Refining Greenberg’s (1963) Universal 20, Cinque (2005) and Dryer (2009) show that the typological distribution of the order of the four elements Demonstrative, Numeral, Adjective, and Noun is extremely uneven. There are 24 possible permutations of these elements, but only 5 of them constitute the dominant orders across languages (1i). Another 9 orders are attested, but are less frequent (1ii). The final 10 word orders are either unattested or extremely rare, accounting altogether for less than 1% of languages (1iii).

Cinque’s syntactic account of these generalizations is based on the assumption that the base order is as shown in (2), and on a constraint on movement.

In this proposal, neither head movement nor the movement of any constituent that does not contain the NP is allowed. Different types of permitted movements are assigned different costs, expressed as degrees of markedness. Roll-up movement...

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