# INTERIM SUMMARY (3) OF LEFT-RIGHT ASYMMETRIES

bingfu bingfu at USC.EDU
Wed Mar 18 19:44:34 UTC 1998

```Dear netters,
Thanks for the following friends who have responded and have been
discussing with me on the issue.

George Aubin <gaubin at eve.assumption.edu>
Matthew S Dryer 	<dryer at ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
Gisbert Fanselow    fanselow at rz.uni-potsdam.de
Nancy Frishberg <nancyf at fishbird.com>
Sungshim Hong      vshong at hanbat.chungnam.ac.kr
Peter Jacobs pjacobs at squamish.net
Richard Kayne <rsk8 at is4.nyu.edu>
Natalia Kondrashova      nyk1 at cornell.edu
Elena Maslova <Lena at LH.BICOS.DE>
Víctor Vázquez Martínez      IBM10254 at globalnet.es>
Ma. Teresa Macias Rabago   mtmacias at correo.ajusco.upn.mx>
Petr Roesel  roesel at goofy.zdv.Uni-Mainz.de
stephen p spackman <stephen at acm.org>
Takaku Tsunoda  tsunoda at tooyoo.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Theo Vennemann    tvn at cis.uni-muenchen.de

Unfortunately, the data I collected so far are not sufficient for
significant conclusions.  Nevertheless, they do indicate the following
tendencies, which I would like to make further investigation and get more
feedback from you, either supportive examples or negative counterexamples.

1.
Concerning the orders of V, O and Adv, it seems that if both O and Adv
follows, [V O Adv] is always dominant and can be seen as the basic order.
However, no further example has shown up that rigidly prohibits [V Adv O].
Therefore, English seems to be extreme in some aspects, though most of our
syntax theories are heavily derived from its grammar.

If both O and Adv precede, the bias is not clear in most of languages. I
need clear examples where either [Adv O V] or [O Adv V] is definitely
dominant and seen as the basic order.

If O and Adv locate on the two sides of V, only [Adv V O] as basic order
has been found so far.
This is a counterexample to my hypothesis, since Adv is less referential,
identifiable than O.
I contribute it to some other interfering factors.  One possible is the
parsing strategy named 'SAVE THE HARDEDST FOR THE LAST', which states that
language coding tends to put the potentially complicated and longest unit
at the end of the sentence. I read this strategy years ago in the
literature on sentence parsing, but forget the source.  If somebody in
this list knows the whereabouts of this parsing strategy and inform me, I
should appreciate it very much!

2.
Concerning the orders of
(4) He walked slowly with a stick inthe garden for three hours yesterday.

Few responses contain the translated counterparts in other languages.
Perhaps this sentence itself seems rhetorically strange.  Then, let us
have an alternative:

He worked hard with computers in the lab for two weeks last month.

If you still feel uncomfortable with the sentence, just delete some units
and reduce into shorter forms, which would also helpful to me, since
relative orders of random two dependents also suggest a overall
generalization. For example, if A always precedes B, which in turn always
precedes C, then we can legitimately combine the two orders and get the
formula [A B C].

According to the very limited data, a vague hirarchical pattern appears:

Time  > Duration > Location > Instrument > Manner

(which may be shortened for perceptual ease to:)

T > D > L > I  > M.

Here > means "higher than in the structure, or semantically less inherent
and hence positionally less close to the head V".

The following are some examples.
English, Portuguese, Vietnam, Yoruba:

He [ [ [ [ [ worked hard] with computers] in the lab] for two weeks] last
month], i.e.

S [ [ [ [ [ V M] I ] L] D] T]

Chinese:
S [ [ [L [ I [ M V ]  ]  ] D ] T ]

Japanese, Korean, Basque:
S [ T [ D [ L [ I [ M V ]  ]  ]  ]  ]

Russian:
S [ T [  [  [  [ V M] I ] L ] D ]  ]

Tagalog:
[T [ D [  [  [ M V ] I ] L]  ]  ] S

Hebrew:
[T [ D [  [  [ V M ] I ] L ]  ]  ]

It seems the following two pairs of units are most likely to shift
positions.
D and L,
M and I.

That is all for this time.

Bingfu Lu
USC

```