Word order is at the core of natural language grammatical systems, interacting with all their structural components, linking syntax with sound (prosody) and meaning (semantics/pragmatics), manifesting the characteristic "displacement property", which lays behind the opposition between basic/marked word orders, and feeding variation across the geographic and temporal axes. After decades of work on word order, as a central property of grammar, time has come to creatively articulate the successful but often separate efforts of typologists, historical and generative linguists, so as to take full advantage of both the existing large-scale cross-linguistic surveys and the more circumscribed and in depth analyses of theory-oriented researchers.

The project WOChWEL is exploratory, reunites a small team of experienced linguists, with diverse backgrounds, "paths" and skills, and intends to take tentative steps toward strengthening cooperation and easing the sharing of information between researchers working on word order, and word order-related facts, under a comparative perspective. VS order, extraposition, object scrambling, clitic placement, topic and focus movement, negation, and emphatic polarity are among the possible topics to be investigated within the project.

From the perspective of the Portuguese language, it is necessary to fill a gap in the availability of linguistic resources to access Old Portuguese syntactic data. The project WOChWEL will contribute to bring Portuguese on a par with other Western European languages whose earlier stages can be investigated by means of the automatic search of parsed corpora annotated under similar standards (namely, the Penn-Helsinki annotation system). The sharing of standards for parsed corpora makes a comparative survey of data conceived to answer particular questions utterly productive. The syntactic annotation task is to be implemented in close cooperation with the Post Scriptum team at CLUL and the Tycho Brahe team at UNICAMP, São Paulo.

 FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia     
 Duration: 3 years
 Project Start: March 2012
 Project End: February 2015