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08_Verb Object Subject

Definition

The property Verb Object Subject has the value "yes" when the order Verb Object Subject can be used in a neutral context. The clause in this property is an active (non-passive) declarative (non-interrogative) clause. In this property, the subject and object are not pronouns. Furthermore, the verb must be clause initial. As with all word order properties, we restrict our attention to productive word order patterns.

Definition of Subject
Definition of Object

General Note on Word Order Properties:
A "yes" value for Verb Object Subject does not exclude a "yes" value for any other order of these categories.

NA (Not Applicable): All known languages have subjects and objects in the defined sense, so this property is always defined and never has the value NA.

Examples:

1.
Malagasy is "Yes" for Verb Object Subject (AT = Agent Topic):

Manasa ny lamba amin' ny savony ny reny.
PRS.AT.wash the clothes with the soap the mother.NOM
'The mother washes the clothes with the soap.' (Sabel 2002)

Reference
Sabel, J. 2002. Wh-questions and extraction asymmetries in Malagasy. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 44:309-323.

2.
English is "no" for the property Verb Object Subject since this order is always ungrammatical:

*sees the airplane John
(* means ungrammatical)

3.
Japanese is "no" for Verb Object Subject, since this order is always ungrammatical:

*otosi-ta koppu-o dareka-ga.
drop-PST scup-ACC someone-NOM
'Someone dropped a cup.'
Contributed by: Andrea Cattaneo, Chris Collins, Jim Wood
Language Value Contributor Comments
   =Hoan No Chris Collins
   Acehnese No Julie Legate
   Afrikaans No Theresa Biberauer
   Agni indénié No Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO
   Akan-twi No AUGUSTINA OWUSU
+ Albanian Yes Dalina Kallulli
  Words: Bleu akullore Eva.
  Gloss: bought ice-cream Eva
  Translation: Eva bought (an) ice-cream.
  Contributor: Dalina Kallulli
   American Sign Language Yes Natasha Abner
   Amharic No Girma Demeke
+ Ancient Greek Yes Richard Faure
  Words: epeita ḗreto tòn Kûron ho Kuaxárēs póson …
  Gloss: then ask-IND.AORISTE.3SG ART-ACC.M.SG K-ACC ART-NOM.M.SG K-NOM how.much
  Translation: ‘Cyaxares asked Cyrus how large (the army was)’
  Comment: Xenophon Cyropaedia 2.1.2. This order is far less frequent than the others.
  Contributor: Richard Faure
   Arabic, Gulf No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
+ Armenian (Eastern) Yes Sona Haroutyunian
  Words: kerav salor Ani-n
  Gloss: eat.3SG.PST plum Ani-DET
  Translation: Ani ate plum
  Contributor: Sona Haroutyunian
   Babanki No Pius Akumbu
   Bafut No Pius Tamanji
   Bajau, West Coast Yes Mark Miller
   Bambara No Hilda Koopman
   Bandial No Wolfgang Berndt
   baoulé - faafouê de kokumbo Yes kouakou koffi salomon
   Bardi Yes Claire Bowern
   Basaa No Paul Roger Bassong
   Basque No Karlos Arregi
   baule-kôdeh No Andréa ALLA
+ Bellinzonese No Andrea Cattaneo
  Words: * Mangia la turta al gianni
  Gloss: eat.PRS.3SG the cake the Gianni
  Translation: Gianni eats the cake.
  Contributor: Andrea Cattaneo
   Beng No Denis Paperno
   Bengali No Priyanka Biswas
   Bole No Alhaji Gimba
   Brazilian Portuguese No Bruna Moreira
   Breton No Steve Hewitt
   Bulgarian No Ljuba Veselinova
   Burgenland-Romani No Michelle McComb
   Burmese No Timothy Ho
+ Calabrian (Northern) Yes Giuseppina Silvestri
  Words: ha kusut a vesta Marija
  Gloss: has sewn the dress Mary
  Translation: Mary has sewn the dress
  Contributor: Giuseppina Silvestri
   Cantonese (Guangzhou) No Zixian Qiu
   Catalan Yes Txuss Martin
   Chalcatongo Mixtec No Jess Combs
+ Chichewa Yes Sam Mchombo
  Words: a-na-thámángitsá mikángo alenje
  Gloss: 2SM-past-chase lions hunters
  Translation: (the) hunters chased (the) lions
  Contributor: Sam Mchombo
   Chickasaw No Pam Munro
   Chol Yes Jessica Coon
+ Cypriot Greek Yes Marios Andreou
  Words: Eferen pagoton o Kostas.
  Gloss: brought ice-cream the Kostas
  Translation: Kostas brought ice-cream.
  Contributor: Marios Andreou
+ Czech No Pavel Caha
  Words: #Kousl Petra pes.
  Gloss: bit Petr.acc dog.nom
  Translation: A dog bit Petr.
  Comment: Grammatical as a question.
  Contributor: Pavel Caha
   Dagaare No Adams Bodomo
   Danish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Dholuo No Hilda Koopman
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) No Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby ALS4 workshop 2016
+ Digo Yes Steve Nicolle
  Words: Mwisho wa-henda mimba yuyu.
  Gloss: finally 3SG.PST-do/make CL9.pregnancy CL1.DEM
  Translation: Finally she became pregnant. (Lit: Finally she made pregnancy, that one.)
  Comment: Non-canonical order. The subject NP (yuyu) is a right-dislocated continued topic.
  Contributor: Steve Nicolle
+ Digor Ossetic Yes David Erschler
  Words: cal ɐma cal χatt-i ba-fɐrs-uj ɐ=χe Gɐwis
  Gloss: how.many and how.many time-OBL PRV-ask-PRS.3SG POSS.3SG-REFL.OBL Gawis
  Translation: 'Gawis asked himself so many times.'
  Contributor: David Erschler
   Dutch No Hilda Koopman
+ Eastern Armenian Yes Karine Megerdoomian
  Words: kerav khndzor-a Mariam-a
  Gloss: eat.3SG.PST apple.DEF Mariam.DEF
  Translation: Mariam ate the apple
  Contributor: Arwa Rangwala
   Egyptian Arabic No Arwa Rangwala
   English No Chris Collins
   English (Singapore) No Adam Chong
   European Portuguese No Salvador Mascarenhas
   Ewe No Chris Collins
   Farefari No Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   Faroese No Gunnar Hrafn Hrafnbjargarson
   Farsi No Natasha Schimka
+ Fijian Yes Zhenyu Sun
  Words: e lako-v-a na i-sele o J
  Gloss: 3S fetch-it the knife PRP J
  Translation: ‘J fetches the knife’
  Contributor: Zhenyu Sun
   Finnish No Anders Holmberg
   French No Chris Collins
   French (Ivorian) No Akpoué Josué
   Frisian (West Frisian) No Jarich Hoekstra
   Ga No Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   galician Yes Naír García
   Garifuna No Teresa O'Neill (contributor till 2012)
   georgian Yes Lea Nash
   German No Chris Collins
   Ghɔmáĺá' No Francine Moguo
   Gothic No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Greek Yes Arhonto Terzi
   Greek (Cappadocian) No Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) No Chiara Bozzone
   Greek (Medieval) Yes Io Manolessou
   Greenlandic, West (Kalaallisut) No Stephen Mayeaux
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
   Gungbe (Porto-Novo) No Enoch Oladé Aboh
   Gurene No Samuel Atintono
   Haitian No Michel DeGraff
   Hakka No Iris Wu
   Hanga No Geoffrey Hunt
   Hausa No Russell Schuh
+ Hebrew No Ur Shlonsky
  Words: *henif degel Gabi
  Gloss: hoist.M.S.PR flag Gabi
  Translation: Gabi hoisted a flag
  Contributor: Ur Shlonsky
+ Hebrew (Biblical) No Massimo Gargiulo the natural order is: Verb—Subject—Object; a variation of the usual order of words frequently occurs when any member of the sentence is to be specially emphasized (Gesenius). E.g. we have V-O-S in Gen 21,7
  Comment: the natural order is: Verb—Subject—Object; a variation of the usual order of words frequently occurs when any member of the sentence is to be specially emphasized (Gesenius). E.g. we have V-O-S in Gen 21,7
  Contributor: Massimo Gargiulo
   Hindi No Anoop Mahajan
   Hittite No Mattyas Huggard
   Hixkaryana No Laura Kalin
   Hungarian No Anna Szabolcsi
   Ibibio No Willie Willie
   Icelandic No Jim Wood
   Igala No Johnson Folorunso Ilori
   Igbo No Mary Amaechi
   Iha No Mark Donohue
   Ilokano Yes Jeremy Rafal
   imbabura quichua No UCLA Linguistics 210
   Indonesian No Mark Donohue
   Irish No Bridget Nixdorf
   Iron Ossetic Yes David Erschler
   Italian No Andrea Cattaneo
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) No Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) No Giovanni Roversi
   Jamaican Creole English No Tonjes Veenstra
   Japanese No Ken Hiraiwa
   Jarawara No Alan Vogel
   Jingulu Yes Rob Pensalfini
   K'iche' Yes Pam Munro
+ Kannada (Bengaluru-Mysore) No Amrit Amritavalli
  Words: hoDey-utt-aane cheND-anna avanu
  Gloss: hit-nonpst-3sg.m. ball-acc. he
  Translation: ‘He hits the ball (well, with great force,etc.)’
  Comment: used in habitual contexts with focus on the verb
  Contributor: Amrit Amritavalli
   Karachay No Steve Seegmiller
   Kashaya No John Gluckman
   Kayan No Ken Manson
   Khasi No Gracious Temsen
   KiLega No Kasangati Kinyalolo
   Kinande No Patricia Schneider-Zioga and Philip Mutaka
   Kiswahili No Aggrey Wasike
   Kiyaka Yes Lukowa Kidima
   Kom No Richard Kwamong
   Konni No Michael Cahill
   Korean No Chung-hye Han
   Koyo No Hilda Koopman
   Kuot No Eva Lindström
   Kurdish (Sorani) No Yadgar Karimi
+ Kusaal No Hasiyatu Abubakari
  Words: *di diib la Asibi sous
  Gloss:  eat.perf food Def Asibi yesterday
  Translation: ‘Asibi ate the food yesterday’
  Comment: All particles used for marking time example: sa ‘yesterday’ and negation example: bυ ‘not’ must occur before the main verb, negation etc occur before the verb. The VOS is ungrammatical in all circumstances.
  Contributor: Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Kusunda No Mark Donohue
   Laal No Florian Lionnet
   Lango No Arwa Rangwala
   Lani No Mark Donohue
   Lao No Alif Silpachai
+ Latin Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
  Words: Vicit pudorem libido
  Gloss: defeat.3SG.PRF shame.ACC lust.NOM
  Translation: Lust defeated modesty
  Comment: Cic. (Clu. 15)
  Contributor: Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Latin (Late) No Giovanni Pairotti a value 'no' was assigned since the statistical distribution is below 30%
  Words: et leget resurrectionem Domini episcopus ipse
  Gloss: and read: PRS: 3SG the resurrection: ACC Lord: GEN the bishop: NOM himself: NOM
  Translation: ‘and the bishop himself reads the resurrection of the Lord’
  Comment: (Itin. Eg. 24.10). This is the only example in the sample (3,2% of the main active declarative clauses: my own data). See Spevak 2005: 240-249 – Itin. Eg. = Itinerarium Egeriae, 4th cent. CE, electronic LLT-A edition (=CCSL 175, P. Geyer / O. Cuntz, 1965, p. 37-90).
  Contributor: Giovanni Pairotti
   Lebanese Arabic Yes Lina Choueiri
   Lithuanian No Felix Thies
   Lubukusu No Aggrey Wasike
   Maasai (Kisongo) Yes Hilda Koopman
   Mada No Bebey Théodore
+ Malagasy Yes Ed Keenan and Laura Kalin
  Words: Manenjika azy izy
  Gloss: PRES.AT.chase 3.ACC 3.NOM
  Translation: He/she/they chase(s) him/her/them
  Contributor: Ed Keenan and Laura Kalin
   Malayalam No Mythili Menon
   Mandarin No Arthur Wang
   Mankanya No Tim Gaved
   Maori No Ray Harlow
+ Marshallese No Heather Willson Sturman
  Words: *E=j dāpij kuuj eo leddik eo.
  Gloss: 3SG.AGR=PRS hold.TR cat the.SG girl the.SG
  Translation: The girl is holding the cat.
  Contributor: Heather Willson Sturman
   Masarak No Jessica Chen
   Mbuko No Richard Gravina
   Medumba No KEUPDJIO HERMANN SIDOINE
   Middle Dutch No Gertjan Postma
+ Miya Yes Michael A. Estrada
  Words: à dər cáat aa Ndəkay
  Gloss: Pf grind pepper PS Ndəkay
  Translation: 'Ndəkay ground pepper'
  Contributor: Michael A. Estrada
+ Moroccan Arabic Yes Arwa Rangwala
  Words: ka.t.shouf al.film Laila
  Gloss: PRES.F.watch.3SG DEF.film Laila
  Translation: Laila watches the film.
  Contributor: Arwa Rangwala
+ Muyang No Bebey Théodore
  Words: ⃰* é dí ɗaf Satai
  Gloss: 3sg cook food Satai
  Translation: Cooks food Satai.
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
  Words: ⃰ é héb^ hay mota
  Gloss: 3sg break house car
  Translation: Car destroys the house
  Comment: NB: bˆ = implosive b.
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
   N|u No Chris Collins
   Nahuatl (Central Huasteca) No John Garcia
   Nahuatl (Classical) Yes John Garcia
   Naki No Jeff Good
   Nawdm No Hannah Kim
   nda'nda' No Christelle Niguieu Toukam and Bertille Baron ALS4 workshop 2016
   Ndut No Daniel Morgan
   Neapolitan No Giuseppe Samo
   Nepali No Mark Donohue
   Niuean No Diane Massam
   Northern Thai No Alif Silpachai
   Norwegian No Marit Julien
+ Nupe No Jason Kandybowicz
  Words: *Gi nakan Musa.
  Gloss: eat meat Musa
  Translation: Musa ate the meat.
  Contributor: Jason Kandybowicz
   Nweh No Hilda Koopman
   Okinawan No Ken Hiraiwa
   Old English No Steve Seegmiller
   Old French No Heather Burnett
   Old Saxon No George Walkden
   Oluwanga No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   One No Mark Donohue
   Palue No Mark Donohue
   panjabi No Gurprit Bains
   Papuan Malay No Mark Donohue
   Pashto No Taylor Roberts
   Pima Yes Marcus Smith
+ Polish No Barbara Tomaszewicz
  Words: #Ugryzł Piotra pies.
  Gloss: bit Piotr.acc dog.nom
  Translation: A dog bit Piotr.
  Contributor: Barbara Tomaszewicz
   Portuguese No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Q'anjob'al No Kathleen O'Flynn
+ Romanian Yes Oana Savescu
  Words: Au plantat pomi trei copi
  Gloss: have.AUX.PL .3 planted trees three children
  Translation: Three children planted trees.
  Contributor: Oana Savescu
+ Russian No Stephanie Harves
  Words: Kupil knigu Ivan, a ne Boris.
  Gloss: bought book.ACC Ivan.NOM and not Boris.NOM
  Translation: Ivan bought a book, not Boris.
  Comment: The order Verb Object Subject is felicitous only in non-neutral contexts, e.g. when the subject is contrastively focused.
  Contributor: Stephanie Harves
   Salasaca Quichua No Pieter Muysken
   Samoan Yes Vincent Homer
   San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec No George Aaron Broadwell
   Sandawe No Helen Eaton
   Saramaccan No Tonjes Veenstra
   Sasak No Nur Ahmadi and Eli Asikin-Garmager
   Saweru No Mark Donohue
   Scottish Gaelic No Andrew Carnie
   Senaya No Laura McPherson
   Shan No Alif Silpachai
   Shupamem No Abdoulaye Laziz Nchare
+ Sicilian No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: vìtti na kàsa Gjovànni
  Gloss: saw a house John
  Translation: John saw a house
  Comment: Marked order. Preferred, in certain contexts (cf. Cruschina 2008, Zanini & Damonte 2010)
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
  Words: ammazzàrru a n'wòmminu i polizjòtti
  Gloss: killed to a man the policemen
  Translation: the policemen killed a man
  Comment: Marked order. Preferred, in certain contexts (cf. Cruschina 2008, Zanini & Damonte 2010)
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Skou No Mark Donohue
   Slovenian No Franc Marušič
+ Spanish No Violeta Vazquez-Rojas
  Words: *Limpió el espejo Juan
  Gloss: clean.PST.3SG the.M mirror J.
  Translation: Intended: Juan cleaned the mirror
  Contributor: Violeta Vazquez-Rojas
   St'át'imcets Yes Lisa Matthewson
+ Swedish No fredrik heinat
  Words: *Nu äter glass flickan.
  Gloss: now eats ice-cream girl.DEF
  Translation: Now the girls is eating ice-cream.
  Comment: V O S in not possibe in neutral contexts. VP topicalization may give this order, but then V2 requires that the finite auxiliary precede the subject: Ätit glass har flickan (redan gjort) 'eaten ice-cream has the girl (done already).
  Contributor: fredrik heinat
   Swiss German No Cecile Meier
+ Tagalog Yes Edith Aldridge
  Words: B<um>ili nang kotse ang babae.
  Gloss: <Intr.Perf>buy Obl car Abs woman
  Translation: The woman bought a car.
  Comment: In an antipassive, in which the external argument has absolutive case and the direct object has oblique case, both VSO and VOS order are possible.
  Contributor: Edith Aldridge
   Taiwanese Southern Min No Arthur Wang
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: maɲó na bananə Mariə
  Gloss: ate a banana Mary
  Translation: Mary ate a banana
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
  Words: kulpó lu ladrə lu puliziottə
  Gloss: hit the thief the policeman
  Translation: the policeman hit the thief
  Comment: Marked form
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Thai No Peter Jenks
+ Tigre No Zhenyu Sun
  Comment: “As a SOV language the verb in Tigre is at the end of the sentence.” The Semitic Languages, Weninger, Stefan P1146
  Contributor: Zhenyu Sun
   Titan No Claire Bowern
   Tiwa No Virginia Dawson
+ Tlingit Yes James Crippen
  Words: a-wu-0-si-teen xóots wé shaawát-ch
  Gloss: 3P-PFV-3A-CLF[−D,s,+I]-see brown.bear DEM.MDIST woman-ERG
  Translation: that woman saw a brown bear
  Contributor: James Crippen
   Tommo-So No Laura McPherson
   Tongan Yes Hilda Koopman
   Triqui, Copala No George Aaron Broadwell
+ Tukang Besi Yes Mark Donohue
  Words: Nomanga te kaujawa na mia
  Gloss: 3R-eat CORE cassava NOM person
  Translation: The person ate some cassava
  Contributor: Mark Donohue
   Tuki (Tukombo) No Edmond Biloa
   Tupi (Ancient) Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish Yes Murat Kural
   Tuvan No Brian Hsu
   Twi No Chris Collins
   Udmurt No Orsolya Tanczos
   Ukrainian No Roksolana Mykhaylyk possible in certain non neutral contexts
   Vata No Hilda Koopman
   Vietnamese No Binh Ngo
   Vlaški-Žejanski-Istro-Romanian No Zvjezdana Vrzic
   Wan No Tatiana Nikitina
   Warlpiri Yes Margit Bowler
   Welsh No David Willis
   West Flemish No Liliane Haegeman
   Western Armenian Yes Hrayr Khanjian
   Wolane No Hannah Kim
   Wolof No Harold Torrence
   Wuhu Chinese No Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa No Xiujie Ma
   Yémba No Elsie Mawamba
   Yan-nhaŋu Yes Claire Bowern
   Yawa No Mark Donohue
   Yiddish No Shannon Mooney
   Yoruba No Johnson Folorunso Ilori
+ Zamboageño Chabacano Yes Grace Gaspardo
  Words: Ya compra flores si Jose.
  Gloss: PST buy flowers DET Jose
  Translation: Jose bought flowers.
  Contributor: Grace Gaspardo
   Zulu No Claire Halpert