A Comparative Study of Punjabi and English Word Order: SOV Vs SVO


  • Dr. Abdul Rafay Khan Assistant Professor, Department of English, Government Islamia Graduate College Civil Lines Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
  • Dr. Ghazala Kausar Assistant Professor, Department of English, NUML, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Aziz Ullah Khan Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Science and Technology, Bannu, KP, Pakistan




English, Minimalist Program, Principles and Parameters, Punjabi, Universal Grammar, Linear Correspondence Axiom


This study intends to compare the two languages, Punjabi and English, in terms of their apparently different word orders (i.e., SOV and SVO) under the rubric of Linear Correspondence Axiom (LCA): languages may have a similar underlying word order SVO despite of the apparent variation. In the backdrop of Universal Grammar (i.e., assuming universal principles underlying apparent variation of languages: Principles and Parameters), this study employs the Minimalist framework of Chomsky where LCA is assumed to hold true at least in its empirical conclusions. This study concludes that Punjabi also underlies SVO order at base. Its variation from SVO languages like English is caused by the movement of object to ‘specifier’-I position or Spec Agro position, and the movement of verb+ auxiliary complex to I position. Furthermore, SOV languages also exhibit grammatical structures with SVO word order to strengthen the line of reasoning that basic word order for such languages is SVO. A more extensive study into movement operations and possibility of flexible word orders in languages may help the future studies in reaching correct conclusion with respect to word order.





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How to Cite

Khan, A. R., Kausar, G., & Khan, A. U. (2023). A Comparative Study of Punjabi and English Word Order: SOV Vs SVO. Pakistan Languages and Humanities Review, 7(1), 146–158. https://doi.org/10.47205/plhr.2023(7-I)14