SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

IpseDixit

SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-11-26, 0:44

So, I've been thinking that apparently all kinds of word orders are allowed in Italian.

To make things clearer, let's consider an example.

Alessia mangia una mela. (SVO, that would be the standard version), but let's touch things up a little bit.

Alessia una mela mangia (SOV, to me it sounds ok, the emphasis is on the word mela)

Mangia una mela, Alessia. (VOS, ok, in this case the intonation is really important, because it could also sound like an imperative followed by a vocative, but nonetheless it sounds correct to me)

Mangia Alessia una mela. (VSO, kinda ok, a bit poetic maybe)

Una mela, mangia Alessia. (OVS, again, here intonation is very important, otherwise it could be understood as the apple eating Alessia)

Una mela Alessia mangia. (OSV, sounds ok to me)

What do you think about that?

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS

Postby MillMaths » 2013-11-26, 6:58

I notice that subject–object subject–verb inversion is common in the second of two continguous clauses, especially with intransitive verbs.

    Mentre il ragazzo dormiva, è venuta Alessia.
    Alessia è venuta mentre dormiva il ragazzo.
Perhaps the VSO is employed like this?

    Mentre il ragazzo dormiva, ha mangiato Alessia una mela.
:hmm:
Last edited by MillMaths on 2013-11-26, 12:47, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-11-26, 11:28

Nehushtan wrote:I notice that subject–object inversion is common in the second of two continguous clauses, especially with intransitive verbs.

    Mentre il ragazzo dormiva, è venuta Alessia.
    Alessia è venuta mentre dormiva il ragazzo.
Perhaps the VSO is employed like this?

    Mentre il ragazzo dormiva, ha mangiato Alessia una mela.
:hmm:


Subject verb inversion is very frequent indeed, especially when there isn't an object complement, but I don't see the pattern you have described, indeed you can say:

è venuta Alessia mentre il ragazzo dormiva

So, yeah, VS is really frequent, whereas VSO not that much, your last sentence doesn't sound that good. I think VSO is probably limited to very few cases.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS

Postby MillMaths » 2013-11-26, 12:50

Sorry, I meant subject–verb inversion, not subject–object inversion. Sorry for the confusion. :oops:

So, I take it such inversion is only common with intransitive verbs rather than transitive ones? :)

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-11-26, 19:21

Yes. However, when a verb is intransitive, but can be used also as a transitive one, the Subject-Verb inversion is not allowed. I cannot say:

Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra.

The reason is that the verb "dormire" can be used as a transitive verb, for instance in a sentence like "dormire un sonno tranquillo".

@ ipsedixit:

All the sentences you've written in your first lost are grammatical. I wouldn't say "Una mela, mangia Alessia", but rather "Una mela mangia, Alessia", with the stop before Alessia. But is the same word order comprehensible when you use other names, like ragno and cavalletta?
Here are two examples:

Il ragno (subject) mangia la cavalletta
vs
La cavalletta mangia, il ragno (subject).

In the second sentence there isn't any intonation that can communicate that the subject is il ragno. I think that only an abrupt stop after the verb "mangia" can indicate that the subject is "ragno". This sentence means that it is a cavalletta that the spider eats, and not an other kind of animal, as someone thought. Otherwise, you have to insert the object pronoun "la" before the verb "mangia": la cavalletta la mangia il ragno. This sentence has, however, a different meaning, because it stresses the fact that, as for the cavalletta, what happens to it is that a spider eats it.
Last edited by Massimiliano B on 2013-11-26, 23:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-11-26, 21:13

Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria è entrata.


I find it ok actually. Though the meaning would be slightly different, it would stress the fact that it's Antonio that is sleeping, not someone else.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-11-27, 0:19

The correct sentence had to be this:

Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra

I wrongly wrote "è entrata" because I had written firstly a different sentence ("mentra dormiva Antonio, Maria è entrata").

To me the following sentence "Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra" sounds ungrammatical. I agree with you only if someone asks "Chi dorme?" or "Chi è che dorme?". The answer for these kinds of questions can be "dorme Antonio!". In this case, this answer emphasizes the fact that who is doing the action of sleeping is Antonio, and not someone else. This kind of focusing uses the strategy of the dislocation of the subject from its natural position (here, the subject in its natural position is before the verb) to a different position (here, after the verb). The same focus on the subject, however, can be obtained by using just the simple normal word order ("Antonio dorme!") and by pronouncing the name "Antonio" with a louder voice ("Antonio (!!!) dorme"; "Antonio" is said aloud, while "dorme" has a lower tone).
It's a pity that the usual writing system is unable to convey all the nuances that the spoken language is able to communicate.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS …

Postby MillMaths » 2013-11-27, 9:14

Massimiliano B wrote:The correct sentence had to be this:

Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra
Massimiliano B wrote:To me the following sentence "Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra" sounds ungrammatical.

Sorry, I’m totally lost. Which one is correct/grammatical? :shock:

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS …

Postby IpseDixit » 2013-11-27, 10:44

Nehushtan wrote:
Massimiliano B wrote:The correct sentence had to be this:

"Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra"
Massimiliano B wrote:To me the following sentence "Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra" sounds ungrammatical.

Sorry, I’m totally lost. Which one is correct/grammatical? :shock:


He meant that the correct form is: "Mentre dorme Antonio, Maria entra" in the present form, and not in the past form as he initially wrote by mistake. But nonetheless that sentence would sound ungrammatical because of the subject-verb inversion (dorme Antonio), except for the particular case above mentioned. Hope it's clear.

It's a pity that the usual writing system is unable to convey all the nuances that the spoken language is able to communicate.


True, but when things are in context, it's easier to pick up on the different nuances.

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby OldBoring » 2013-12-01, 6:44

A common OVS would be "La mela l'ha mangiata Alessia" instead of "La mela, mangia Alessia".

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Re: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS...

Postby Massimiliano B » 2013-12-01, 14:10

I wrote about that in a previous post. Though I think there's a difference between

1) La mela l'ha mangiata Alessia

and

2) La mela ha mangiato, Alessia


In my opinion, the second sentence stresses the word "mela". It means "it is an apple that Alessia ate". The first just means "as for the apple, Alessia ate it".


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