Subject Verb Object


Subject Verb Object

In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is a sentence structure where the subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third. Languages may be classified according to the dominant sequence of these elements. Together with the SOV order, SVO is one of the two most common orders, accounting for more than 75% of the world's languages between them. [cite book
last = Crystal
first = David
authorlink = David Crystal
title = The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language
edition = 2nd edition
year = 1997
publisher = Cambridge University Press
location = Cambridge
id = ISBN 0-521-55967-7
] It is also the most common order developed in Creole languages, suggesting that it may be somehow more initially 'obvious' to human psychology [Diamond, Jared. The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee. p. 143] .

English, informal Arabic, Finnish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Modern Herbew, Khmer, Luganda, Russian, Bulgarian, Swahili, Hausa, Yoruba, Quiche, Guaraní, Javanese, Malay, Latvian, Rotuman and Indonesian are examples of languages that can follow an SVO pattern. The Romance languages also follow SVO construction, except for constructions in many of the languages where a pronoun functions as the object (eg. French: "Je t'aime" or Spanish: "Te amo" lit. "You I love"). All of the Scandinavian languages follow this order also but change to VSO when asking a question. Some of these languages, such as English, can also use an OSV structure in certain literary styles, such as poetry.

An example of SVO order in English is:

:"Andy ate oranges."

In this, "Andy" is the subject, "ate" is the verb, "oranges" is the object.

Some languages are more complicated: in German and in Dutch, SVO in main clauses coexists with SOV in subordinate clauses (See V2 word order.)

Example: "Elke Zondag was ik de auto" (Dutch: "Every Sunday I wash the car", lit. "Every Sunday wash I the car"). "Ik was de auto elke Zondag" translates perfectly into English "I wash the car every Sunday", but as a result of changing the syntax, inversion SV->VS takes place.

English developed from such languages itself, and still bears traces of this word order, for example in locative inversion ("In the garden sat a cat") and some clauses beginning with negative expressions: "only" ("only then do we find X"), "not only" ("not only did he storm away, but he also slammed the door"), "under no circumstances" ("under no circumstances are the students allowed to use a mobile phone"), "on no account" and the likes.

Properties

Subject Verb Object languages almost always place relative clauses after the nouns they modify and adverbial subordinators before the clause modified.

Although some Subject Verb Object languages in West Africa, the best-known being Ewe, use postpositions in noun phrases, the vast majority of Subject Verb Object languages have prepositions like English does. Most Subject Verb Object languages place genitives after the noun, though there is a significant minority, including the postpositional SVO languages of West Africa, the Hmong-Mien languages, some Sino-Tibetan languages and such European languages as Swedish, Danish, Lithuanian and Latvian, that have "prenominal" genitives [ [http://wals.info/feature/description/86 Order of Genitive and Noun] ] (as would be expected in a SOV language).

Outside of European languages, Subject Verb Object languages have a strong tendency to place adjectives, demonstratives and numerals "after" the noun they modify, though Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malay place numerals before nouns as English does. Some linguists have come to actually view the numeral as the head in this relationship to fit the rigid right-branching of these languages [Donohue, Mark; "Word order in Austronesian from north to southand west to east" in "Linguistic Typology" 11 (2007); p. 379] .

ee also

*Subject Object Verb
*Object Subject Verb
*Object Verb Subject
*Verb Object Subject
*Verb Subject Object

Sources


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