[Lingtyp] 'basic word order' in the MP

tokizaki hisao htoki at cf6.so-net.ne.jp
Thu Mar 24 07:20:24 UTC 2016

Dear Fritz (if I may)

Within the Minimalist Program, many people assume Kayne’s (1994) idea of the antisymmetry in syntax, which argues that ‘basic word order’ is Specifier-Head-Complement.  This idea may imply that SVO is the basic word order.  Other word orders are derived by movement of constituents.    

Another idea is that there is no order in syntax while head-complement order is determined at the syntax-PF interface.  Some people call the mechanism ‘flip’.  Of course we need to explain why some ‘basic’ orders are more frequent than others.  Personally, I think that phonology of each language determines word orders in the language.  Please have a look at our paper in the following book, which includes papers on word orders from the formalist point of view:

Tokizaki, Hisao and Yasutomo Kuwana (2013) A stress-based theory of disharmonic word orders,
Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order ed. by Theresa Biberauer and Michelle Sheehan, OUP.

Best wishes,

Hisao Tokizaki
toki at sapporo-u.ac.jp
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