March 21, 2004

Language and Politics

Our recent discussion of the relationship between case-marking and military prowess reminded me of a humorous piece by J. Moore and K. Wohlmut entitled Towards a New Word Order on the relationship between politics and word order. It begins:

During the cold war, the balance of power seemed equally divided between the West, dominated by SVO speakers, and the Soviet Bloc, dominated by Scrambling speakers. However, with the end of the cold war, and the emergence of the West as the surviving political force, there emerged the possibility of a new dominant word order. As scrambling Russia fell into turmoil, the SVO West waxed. A major victory for SVO forces came with the reunification of Germany, where the East Germans threw off the yoke of their scrambling masters, and were able to assert their fixed-order heritage. Seizing the opportunity, the United States declared the emergence of a New Word Order: SVO.
You can read the rest here.

Posted by Bill Poser at March 21, 2004 11:58 PM