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I am looking for a word (which may not exist!). It means something like "relating to the order in which things are written down or expressed"; not, however, the the order in a dictionary (that would be "lexicographical") but rather the order in normal writing.

So, if the word was "freddographical" I could talk about English and French being freddographically different because in English one says "blue car" but in French it is "auto bleu". Equally, in the UK we write a date 30/04/2011 but in the US they write 04/30/2011; I would call that a freddographical difference.

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-1 So French and English would be freddo different just because have a noun+adjective in different positions? That will make all languages different. And you compare an entire language with a dictionary... –  Theta30 Dec 15 '11 at 12:27
    
In a given context, yes, freddovariant (sounds nice, already!). The entire language may not be the subject of the discussion. –  Kris Dec 15 '11 at 13:01
    
Do you mean syntax? That is, the syntax of adjectives is different in French and English? –  Mitch Dec 15 '11 at 13:31
    
Something that encompasses the order in which words appear in a sentence, phrase, and conventions like date formatting? Syntax, as @Mitch suggested, seems to cover the concept, which is otherwise too narrowly specific to be of much use. –  JeffSahol Dec 15 '11 at 14:01

6 Answers 6

Ordinal

In the absence of any specific qualifier such as lexical or chronological, it would probably be just ordinal I guess.

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To clarify further, in normal usage, one might describe two jackets as "a green padded jacket" and "a blue padded jacket". –  Paul C Dec 15 '11 at 14:17
    
To clarify further, in normal usage, one might describe two jackets as "a green padded jacket" and "a blue padded jacket". However in a catalogue the descriptions might be "Jacket, Padded, Green" and Jacket, Padded, Blue", so that similar items came together in alphabetical order. The terms mean the same thing, but are clearly not the same. I am looking for a word which encapsulates the difference. (BTW, I am looking for a single word or short phrase as I will have to use it many times in a single document. Such is my useless life!) –  Paul C Dec 15 '11 at 14:25

You might get away with "precedence" or "priority", though of course neither refers to this specific case.

"Subsequence" or "posteriority" refer to something that follows something else, with "precedence", "antecedence" or "anteriority" working in the other direction.

Are you allowed to coin a term yourself, if you can't find one? Could languages be ordoverborically different? :-)

Have a look at the WP Word Order page for some hints at how this gets expressed by others.

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In this context, I think the phrase you are looking for is "word order". I'd agree with Kris that "ordinal" would apply in a more general sense, as in, "having to do with order".

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The best terms would be typology or morphology, or derivations (such as typological).

Linguistic typology is a field of linguistics that studies and classifies languages according to their structural features. Morphological typology is a way of classifying the languages of the world according to their common morphological structures, and on the basis of how those languages form words by combining morphemes.

"English and French are typologically different because in English one says "blue car" but in French it is "auto bleu". Equally, in the UK we write a date 30/04/2011 but in the US they write 04/30/2011; I would call that a typological difference."

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I think the word you are looking for is "respectively."

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I don't think that, "English and French are respectively different because in English one says 'blue car' but in French it is 'auto bleu'" makes much sense. –  Jim Jan 14 at 4:10

The word is syntactically, from:

syntax : 1. (Linguistics) the branch of linguistics that deals with the grammatical arrangement of words and morphemes in the sentences of a language or of languages in general

Your sentence becomes:

English and French are syntactically different because in English one says "blue car" but in French it is "auto bleu".

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