chapter  23
16 Pages

Word order

WithAslı Göksel, Celia Kerslake

In Turkish word order is variable. Changing the order of the constituents in a sentence is used as a means of distinguishing new information from background information and of making a certain constituent prominent in the discourse. Shifting the position of sentence stress serves a similar purpose. The variations in word order, together with the position of sentence stress, affect the meaning of a sentence. The initial position in a sentence is often used to indicate what the sentence is 'about', in other words its topic. Non-case-marked direct objects and oblique objects occur in the immediately preverbal position when they precede the predicate. Adverbial phrases of time generally precede those expressing location, which in turn precede those expressing manner. Through scrambling it is possible to topicalize any constituent except those that obligatorily occur in the immediately preverbal position.