by my engineering education. Subject 
>> is the
>> input, verb is the process, object is the output. (Not a perfect 
>> analogy,
>> granted)
>>
>>
>> With verb initial or verb final, the flow just doesn't seem to work. 
>> But I'm
>> open to new ways of thinking and so I wanted to ask anyone whose native
>> language is verb initial or verb final, how do you perceive the flow of
>> sentences? Do you perceive SVO to be odd or weird?
>>
>>
>>
>> *    Michael - [log in to unmask]
>>
>