Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Word Order, Modern
(1,374 words)

Different principles determine the word order in a Chinese sentence. The most important two are that Chinese languages are at heart SVO and that old information precedes new information. An additional principle is that if there is a conflict between these two principles, the latter (information structure) overrules the former (basic order). Thus, if the object presents old information while the rest of the verb phrase is in focus presenting new information, the object will occupy a position to the left of the verb.




Zhè   běn  shū    wǒ   yǐjīng      kàn   guo.


dem  clf  bo…

Cite this page
Rint SYBESMA, “Word Order, Modern”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000458>
First published online: 2015

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