« Free Online Language Learning | Main | Annoying And Bogus Words »

October 02, 2013

SVO And SOV: The Depth Of Language

I use the term SVO (Subject, Verb, Object) to illustrate to my students a very simple principle of English grammar: the usual word order of subject, verb and object. "He ate lunch" or "She went home" for example.

Virtually none of them have heard of it before, but they all seem to find it useful. Some languages (like Japanese) have an SOV (Subject, Object, Verb) structure.

But is either one...


Is there something, some structural grammatical principle, at work across all human languages?

Take a look at this article from Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-understand-the-deep-structures-of-language and let me know what you think about what they call the 'deep structures' of language.

It's an observation almost too obvious to mention, but why, really, do people in different parts of the world speak and use different languages? And why, given these differences, are there, in most cases, not a vast range of the 'deep structural' distinctions?

Language learning is full of unexpected twists and turns. Send me any language usages or historical nuances that interest you, and be sure to let me know what it is about human languages that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.


Posted by mmorf at October 2, 2013 10:05 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)