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In the language typology , SVO languages ( subject-verb-object ) are those languages in which subject , verb and object normally appear in this order. The designation refers to the model of a sentence that is as simple as possible, which contains only a single verb as a predicate (that's why “verb” is mentioned here and not “predicate”).

An example of such a language is English . The German one - even if the order subject-verb-object can often be found in simple sentences - not because other variants, especially to the SVO languages adverb-VSO , as normal ( " unmarked represent") sets. An SVO language is only available if deviations from the SVO scheme are completely absent or are to be shown as restricted ("marked") cases.

For example, in the SVO language English, an object can in principle sometimes appear in front of the subject, but only with the restriction that the object is a unit that is particularly emphasized in the context:

I omitted this part. (keine Hervorhebungseffekte)
This part I omitted. (Topikalisierung von this part)

Sentences in the second form (OSV) are not only much rarer in English than the SVO sequence, but above all they fulfill a special function in relation to it. Therefore, the SVO sequence is the one that determines the word order type of English.

SVO is one of the two most common word-position types at all (besides SOV ); In the sample of the World Atlas of Language Structures , 35% of all languages ​​show this type in its pure form (another 3.6% fluctuate between SVO and another type). According to this sample, SVO languages ​​are particularly common and the predominant type in Europe, southern Africa and Southeast Asia. In the indigenous languages ​​of South , Central and North Asia and North America, however, this type is extremely rare.

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Individual evidence

  1. In the typological database WALS, German is listed as a language “without fixed basic word order”, see Feature 81A: Order of Subject, Object and Verb. The World Atlas of Language Structures ONLINE (WALS).
  2. See Matthew S. Dryer: Word Order. In: T. Shopen (ed.): Clause Structure (= Language Typology and Syntactic Description, Vol. 1). Cambridge University Press, 2007 (particularly Section 2).
  3. ^ Matthew S. Dryer: Chapter Order of Subject, Object and Verb. The World Atlas of Language Structures ONLINE (WALS).