There are six logical possibilities of verb, object and subject orderings possible.

In fact subject object and verb seems to be the the most common framing of language.

Why isn't this seen as a irrefutable proof demonstrating humans have inherent biases?

  • i don't really get the question. a smoking gun is when you cite a multi billionaire as an authority, imho
    – user66760
    Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 5:54
  • Ah sorry ... Bad English :p ... I thought it meant something else :p Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 5:56
  • credit where it's due, i think this is an ok to good question. you might want to add that other framings are no worse
    – user66760
    Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 5:58
  • 1
    Yes ... No framing is better than another Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 6:03
  • 1
    I haven't gone into the depths of their arguments but they don't seem to think so Commented Jul 26, 2023 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


A few reasons why:

  • Word order variation - While SOV may be most frequent, there is still significant diversity in word order across languages. SVO, VSO, VOS, OSV, OVS orders exist, demonstrating flexibility.

  • Linguistic relativism debates - The idea that language shapes thought is controversial. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis on linguistic relativism is still hotly debated, with no consensus on whether language determines thought patterns.

  • Universal grammar theories - Many linguists argue all languages share a universal innate grammar shaped by human cognition, allowing variation in surface features like word order. This challenges the idea word order reflects biases.

  • Acquisition abilities - Humans can learn any language equally well, regardless of word order conventions, undermining the idea orderings reflect inherent biases.

  • Functional motivations - Word orders often have functional motivations (e.g. topic-first in SOV) rather than cognitive basis. The frequencies stem from syntactic-pragmatic factors.

  • Lack of causality - Correlation does not mean causation. Even if certain word orders are more common cross-linguistically, it does not definitively prove psychological biases.

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