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False Chinese example?

I wonder if that sentence is still SVO instead of OSV. The sentence can be written as "?" i.e. "The orange is eaten". I don't think "orange" is a object here. Just a simple passive sentence similar to one in English. Zuxy (talk) 07:36, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you. The right example should be like "?" (The dinner have you eaten?) or "" (Today's mathematics class have you attended?).
As for the sentence the writer presents, "orange" can't be an object, becanse you can't add any "subject", like "" (That orange I was eaten), which is not a sentence. Though you can add "me" to be "" (That orange by me was eaten), however, me is obviously an object of the verb ? (or preposition by). You can just shorten the sentence to "" (That orange was eaten.) Then we can see (that orange) is an subject. (talk) 08:36, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Note that in the article Object Verb Subject there is mention of the passive in English as not an example of OVS because the fronted patient becomes the subject. If there are true examples of OSV in Chinese, perhaps there needs to be some mention of how the object does not become the subject when fronted in Chinese passives. (talk) 20:22, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree absolutely that this is a false example--the notion of 'active' and 'passive' in Chinese is basically just trying to squeeze the language into Western grammatical structures, anyway. There is no real difference between active and passive in Chinese? meaning 'the orange was eaten' is structurally identical to ? meaning 'I ate it all up'.
In the agent-specifying (or passivising) construction using ?, the orange is the topic (or subject, if you will), and 'by me' is an adverbial phrase, just like in English.
? is a better phrase to use, but I still wouldn't really call it a case of OSV. is not really an object in the sentence, but a topic semi-detached from the phrase itself. While it's not very common and does sound somewhat clumsy, an actual, unambiguous object can be added within the phrase: ('Dinner you eat tofu?' = 'Did you have tofu at/for dinner?'), where it becomes clear that the topic acts more like an adverb than a real object.
Since there's good agreement that the Chinese example is not actually OSV, I'm going to take it out. Kokoshneta (talk) 21:05, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

"To Rome": Adverbial, not Object

I would classify "To Rome" in "To Rome I shall go!" as an Adverbial (an adjunct), not as an Object (a complement) and therefore the sentence is not an example of OSV. However, I'm not a linguist. (talk) 20:34, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Strictly, in all these syntactic types, 'object' should be replaced by 'predicate', since, obviously, intransitive verbs don't have objects. It's best to think of OSV, etc., as classifications of languages rather than individual sentences. An OSV language will tend to have any predicate, not just an object, before the subject. --Pfold (talk) 17:49, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I would disagree with that. There are OSV languages, but there are certainly also OSV sentences, also in languages that are not typically OSV themselves. This particular example is easily 'fixed' by simply changing the verb and removing the preposition, e.g., "Rome I shall see!" (which I'm going to go do right now). Kokoshneta (talk) 21:07, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Merge proposal

I agree about the merger, but following resource standards, "Object Subject Verb" should be the main article title. Also, the discussion should be pasted here before a redirect is made. Wakuran (talk) 15:37, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Arabic language can have OSV(look to qoran)typology,for example:nawatan al qittu qata'=a nut(-accusative suffix)the cat(-nominative suffix)cutted. ?

Arabic language can have OSV(look to qoran)typology,for example:nawatan al qittu qata'=a nut(-accusative suffix)the cat(-nominative suffix)cutted. ?

Humanbyrace (talk) 11:31, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Not strict for Latin

Regarding the table of order frequencies from Russell S. Tomlin. It's been a while since I used Latin, but I seem to recall there being no specific word order required within a clause. (talk) 19:04, 28 March 2013 (UTC)


The section on American sign language is gobbledygook to me, and needs an expert to turn it into intelligible English. I've had a go at making sense of the rest. Chrismorey (talk) 08:19, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

As far as I know, the canonical word order in ASL is not actually agreed upon. I've seen it described as topic-comment, SVO, SOV and verb-final. I'm removing it, anyone is free to re-add it with a proper source.--Megaman en m (talk) 07:24, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

English and German

The second half of this section is incorrect, as in the examples given the verb is not at the end, so they are not OSV. (There is an additional difficulty with the verb being 'is', which arguably does not have an object at all, but a subject and a complement, but there is no need to invoke this complication). I suggest deleting the 'is' examples, but I am not sufficiently certain to do it without someone giving a second opinion. MalcolmStory21 (talk) 14:56, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Unattested examples, and unsourced claims have been around too long; I've started to remove them. Mathglot (talk) 07:17, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Sadly having unattested language examples is very common on these kinds of articles. Nothing to do but either leave it as is, remove it or painstakingly find a source/replacement.--Megaman en m (talk) 07:21, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
The examples don't have to be attested if they're judged grammatical by native speakers. (I don't mean by this either to denigrate the importance of evidence outside mere introspection or to defend various aspects of this article.) Example here: "What I do is my own business." Form of the main clause: [subject] is [predicative complement]. So of course this is irrelevant. But the text (not written by me!) was about the relative clause (RC), "what I do". (Relative to what? Well, it's a "fused relative".) And "what" does kind of look like the object. However, it isn't the object. A relative clause has something missing, and what's missing in this one is the object.
Getting actual examples of "what I do is [blah blah]" is easy. The NOW corpus currently has 1851 tokens of this string; many are clearly irrelevant to what was in our contributor's mind, but many are relevant. The trouble is, it illustrates not "object, subject, verb" but "fused relative, RC subject, RC verb, omission of relativized object".
A certain degree of rearrangement is possible in English. By itself, "The cash I took" sounds ridiculous; however, "I left all the jewelry because I knew I wouldn't be able to sell it, but the cash I took" sounds OK (to me); and with "the cash I took" we do have OSV. I don't have any opinion about whether it's worth noting this. -- Hoary (talk) 07:44, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Where you say, The examples don't have to be attested if they're judged grammatical by native speakers, I agree to the extent that there is a published article that states that that particular example is made up, and that it has been viewed by native speakers who agree that it is grammatical. In that case yes. However, examples made up by resource editors that are unsourceable to a published reference, no matter how good, how accurate, or how true, are a complete no-go at resource due to WP:OR. But as you said in the other section below, it's easy to find real-world ones, so no reason to go there. Mathglot (talk) 10:11, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Re, "sadly": the fact that a policy is violated a very large number of times, does not vitiate the policy; it merely means that there is a lot of work to do. This is a volunteer project; if there are a zillion violations, and you want to remove just three of them as being against policy, go ahead and do it. There is absolutely no defense based on the fact that the policy is routinely violated. If people don't like the policy, that is also part of the wiki; they can change the policy. But as long as the OR policy is there, unsourced examples may be removed. The fact that they are extremely common in just about every language article, doesn't change the basic fact of the Verifiability policy: unsourced assertions may be challenged and removed. You don't have to fix the whole encyclopedia all at once. Step by step. Mathglot (talk) 10:17, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Oh yes, "other crap exists" is not an excuse to add more crap. But let's take a look at, say, Object (grammar). Here's a list of example sentences from that:
  1. The girl ate fruit.
  2. We remembered that we had to bring something.
  3. We remembered we had to bring something.
  4. We were waiting for him to explain.
  5. They asked what had happened.
  6. I heard what you heard.
  7. He stopped asking questions.
  8. Sam attempted to leave.
  9. I believe it that she said that.
I've numbered them for convenience. I'll ignore for a moment the question of what they're supposed to be examples of. None of these sentences is sourced. Are you seriously saying that each should be replaced by an explicitly referenced alternative? If so, go for it. I'll observe your effort with amusement (like the effort of the fellow who's determined to stamp out the entirely innocuous expression "comprised of"). Referencing them would be silly -- with the notable exception of the last example (9), which sounds wrong to me. Because it sounds wrong, I want it to be backed up somehow, and a reference would be one way to achieve this. Now let's return to the question of what (in "Object (grammar)") these are supposed to be examples of. The terminology there is dated. It's entirely healthy to disagree with the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language; but like most articles about English grammar, the treatment in that article simply ignores that recent, compendious and excellent reference book; I suspect because the people who like editing such articles like depending on grammar books that agree with what they learned decades before, which was what their teachers had learned decades before (etc etc). Getting material such as that out of the 19th century and into the 21st is, IM"H"O, hugely more important than splattering humdrum examples with references. -- Hoary (talk) 14:02, 18 July 2019 (UTC) typos fixed Hoary (talk) 22:15, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
In connection with this summing-up, if that's what it was:

Referencing them would be silly -- with the notable exception of the last example (9), which sounds wrong to me.

Let me see if I understand you: the ones that sound okay to you, don't need references. But the one example that sounds wrong to you, should have a reference. Am I restating your position fairly? Mathglot (talk) 04:35, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for that link to Object (grammar), by the way. I've replaced one of the unsourced examples. Mathglot (talk) 05:40, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
You asked,

Are you seriously saying that each should be replaced by an explicitly referenced alternative? If so, go for it.

Yes, I am saying that; and okay, I will. Garden-path sentence does it the right way, so why shouldn't we? The task probably involves hundreds, perhaps thousands of articles, many of which have more than one example; so it's a lot of work. I've already started, though; I replaced one example at Object (grammar), and added a reference. That probably leaves a few tens of thousands yet to fix. But maybe some of the other 120,600 active users will help. Mathglot (talk) 08:47, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Sources and Lack Thereof

As already noted in the article, the section called "OSV as marked word order" has a heading declaring no sources are cited within, however, the previous section also is lacking sources, particularly the subsection labeled "Fictitious languages". Here, there is no source whatsoever substantiating any claims, thus a source should certainly be cited for any and all of the claims made therein. Furthermore, of the five sources that are cited on this page, the fifth, which is supposed to cite a reference regarding the OSV instances found in the Yiddish language, no longer works. I suggest it be deleted if someone else can second that it does not work for them either. Dar-bear-dar (talk) 06:14, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Dont't delete dead links; the source is still as valid as ever, presumably. Try instead the {{Dead link}} template. Clean Copytalk 23:45, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
On the other hand, in this case all we have is an author's name and dead link.. Clean Copytalk 23:53, 24 February 2018 (UTC)
It is also definitely not true that Yiddish allows OSV word order. Yiddish is a V2 language, and object-fronting leads to OVS, not OSV. I think this section should be deleted. I suspect the cited source was misinterpreted by whoever wrote the section in the first place; though of course it's impossible to tell since the cited source is no longer identifiable. AJD (talk) 00:51, 25 February 2018 (UTC)
Oop, I found the source: [1]. It definitely does not make the claim that Yiddish allows OSV word order. Deleting the section. AJD (talk) 00:54, 25 February 2018 (UTC)

The most familiar example arguably comes from a fictional context, namely the speech pattern of Yoda, from the Star Wars franchise; not sure if this should be mentioned. Plancsar (talk) 20:41, 24 February 2018 (UTC)

Original research

The article is almost entirely based on original research, unsourced assertions, and unattested examples. On the one hand, this is understandable, because everybody feels like an expert in their native language (and sometimes, in others as well). However, Wikipedia's core principle of verifiability is very clear on this point: All material in resource mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable, and that: Any material that needs a source but does not have one may be removed.

Much of this unsourced material has been here for years. I've started removing things from the English and German section that are unsourced, including made-up examples, and assertions about the two languages. The rest of that section remains unsourced, and should be sourced or deleted. I haven't looked at other sections in detail, but I suspect that the same problem obtains.

Please help find sources for statements already in the article that lack a citation. Any assertion in the article without a reference may be challenged or removed. Mathglot (talk) 07:29, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

As I've tried to explain above, there's nothing wrong with good made-up (pseudo) examples; it's easy to find real-world (pseudo) examples -- the problem is that the so-called examples aren't the examples that they're claimed to be. Actual quote from the NYT: "What you do is a committee project at some point. What I do is not." If somebody thinks "Good-o! Here's an actual example of the object 'what' being moved from after the verb 'do' to a position in front of subject 'you' or 'I'; now I can stick in a reference to the NYT and all's well", then they're wrong; they're merely demonstrating a misunderstanding of relative clauses in general and fused relatives in particular. Citing the NYT in support of the claim may add to its aura of truthiness, but it's still a nonsense. ¶ There can be reasons to insist on a source for examples of this or that construction, but those reasons don't apply here. -- Hoary (talk) 07:54, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Agree with most of what you said, namely adding a NYT example is not enough, they have to be interpreting it correctly; if they don't know what an object is from an adverbial prepositional phrase, then all the highly reliable examples in the world are useless. I take that as a given, and didn't even bother mentioning it. As you point out, made-up examples aren't needed if real ones are available. Mathglot (talk) 10:19, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

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