Language universals and types based on the verbs of HAVE, BE, LOCATE*

Jul. 17,2019
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This paper proposes a set of language universals and classifies language types based on the data of a seventy-language sample including several Chinese dialects using the parameters pertaining to the verbs of HAVE,BE and LOCATE when encoding the concepts of location,existence,possession and equation.With a thorough survey the sample languages fall into six types:HAVE languages,BE languages,HAVE-LOCATE languages,HAVE-BE languages,BE-HAVE languages,and HAVE-BE-LOCATE languages.The implicational universal proposed from the order of HAVE and BE encoding the four concepts can be expressed as: "possession>existence>location >equation" and "equation >location >existence >possession".The tendential correlations found between the six language types and the syntactic order types are that BE languages,BE-HAVE language and HAVE-BE-LOCATE languages have the tendency to encode the main constituentes S,V and 0 into SVO or SVO as priority syntactic order while HAVE languages,HAVE-LOCATE languages and HAVE-BE languages have the tendency to encode the main constituentes S,V and 0 into SOV.According to the changes of individual language types we predict that the possible changing direction could be HAVE languages/BE languages→ HAVE-LOCATE languages/HAVE-BE languages/BE-HAVE languages/HAVE-BE-LOCATE languages → HAVE languages/BE languages.

Corresponding Author: SUN Wenfang
CNKI Press Officer: ZHONG Ming

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