Abstract
The majority of the extant languages have one of three dominant basic word orders: SVO, SOV or VSO. Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain this word order bias, including the existence of a universal grammar, the learnability imposed by cognitive constraints, the descent of modern languages from an ancestral protolanguage, and the constraints from functional principles. We run simulations using a multi-agent computational model to study this bias. Following a local order approach, the model simulates individual language processing mechanisms in production and comprehension. The simulation results demonstrate that the semantic structures that a language encodes can constrain the global syntax, and that local syntax can help trigger bias towards the global order SOV/SVO.
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DOI 10.1075/is.10.1.04gon
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