Word Order in Finnish: Nonconfigurationality, movement or adjunction?

Pauli Brattico


Finnish word order is relatively free when compared with several Indo-European languages. This article reviews the literature and finds three existing hypotheses concerning the origin of the phenomenon: (1) the nonconfigurationality hypothesis, according to which Finnish lacks syntactic structure, either partially or fully; (2) the movement hypothesis, according to which the wide range of word order permutations are produced by movement; and (3) the adjunction hypothesis, according to which thematic arguments can be attached to the phrase structure as adjuncts and behave syntactically like adverbs. Of these three hypotheses the nonconfigurationality hypothesis finds no empirical support and is rejected. A hybrid model, according to which the word order results from both movement and adjunction, is considered to best account for the facts.

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