1 Order of subject, object, and verb

This feature is described more fully in chapter 1.


This feature (based on WALS feature 81, by Matthew S. Dryer) concerns the ordering of subject, object and verb in non-contrastive, non-focussed transitive clauses without special topicalization, more specifically declarative clauses with both the subject and object realized as full nouns (not as pronouns).

We use subject and object in a semantic sense, to refer to the agent-like and patient-like constituents in a monotransitive clause, as in e.g. French [Les souris] mangent [le fromage] 'The mice eat the cheese'. As can be seen from this example, French has SVO order (Subject-Verb-Object), because the subject les souris 'the mice' precedes the verb and the object le fromage 'the cheese' follows it. Since we only consider non-contrastive, non-focussed, non-topicalized clauses, cases like English It is the cheese that the mice eat (=OSV) are disregarded here.

There are six logically possible orders of subject, object and verb, as shown in the list of feature values. Languages can have several word orders (e.g. German is SVO and VSO in main clauses and SOV in subordinate clauses), so several values can be true for this feature.


Magnus Huber and the APiCS Consortium


Subject-verb-object (SVO)611071
Subject-object-verb (SOV)11112
Verb-subject-object (VSO)077
Verb-object-subject (VOS)033
Object-subject-verb (OSV)033
Object-verb-subject (OVS)022

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details