Post-predicate Elements in Iranian: Inheritance, Contact, and Information Structure

Funded by the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung

Funding period: 01.07.2019-30.06.2022

PI's: Geoffrey Haig (Bamberg); Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand (Hamedan)


Iranian languages are routinely classified as "verb final". While this is true with regard to the position of (non-pronominal) direct objects, which are generally pre-verbal, in several West Iranian languages, certain other constituents occur more or less systematically after the verb. The result is a typologically unusual and hitherto largely ignored OVX word order type within West Iranian. Furthermore, OVX word order has been identified in unrelated languages in contact with Iranian, including Turkic, and Neo-Aramaic.

Click here for the position paper.

This project brings together leading international experts on Iranian and neighbouring languages in order to explore

  • the extent of OVX word order within Iranian, and its genesis within the family
  • the areal spread of OVX word order in neighbouring languages, and the pathways of transmission
  • information-structural correlates of  OVX word order
  • typological implications of OVX word order.

The Word Order in Western Asia Corpus

Datasets from the project are successively uploaded to this website, where they are available for quantitative analysis. Data sets include minimally a spreadsheet with coded data and metadata; most data sets also include the source texts (e.g. as pdf) and sound files. The architecture of the corpus largely follows the design implemented in MultiCAST.

The HamBam Corpus (Hamedan-Bamberg Corpus of Contemporary Spoken Persian)

Issues of information structure are primarily investigated using a corpus of contemporary spoken Persian, which is currently being jointly compiled at Hamedan and Bamberg. Results are available here. The architecture of the corpus largely follows the design implemented in MultiCAST.

Workshop series

The associated scholars meet once a year for three years, with the aim of producing a  multi-lingual survey of post-predicate structures across Iranian and neighbouring languages. Click here for the first workshop (Bamberg 6-7th September 2019)

Data survey

Data is currently being compiled for a sample languages, using a standardized spreadsheet template and coding scheme:

Click here(257.4 KB) for the current coding scheme.

Click here(63.0 KB) for the revised (January 2021) Excel template for data coding.