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The Function of Word Order in Turkish Grammar: Eser Emine Erguvanli


The Function of Word Order in Turkish Grammar
Author: Eser Emine Erguvanli
Publisher: University of California Press
Number Of Pages: 179
Publication Date: 1984-08
ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0520099559
ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780520099555
File Type: PdF (taken from google books)
File Size: 14.3MB
Thanks to the origional uploaded
This monograph investigates the function of word order and the variation in the
ordering of constituents in Turkish, a language
often cited as having a rigid SOV
order. Sentences with word orders that differ from the verb-final pattern are
subjcct to certain restrictions and occur under particular discourse conditions. The
restrictions observed center on three syntactic positions: S-initial, immediately
preverbal, and postpredicate. The conditions under which sentences with different
word orders occur reveal a pragmatic function associated with each syntactic
position: the S-initial position is identified as marking the topic; the immediately
preverbal position, the focus; and the postpredicate, the backgrounded
information. The term background is preferred to after-thought for Turkish, since it
better characterizes the kinds of constituents that may occur after the predicate.
Word order and its variation in embedded sentences follow the principles seen
to operate in simplex sentences, with added restrictions depending on the type of
embedded clause. For example, a constituent of a nominalizcd structure may cross
the boundaries of its clause and may be the topic or backgrounded material of the
entire sentence. The restrictions noted to operate on constituent ordering in
complex sentences with embedded clauses help define the semantic and pragmatic
nature of these syntactic positions. Stress, a phonological signal that marks
particular kinds of prominence on elements in a sentence, is closely related to
word order in Turkish. The two types of stress, neutral and emphatic, signal the
unmarked focus and the focus of contrast, respectively, and are seen to be
subjected to certain restrictions in sentences with orders that differ from the verb-
final pattern. Adverbs show differences in their possible positions; non-derived
manner adverbs are restricted to the immediately preverbal position, while derived
manner adverbs appear to be freer in their ordering, with a corresponding scope
difference. Time and place adverbs have no word-order restrictions.
Sentences in which the S-initial subject NP has a definite reading while the
immediately preverbal one has an indefinite reading are examples of the semantic
role of word order in Turkish. Defining the semantic and pragmatic functions of
word orders leads us to consider two issues. (1) How would word order and its
variation be represented in a grammar? (2) What, from a typological point of
view, is the significance of word order in Turkish? With regard to the first issue,
movement rules proposed by Underhill (1972) and Uankamer (1971) to account
for word-order variation in Turkish are discussed, and some drawbacks to their
approach are presented. Since a constituent of a nominal clause with a lexical
head-noun may cross clausc boundaries. Ross's complex NP constraint is violated
if sentences with different word-orders arc derived by movement rules. A
functional approach, where the relations among the syntactic, semantic, and
pragmatic functions of constituents are more adequately represented, is proposed
to account for the constituent ordering in Turkish. This monograph raises the
question of what it means, from a typological point of view, for a language to have
a canonical SOV order. This study also shows that semantic and pragmatic
distinctions, like syntactic distinctions, must be taken into consideration in the
analysis of a language and incorporated into its grammar.

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