(Syntax and word order (a

 
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Hi, well,
in the previous video we looked at words, we have seen that these words
have some internal structure and that this can be a source of variation
because the way in which languages put those pieces together can be very
different from one language to the next. Now we move up one level. And now the words themselves
become the pieces of the puzzle. And we put them into sentences. Now one unfortunate thing about the human
mouth is that we can not produce more than one word at a time. I don't think there's
anybody who can do that. A far as I know, there's nobody. So we have to put them in some order. You have to say one word after the other. And it gives another source of variation, because you can do,
obviously do that in different ways. Let's take a simple sentence. Let's take an English sentence like,
John eats rice. That has three parts,
actually is has three words. John, eats and rice, but
there, they also correspond to traditional parts of a sentence,
a subject, a verb and an object. John in this sentence is the subject,
we're not going to go very deeply into why that is but some people say it's
because the sentence is about John. Or other people might say, this is because John is performing
the eating action in the sentence. John is obviously the person
who is really eating. Other people might say,
this is because eats has a form which changes whenever we change John. If I change John into I, John eats rice,
the eats turns into eat, I eat rice. Now, rice in the sentence
is the object and that's basically because
it's not the subject. It's the other thing, it's the other
nominal thing, it's the other thing describing some kind of entity in the real
world and it's clearly not the subject. For instance, it doesn't change when we the verb
doesn't change when we change rice. When I change rice into me,
you don't say John eat rice. You still say John eats rice. And eats in this sentence is the verb. It's the, the, the thing which changes. When the subject changes, it's the thing denoting the action,
which is described by this sentence. Okay, all of these are rough definitions,
but they work. It means, in a simple sentence,
like, John eats rice, we already have three different things. These three different things we
can order in six possible ways. Do you believe that? Can you see it? Well, it's actually true for anything. So, its not just true for
words, but any three things, which we have to put in some order,
we can put in order in six possible ways. Take, for instance, these cakes which
happen to be here in front of me. I can put them in six
different orders very easily. Count with me, and be quick. This is one possible order. This is my second possible order. This is my third possible order. This is my fourth possible order. This is my fifth possible order. And this is my sixth possible order. Do you believe it? Was I too quick? Well you, this is a video so you can stop
it, you can go back and look at it again. These are six different
possible orders and there is no other order which you
can give to these three cakes. Now, what's true for
cakes is also true for words. I can put them in six possible
orders if I have three of them. If I have three parts of a sentence,
I can put them in six different orders, S, V, O, subject, verb,
object can be put in six possible orders. And what's fun is all of those orders
are attested in human languages. We find some human language which has
one of those orders as the basic order. Here they are. SVO is easy, that's English. John eats rice, we've seen that. So that had the subject
in the first position. The other way to have the subject in
the first position is to have, have SOV. There's quite a lot of languages
which have that as well. Turkish is a big language which has that, Korean is another big language
which has that particular order. VSO and VOS are the two orders
where the verb comes first, and again we can find them in,
in very different kinds of languages. For instance, VSO we can find in Tagalog,
the official language or one of the official languages
of the Philippines. VOS we can find in Malagasy,
a language of Madagascar. And finally we can put the object first. And we can get either OSV or OVS. And Xavante and Hixkaryana, two Native American languages
are examples of such systems. Now, very often, we will find sentences
which are just longer than three words. For instance, because these three parts
of speech, as we all know, themselves, can have more structure to them. For instance a subject is not necessarily
just John, it can also be a nice man. Well, that's already three words. Let's just pick out two of those,
nice and man. Nice we call an adjective in this case,
man we call a noun in this case. Again, we're going, not going to
go into the definition of that, not into the precise definition of that. But nouns are entities like describe
objects in the real world, let's say. And adjectives describe
qualities of those entities. So, man is something you can touch,
it's something which can move around, and nice is some quality
which some man seem to have. Okay, well those two nice man,
nice and man, we can again put them in
two different orders. Do we need a demonstration of that? Well, here you are, two different orders. So nice man is adjective noun or
noun adjective, man nice. Again we find both of them
in languages of the world. Here are two examples. They're actually nice because they're
from the same language family. They're both Tebetto Berman languages. On the one hand we have Apatani,
which puts the adjective after the noun. So we say something like dog,
small in this language. And on the other hand, you have Mising,
which puts the adjective in front of the noun, so you say, small village,
just would, like you would in English. So, that's one example of
a combination of two words. Here's another example, prepositions. Prepositions dis, describe relations,
like, in the house, in is a preposition, it describes
a relation of something to that house. Or with Mary. With is a preposition. It describes some kind of
relation one might have. Again the definition is rather rough,
but hopefully it works for you. Now, preposition, the Latin word of
that says pre means in front of, and in English, actually this preposition
is in front of the other thing, in the house, with Mary, okay? But, obviously, logically speaking you
can also put it on the other side. Are there any languages which do that? Well, yes there are. Here are two examples,
both of them spoken in Europe. Polish has prepositions like English. You say something like on the table. On before the table. And Finnish where you say something like,
Lisa with. With after Lisa. So Polish has prepositions. And Finnish has both positions.

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