Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Persian Language and Typological Predictions and Universals: The Contradiction between the Statistical Data and Typological Predictions

Sharifi Shahla.

It has been claimed that there is a relation between word order inside the phrases and word order inside the sentences in any language. According to this belief, some implicational universals have been presented Greenberg (1963 &1966a), Lehmann (1973), Vennemann(1974),Hawkins(1983), Dryer(1992),...).But of course there have been some languages which violate these universals. Some typologists tried to explain these counter examples. For example Vennemann(1974) says that the languages which don't follow his Natural Serialisation Principle, and naturally typological universals, are in the process of change from one type into another one. Dabir-moghaddam(1997) ,following this idea, has applied Dryer's criteria on Persian. He has concluded that out of twenty criteria utilized in dryer(1992), to distinguish OV languages from VO languages, in the two third of them, New Persian behaves like a verb medial language. But the result of statistical data show that New Persian is still predominantly a verb final language (Mahmudov(1981), Mohammadi(2000), Frommer(1981), although the other word order patterns are also permitted. Of course it's not deniable that word order inside the phrases has become more configurational since Old Persian by now. There are also some claims to say Social parameters, including social class , sex and age , have some effects on choosing the word order pattern preferably used by Persian speakers. Jahangiri (2000)
But whether all this supports the claim that there is a strong relationship between word order in the phrases and word order in the sentences ? And Whether The direction of the change is quite predictable through the typological universals?
This article claims that there is no such a strong relationship , at least not in Persian.


Sharifi Shahla  (Iran (Islamic Republic of))
Ph.D student of Linguistics
Linguistics department
Ferdowsi university of Mashhad

I'm doing my ph.D in linguistics in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. My MA thesis has been in GG framework and my ph.D thesis is in the area of typology. I have been interested in and worked on Syntax more than the other branches in the field of Linguistics. I also have taught some courses for BA and MA students of linguistics in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad since 1999.

  • Typological Universals
  • Language change
  • Word order status in Persian

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)