Greenbergian Word Order Correlations and the Principle of Head Proximity

J. Rijkhoff

in The Noun Phrase

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780198237822
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706776 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory

Greenbergian Word Order Correlations and the Principle of Head Proximity

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The Principle of Head Proximity is an interpretation of the word order facts in which languages are classified as V-1 (V-initial), SVO, or SOV. There is a general tendency across languages to avoid having adjectives (A) and possessor NPs (G) between the head of the noun phrase (N) and the head of the clause (V). In the V-1 and SOV languages, a possessor NP (G) is only permitted in between heads V and N if an adjective can appear there as well. This chapter discusses languages in which adjectives do not normally appear next to the noun, which runs counter to the first hypothesis formulated on the basis of the Principle of Head Proximity: noun-adjective adjacency. The second hypothesis concerns the position of modifiers relative to the noun.

Keywords: Principle of Head Proximity; word order; adjectives; noun phrase; possessors; clause; languages; noun modifiers; head

Chapter.  21127 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Semantics

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