Chinese Word Order in the Comparative Sino-Tibetan and Sociotypological Contexts

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The present study discusses typology and variation of word order patterns in nominal and verb structures across 20 Chinese languages and compares them with another 43 languages from the Sino-Tibetan family. The methods employed are internal and external historical reconstruction and correlation studies from linguistic typology and sociolinguistics. The results show that the head-final tendency is a baseline across the family, but individual languages differ by the degree of head-initial structures allowed in a language, leading to a hybrid word order profile. On the one hand, Chinese languages consistently manifest the head-final noun phrase structures, whereas head-initial deviants can be explained either internally through reanalysis or externally through contact. On the other hand, Chinese verb phrases have varied toward head-initial structures due to contact with verb-medial languages of Mainland Southeast Asia, before reinstalling the head-final structures as a consequence of contact with verb-final languages in North Asia. When extralinguistic factors are considered, the typological north-south divide of Chinese appears to be geographically consistent and gradable by the latitude of individual Chinese language communities, confirming the validity of a broader typological cline from north to south in Eastern Eurasia.
Antal sidor36
StatusPublicerad - 19 apr. 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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