Forthcoming: Post-predicate elements in the Western Asian Transition Zone: A corpus-based approach to areal typology

Geoffrey Haig (ed), Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand (ed), Donald Stilo (ed), Laurentia Schreiber (ed), Nils Schiborr (ed)


This volume explores word-order phenomena across a phylogenetically diverse sample of languages covering a region loosely referred to as the Western Asian Transition Zone, approximately corresponding to western Iran, northern Iraq, eastern Turkey and the Caucasus. The sample includes representatives from four branches of Indo-European (Iranian, Hellenic, Armenian, Indo-Aryan) as well as Turkic, Semitic, Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian and Northeast Caucasian. Methodologically, we apply a corpus-based approach to word-order, building on two purpose-built and fully accessible data-bases of spoken language corpora, WOWA (Word Order in Western Asia), and HamBam (Hamedan-Bamberg Corpus of Contemporary Spoken Persian). The majority of the languages are historically OV, yet exhibit high rates of post-verbal elements, and these constitute the primary focus of the volume. One of the major findings is the importance of semantic role in determining pre- versus post-verbal placement of clausal constituents: We identify a consistent bias towards post-verbal placement of spatial Goals, which is amplified by increasing areal proximity to the VO languages of the southwestern periphery of the region (Semitic). In the languages in and adjacent to the Caucasus, on the other hand, we find stronger effects of information structure in triggering post-verbal position. Along with contributions on individual languages and varieties, the volume includes an overview chapter outlining the theoretical background and the data sources, summary chapters on sub-regions, as well as contributions from an experimental and psycholinguistic perspective.


  • Post-predicate elements in the Western Asian Transition Zone
    Data, theory, and methods
    Geoffrey Haig, Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand, Donald Stilo
  • Post-predicate elements in Modern colloquial Persian
    A multifactorial analysis
    Geoffrey Haig, Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand, Nils Schiborr, Elham Izadi, Mehdi Parizadeh
  • Word order in the speech of Kurmanji-Turkish bilinguals
    Kateryna Iefremenko
  • Prosodic properties of the post- predicate domain
    Stavros Skopeteas
  • Mining the Western Asian corpora for signals of areality
    Methods and findings
    Geoffrey Haig, Nils Schiborr
  • Post-predicate elements in Kartvelian and East Caucasian
    Diana Forker
  • Post-predicate elements in Adyghe
    Diana Forker
  • Word order and post-predicate elements in Romeyka
    Laurentia Schreiber, Mark Janse
  • East Armenian
    Katherine Hodgson, Victoria Khurshudyan, Pollet Samvelian
  • Western Armenian
    Anaud Donabedian, Tabita Toparlak
  • Kholosi
    Maryam Nourzaei
  • Balochi
    Geoffrey Haig, Maryam Nourzaei
  • Bashkardi
    Agnes Korn
  • Word order in Khuzestani Arabic
    Bettina Leitner
  • Neo-Aramaic in Iran and northeastern Iraq
    Paul Noorlander
  • Arabic and Aramaic in eastern Anatolia
    Paul Noorlander
  • Syntactic convergence in eastern Anatolia
    A corpus-based approach
    Geoffrey Haig, Laurentia Schreiber, Mahîr Dogan
  • Zagros region
    The Kurdish-Gorani continuum
    Masoud Mohammadirad
  • Word order in Early New Persian (10-13th Century CE)
    Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand, Mehdi Parizadeh


Geoffrey Haig, University of Bamberg

Geoffrey Haig is professor of linguistics at the University of Bamberg. He specializes in language typology and areal linguistics, with a focus on quantitative methodologies drawing on multi-lingual spoken-language corpora.

Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand is professor of linguistics at Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran. His research centres on the syntax of Persian and other new Iranian languages. He has published on issues connected with word order, clitics, definiteness, transitivity, aspect and evidentiality.

Donald Stilo

Donald L. Stilo has a B.S. in Languages from Georgetown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Linguistics with a concentration in Iranian languages. He taught Persian in various universities in the United States, was a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, for ten years, and in 2005/2006 was a fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies in Uppsala. He has been retired since 2012 and splits his time between the United States and the Netherlands.

Laurentia Schreiber, University of Bamberg

Laurentia Schreiber is a researcher at the Department of General Linguistics at the University of Bamberg. She focuses on language contact and multilingualism in minority languages and obtained her PhD recently with a grammar of endangered Romeyka in Turkey.

Nils Schiborr, University of Bamberg

Nils Schiborr is a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of General Linguistics at the University of Bamberg. He has worked on discourse processing, referential choice, and the interface of discourse and grammar, chiefly from a corpus-based typological perspective. He has co-developed a number of annotated corpora for typological research, among them the Word Order in Western Asia Corpus (WOWA), the Hamedan-Bamberg Corpus of Contemporary Spoken Persian (HamBam), and the Multilingual Corpus of Annotated Spoken Texts (Multi-CAST).

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April 24, 2023
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Haig, Geoffrey, Rasekh-Mahand, Mohammad, Stilo, Donald, Schreiber, Laurentia & Schiborr, Nils (eds.). Forthcoming. Post-predicate elements in the Western Asian Transition Zone: A corpus-based approach to areal typology. (Contact and Multilingualism). Berlin: Language Science Press.


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