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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2005, Vol. 36, No. 3, Pages 367-387
(doi: 10.1162/0024389054396890)
© 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tree Traversal and Word Order
Article PDF (103.84 KB)

This article looks at how the two-dimensional organization of a syntactic tree is translated into a one-dimensional string. It proposes a method of linearization that extracts the terminal string by visiting the nodes of a tree systematically in a predetermined order, either preorder, inorder, or postorder traversal. Crucially, it also argues that given a particular formulation of the extraction process, the traversal method chosen by individual languages produces the well-known crosslinguistic variations in word order typology (SVO, SOV, VSO, etc.) without having to resort to remnant movement.