VSO or VGN
Formal Arabic is commonly thought to use VSO, VOS, or SVO. Actually it arranges the noun phrases in order of salience, producing verb-given-new, where "given" is old information, especially pronouns and definite nouns, and "new" is new information given in the sentence, with one exception. When the subject is new and the object is given but long, it falls back to SVO, adding the verb inna "behold" before the subject. Gaelic languages, on the other hand, do not use VGN; they're straight VSO.[ref]Steve Hewitt. "Arabic: verb-subject-object or verb-given-new? Implications for word order typology". Conference on Communication and Information Structure in Spoken Arabic, 2006. Accessed 2013-11-11 via Academia.edu.[/ref] After we discover some vocabulary, we'll need to see what's valid and what's starred in this respect. --Tepples (talk) 18:25, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Spanish does not split the verb
Plenty of nominally SV languages flip to VS in questions. English and Spanish are among them, but not all are as rigidly AuxSVO in questions as English. In Spanish, questions introduced with a question word (cuántas, qué, etc.) are VOS if the subject is longer or VSO otherwise. Spanish has the case clitic a on animate direct objects to make this easier. And in "yes-no" questions, unlike English, Spanish does not split verb phrases that begin with ha, the perfect marker: ¿ha llamado mi hermano? "has my brother called?"[ref]John Butt, Carmen Benjamin. "37.23 Word order in questions that do not contain a question word." A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish. Routledge, 2013-09-05. Accessed 2013-11-12.[/ref] Investigate how obligatory "split inflection" is in Nognese. --Tepples (talk) 19:05, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
- This use of prepositions for the direct object, such as Spanish a with animate nouns and Hebrew את et with definite nouns, may be common in languages that use unsplit VSO.[ref]Justin Olbrantz. "Answer to How do isolating VSO languages differentiate the subject and object?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2012-07-23. Accessed 2014-02-02.[/ref] So investigate how obligatory the direct object preposition i is in sentences whose direct object is inanimate and indefinite. --Tepples (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
The VSO families that a Euroamerican is most likely to encounter, Insular Celtic and Semitic, appear almost as a Sprachbund despite their geographic separation. In addition to head-first order, there are preposition-pronoun fusions, an invariant relative clause marker meaning "such that", articles on the possessor, verbal agreement with only the component of a compound subject closest to the verb, gerunds taking a genitive object instead of an accusative, a few periphrastic habits, and some strange ones. [ref name="Gensler_apud_Librik"]Orin Gensler. A Typological Evaluation of Celtic/Hamito-Semitic Parallels. Berkeley, 1993. Via Librik. "Answer to Are there other pairs of languages that are as close grammatically despite not being in the same language family as Korean and Japanese?". Linguistics Stack Exchange, 2011-09-21. Accessed 2014-02-02.[/ref] This makes it harder for the layperson to pick apart which features are Celto-Semitisms and which are just correlated with VSO. --Tepples (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
- It turns out someone has done this picking. In a meta-analysis of Gensler's article and others that posit language contact, Steve Hewitt calls these similarities either typological consequences of VSO order or coincidence and finds a tendency among certain historical linguists that he calls "substratum frenzy."[ref]Steve Hewitt. "Remarks on the Insular Celtic / Hamito-Semitic question". Academia.edu. Accessed 2014-03-25. Believed to be preprint of Hewitt, S. (2009), The Question of a Hamito-Semitic Substratum in Insular Celtic. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3: 972–995. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-818X.2009.00141.x.[/ref] --Tepples (talk) 01:23, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
VSO languages may mark all non-subject cases with prepositions (Nognese direct object marker i) or may infer them from animacy, with prepositions signifying exceptions (Spanish a or Hebrew et for an animate object). See an answer by Justin Olbranz. --Tepples (talk) 2 February 2014
At one point in October 2014, I refreshed my memory on how cases work in Tatari Faran, hoping to find something to crib. Discussions on various mailing lists and the like implied that it had a case system not found in natlangs. But it turned out based on my understanding of the "gentle introduction" that Faran is really just ergative, with "originative", "conveyant", and "receptive" as fancy names for what appear to be ergative, absolutive, and dative cases.
The trouble I had while trying to practice forming phrases was the case part of the case-gender postpositions is on the "inside", closer to the noun than gender, when universals predict case on the "outside". Rephrasing #39 from Greenberg's "Some universals of grammar" (1963): When case and number affixes lie on same side of noun root, number is closer. Nognese nouns also wear their genderpants on the outside, but their morpheme order matches that of Spanish or Italian nouns: case, article, root, and number+gender. Thus it meets the universal because case is on the other side.
Finally: Speakers of Faran think all rabbits are female. Try telling that to Oswald or Bugs or Peter or E.B. or Jazz or Bucky or Max or Mr. Herrimann or Buster or, for that matter, Buster. --Tepples (talk) 23:11, 14 January 2015 (UTC)