Basic word order of nominal adverbials

Nominal (oblique) adverbials (marked here as X) are a type of adjunct to the verb, headed by a noun. [1] These adjuncts express destination, instrument, accompaniment, recipient and other circumstances. Adverbials of manner and time are not considered, since their word order often diverges from those of other adverbials.

The word order of nominal adverbials is based on the word order of V and O[2] in basic transitive word order (see parameter Basic word order (S, V,O)).

  1. If the language displays value NoBWO for parameter Basic word order (S, V,O), its value for this parameter is by default NoXBWO.
  2. If the language displays a value other than NoBWO, further examination should occur of sentences fulfilling the criteria of parameter Basic word order (S, V,O), with the additional requirement of the nominal adverbial specified above.


NoXBWO: There is no basic word order of nominal adverbials.

VO~X: Basic word order is VO; the position of X varies.[3]

OV~X: Basic word order is XVO; the position of X varies.

XVO: Basic word order is XVO.

VXO: Basic word order is VXO.[4]

VOX: Basic word order is VOX.

XOV: Basic word order is XOV.

OXV: Basic word order is OXV.

OVX: Basic word order is OVX.

When a language displays more than one type, multiple values can be listed. If one type is dominant, a slash (/) can separate the two values, with the dominant value appearing first; if neither is dominant, they are listed with an ampersand (&) separating the two.


[1] The noun may be inflected, uninflected, or adpositional. Arguments, which are by definition not adjuncts, should not be considered; this includes the arguments expressing the recipient of a ditransitive verb.

[2] Since the position of the subject is not considered, both SVO and VSO constitute VO.

[3] If only two of the possible three options occur, this should be mentioned in the commentary. This also applies to value OV~X.

[4] Although this basic word order is theoretically possible, it has not yet been documented in any language.