Changes in Popolocan word order and clause structure
The Popolocan languages (Otomanguean, Mexico) have historically a VSO basic word order. The subject is encoded in the verb, in some verbs subject and human object. For pragmatic reasons a subject or object may be moved into the preverbal prosition. The preverbal argument, often marked by a focus marker, is repeated after the predicate by a nominal or pronominal form — one may say to restore the basic word order. The four Popolocan languages are affected by a change from a VSO into a SVO word order. However, each language shows a different stage of this development by using or omitting the coreferential terms and the focus marker. Comparable observations are made with reference to the instrumental and comitative categories. The encoding in the verb of these arguments is gradually replaced by the use of prepositions, in some languages together with word order changes, each language showing a different degree of development. <br /> As the vast majority of Popolocan speakers are bilingual, these developments are likely to be influenced by the Spanish SVO order.