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# 12



learners writing


The Syntax of
of the Amazigh language

The Development Of
English In China: Chinglish
Every Child Is
A Natural Conlanger
Vowel Systems Around
The World

Dear readers,
This two month special edition of Conlangs Monthly commemorates the first anniversary of
the starting of this publication. We wanted it to be a showcase of the great work that so many
different people in the conlanging community do, as well as other themes and topics. Thats why
for this issue weve picked some of our favourite articles from past editions as well as new ones!
Since our first edition back in December 2014, weve come a long way. Weve had interviews with
some fantastic people, a plethora of different articles, and some amazing poetry and creative writing.
None of this would have been possible without the support and contributions of so many people, this
publication is as much a community effort as it is something produced by just a handful of editors.
We hope that this publication will continue in the future to be an exhibit of the truly wonderful work
that so many people put in to their creations, often going unnoticed and ignored.
Heres to a new year!

The Development Of
English In China: Chinglish


-Jacqueline Woo-

Anarf a h-Armgha


-Marc Odomhaill-

Confidence in


How Conlanging Affects How We

Perceive The World


-Josh Rocchio-

-Gabe Witmonger-

Are There Real Benefits To Being Bilingual?


-Melissa Beattie-Moss-

Language of the Month:

Crimean/Crimean Tatar


-Naoki Watanabe-

Are You An Attriter?

-Sabrina Palis-


The Syntax of Demonstratives Of

The Amazigh Language:


Every Child Is A Natural Conlanger


Testing Learners Writing


Linking My Theory of Metaphor(m)

to Pragmatic Use


-Abderrahmane Ouatirou-

-Gabe Witmonger-

-Ikrame Chibani-

-Mark Staff Brandl-

Vowel Systems Around The World


-Rodrigo Pereira-

10 Commandments
For Successful Conlanging


The Swadesh List


-Gabe Witmonger-

-Reill Bautista-

Editor in Chief:
Jonathan Fleury

Standard Arabic: Phonology, Morphology;

Rapprochements with English


Interview with
David J. Peterson


-Youness Faridi-

Proof Reading & Editing

Christian Evans

-Conlangs Monthly Team-

The Septuagint:
A Short History Of Bible Translation
And Canonicity
-Raphael Camiso-

Layout Design & Graphics

Gabe Witmonger


Gabe Witmonger
Jonathan Fleury

The Development Of
English In China: Chinglish
Analysing the variation of English used in
China focusing on age groups
By the British colonial past and the USAs economic
power, English was well placed as the major language
over the world in last centuries. Consequently,
English, nowadays, is still considered as a more
commonly used language in many non-native
English countries, such as Singapore, India, and
the Philippines, which are colonial countries in
the Outer Circle. Not surprisingly, in recent years,
English has spread far and wide in the countries
of the Expanding Circle, such as China, Korea and
Japan. However, the appearance of the concept of
multiple Englishes reflects the reality that English
is no longer what it used to be. In todays society,
when we speak of English, we do not just limit it
to British English and American English. Instead,
we are more concerned about the existence of the
development of new Englishes in the Outer Circle
and the Expanding Circle, such as Singapore
English, Indian English and Asian English.
Chinese English, so called Chinglish, results from
the combination of Chinese culture and the English
language. If you go to China, you will easily stumble
across English-style signs like: carefully band head
(Fig 1). This awkward sign is a typical example of
Chinglish, as what we call Chinese style English.
Of course, written or spoken Chinglish sounds
very weird and strange to English native speakers,
and it often causes humour, misunderstanding,
and sometimes can even be offensive. On the other
hand, Chinglish is also a widespread phenomenon
in China, concerning both spoken and written
language. By analysing the lexical features
of interview data, the purpose of the present
investigation is to demonstrate the variation of
English used in China in different age groups,
and to try to explain that Chinglish certainly has
some features of being a New English rather than
a mistake as most scholars propose.

Speaking Chinglish in Hong Kong

has become a norm.

For many years, several scholars have been

producing work in the field of new Englishes. Ge
Chuangui is the first scholar who adopted the term
China English; at the same time, Ge suggested
that it is necessary to distinguish between the
terms China English and Chinglish, and he
strongly held the fact that the English language was
originally used by native English speakers so that
other people who use English should definitely
follow the rules and the conventions of the English
speaking people (Liu 2008: 29). In addition, Xu
defines China English as a variety of English used
by speakers of Chinese based on Standard English
but with inevitable Chinese characteristics or
characteristics that help disseminate Chinese
culture (Xu 2010:18-21). Chinese English or
Chinglish, on the other hand, is seen as misshapen
English or as a deformed language phenomenon
(Li 1993).
It is considered as an awkward mixture of Chinese
and Englishmost probably English words with
Chinese syntax. Or, we could just simply state
that Chinglish is neither English nor Chinese
but that it might be described as English with
Chinese characteristics. In recent years, a number
of researchers have been arguing that Chinese
English (CE) is more likely to be regarded as a
developing member of world Englishes. Peng
suggested that CE should be researched from

varying perspectives, including sociolinguistics,

stylistics and translatology (Xu 2010:18-21).
To be more specific, the lexical feature of Chinese
English can be classified in three categories, namely:
Chinese loanwords in English, nativised English
words, and common English words that are shared
with users of the majority of English varieties ( Xu
2010: 27). The Chinese loanwords can be divided
into two types: standing loanwords and ad hoc
loanwords. Standing loanwords include Chinese
cultural events and have a national or international
currency (Xu 2010: 47). Ad hoc loanwords include
things and events that are of either traditional or
contemporary Chinese reference but do not have
a national or international currency (at least not
yet) (Xu 2010: 51). In order to get more details
of Chinese English, it is necessary to have a basic
understanding of Mandarin Chinese.
Belonging to two different language families, English
and Mandarin Chinese have many significant
differences. Mandarin Chinese does not have any
affixes because the Chinese language does not
mark tense or parts of speech morphologically but
with inflection-like affixes in Chinese, includimg
a perfective aspect marker le that is closest to
the notion of past tense in English (Sun 2006: 62).
For instance, wan means finish. Wan-le
means already finished. Moreover, Chinese word
order is not free: Chinese verb constructions also
require the order. If two verb phrases are in one
sentence, it has to follow the rule that the second
action verb must be after the first action verb (Sun
2006: 32).

In relation to the development of New Englishes,

Crystal David postulates that an inevitable
consequence of these developments is that the
language will become open to the winds of
linguistic change in totally unpredictable ways
Jennifer Jenkins states that a New English can be
categorised satisfying four criteria: it has developed

through the education system; it arises in countries

where English is not a majority language; it is
used for a range of functions; it has developed its
linguistic features, which include pronunciation,
grammar, vocabulary, and discourse style (2003:
22). The vocabulary includes locally coined words
or expressions and borrowing from indigenous
languages (2003:26).
Methodology and Data:
The first section of the results will analyse the
lexical feature from the experimental data. Based
on the data analysis, the purpose of the second
section is to indicate some New English features of
Chinese English.
The task that was used in the present study is
questionnaire. It is true that questionnaire has been
used for many purposes in investigating language
representation, with particular focuses on the
information from respondents. Five questions
used in the experiment were listed below:
Can you give me a simple introduction of yourself?
Can you tell me some Chinese English words you
know? Give me examples.
Can you tell me the meaning of them?
Do you often speak English? If you do, in which
work or party?
Where you get to those Chinese English words?
How do you use them?
In total, eight speakers of Mandarin Chinese
were used; all of whom come from Beijing: four
participants whose ages are between 50 and 60;
four participants whose ages are between 20 and
30. They all claimed to speak Mandarin Chinese as
their mother tongue. The eight participants were
divided into two groups according to their ages.
The experiment was in a quiet classroom: each
participant was required to take the interview
separately. The participant and the researcher sat
face to face across the table. A tape recorder was
on the table between them, collecting their oral
production. In addition, eight subjects were tested
and they were required to speak English in the
Data analysis and Results:
Examples of ad hoc loanwords in the experiment:
give you some colours to see see( a Chinese
idiom that means showing power); you ask me,
I ask who ( I do not know either); geiliable (

good, a combination of Chinese character geili

and English suffix -able ); ole(ok, a
combination of English word ok and Chinese
character le ); dapian( Hollywood movies),
hunao( ridiculous), gao xiao (funny).
Examples of standing loanwords in the experiment:
People mountain people sea (a Chinese idiom
that means huge crowds of people); Beijing kaoya
(Beijing duck); kongfu (it is a national skill or feat;
it is a kind of Chinese traditional sport item); cha
(China tea).

Surprisingly, there are many ad hoc loanwords

that are used in the first group, while a lot of
standing loanwords are used in the second group.
In some senses, the internet can be regarded as a
tool that spreads ad hoc loanwords far and wide.
The participants in the first group mention that
they mostly acquire CE ad hoc loanwords on
the internet. The internet, on the other hand,
sort of ruins the standing loanwords, because
almost all young participants who claimed to be
internet users have very less knowledge of CE
standing loanwords. As mentioned earlier, ad hoc
loanwords used by elderly people symbolise the
cultural reference in relation to their worships of
Hollywood values. It is no surprise that elderly
people know more standing loanwords such as
kongfu and cha than young people.
According to the definition of being a New
English, CE does not certainly fit into being a New
English. However, CE does have some features
of being a New English. Firstly, CE is used for a
range of functions in China. In the interview, one
participant in the first group mentioned that CE is
interesting and is used for fun communication in

It is likely that the ad hoc loanwords the elderly

people used somewhat associate with their
emotions towards Chinese culture. One participant
in the second group gave the answer that it is our
culture and memory. In addition, the word da pian
means Hollywood movie in Mandarin Chinese,
but the direct translation of da pian into English
is interpreted as big movie. In Chinese culture,
the word da big represents excellent and rich. In
China, people generally use the word da big to
modify every entity they thought is good or rich,
such as da kuan (rich people) and da wan (good
movie star).
On the other hand, Hollywood movies are
considered as a cultural concept not just movies.
It provides values that shock Chinese people who
can only dream and imagine spending the income
to buy a little wedge of it. Needless to say, in the
1990s, Hollywood movies became the most popular
visual art in China, and it somehow symbolised
a group of young peoples dreams and ambitions
because there was a belief that Hollywood is
a dreamland for making money or becoming
famous. In this way, Chinese people created a
new word for Hollywood movies representing a
period of profound cultural reference with respect
to Hollywood values. Hence, elderly people use
the word da pian instead of the word Hollywood
movies, implying that they prefer to show Chinese
cultural identity in their English.

Also, one interviewer says that CE is used for

making jokes. Moreover, almost all the young
participants answered that CE is used for fun
and that the CE words they know are basically
from the web. Hence, CE has been used for some
particular functions in China. It seems to have
become an internet language that is used for fun
communication and making jokes.
There is a fact that CE has developed its own
linguistic features in a way. For example, verb order
sentence structure can be found in the interview.
I speak English to communicate with others. As
we mentions before, Mandarin Chinese requires
verb order that the second action must follow
the first action. In the sentence, speak English
is the first action, and communicate with others
is the second action, so CE is influenced by the
verb order structure from Chinese, which can be
marked as a linguistic feature of CE. Moreover,
CE has its own vocabulary that is borrowed from
indigenous Chinese.
The participants gave a large number of borrowed
words from indigenous Chinese: ad hoc loanwords
and standing loanwords. Give you some colour
to see see is an ad hoc loanword that is directly
translated from a Chinese idiom showing power
(example 1).

So those two words reflect a new typical linguistic

feature of CE. Therefore, CE has developed its own
special and specific linguistic features, such as
verb order sentence structure, loanwords and the
combination of Chinese characters and English
To sum up, based on the research, the lexical
features of CE are different in different age groups.
The internet is a major tool that spreads ad hoc
loanwords. So, the young people know more ad
hoc loanwords than the old people because most
of the young people are internet users.
People Mountain People Sea is a standing loanword
borrowed from a Chinese idiom huge crowds of
people. Something should be mentioned here that
the word people mountain people sea was an ad
hoc loanword before 2011. In 2011, a ChineseHong Kong movie called People Mountain People
Sea was selected for the competition at the Venice
Film Festival (Appendix1). After that, the Chinese
loanword people mountain people sea became
a standing loanword that has an international
As mentioned above, da pian Hollywood movies
is used by elderly people representing cultural
reference. Thus, it is evident that CE has its own
vocabulary that represents Chinese culture
and traditions. Furthermore, as Crystal David
mentioned, the development of New Englishes
will become open to the winds of linguistic change
in totally unpredictable ways. In the interview,
two CE ad hoc loanwords have developed very
unique linguistic features: geiliable able and
ole ok. Those two words are the combinations
of Chinese characters and English words. For
example, geili means good or cool (Appendix 3),
and it is an adjective.

CE has developed some features of being a New

English: firstly, CE is used for a range of functions
in China, such as the internet language or fun
communication; secondly, CE has developed
its own linguistic features, such as the verb
order structure, ad hoc and standing loanwords
borrowed from indigenous Chinese, and the
combination of Chinese characters and English
words that are very unpredictable developments of
New Englishes. Of course, I am also aware of the
limitation of the size of the samples, interviewing
few participants is really not enough in terms of
work being conducted.

The suffix able attaches to geili and produces a

new adjective meaning full of good or cool. Le in
Chinese is a mark of past time tense. The English
word ok compounds with the Chinese tense
mark le and produces a new compound meaning
already ok.

Anarf a h-Armgha

Anarf /anara:uf/ is a Terchne woman who lives

in the small coastal village called Lefem which
lay by the banks of an estuary where the freshwater
met the salt sea. Not far from Anarf s cottage
was a small stream called lorna with water that
had a slight sweet taste to it, this was due to a
species of tree called n which grows alone by the
stream, the tree has a very sweet resin which gives
the entire tree a sweet taste from bark to fruit. This
resin has a quality which is harmful to spirits, the
fruit is eaten to temporarily fend of spirits or the
resin is mixed in soil around a cottage to prevent
spirits from entering. the water of this stream
eroded some of the soil by roots which caused
some of the trees sweetness to be absorbed into the
water itself. Anarf s father was a fisherman so
she often found herself sitting outside the cottage
mending his nets. One day while she was fixing a
tangled mess she saw man walk not far from her
cottage, curiously he was soaking wet. He looked
upon Anarf s beauty and called out Re!
(sweetheart), may I see a smile on your face?

The next day she was again mending her fathers

nets, and she saw the soaking wet man walk by. He
called out to her Re! may I see a smile on your

For what? She replied,

As she has been so far charmed by the man she

put down the net and walked away from the sweet
n soil that surrounded her cottage. As she neared
the man she noticed something odd, besides him
being soaked to the bone, he appeared to have a
tail hidden behind his legs.

For the joyous tune it may play for my heart to

dance to
She couldnt help but grin at the mans words. She
gave a smile, and then he wandered off.

For what? She replied,

For beauty herself said that no smile is more
graceful than her own, but a smile from you will
prove her wrong
Once again she grinned at the mans words, and
happy with the result he wandered off again.
The next day she was again mending her fathers
nets, and once more the soaked man passed by, he
called out to her Re!, may I see a smile on your
For what? She replied
Walk over to me and I may tell you

At first Anarf though she imagined that she saw something, but a second
look proved that there was indeed a tail on the man. Only when she was a few
steps away from him did she realise that he was no man but rather an Armgha
or water wolf , a spirit which dwells in lakes or estuaries with the shape of
a slender wolf, they often lure people to get close to them by pretending to
be a friendly stray dog or by taking on other forms, once someone gets close
they wrap their tail around the prey and run into the nearest body of water
and drown the victim, after which they eat them all except the lungs, but no
matter what it looks like it will always be dripping wet.
Upon her realisation Anarf ran as fast as she could but the slender
Armgha was fast on her heels. She could never outrun the spirit for much
longer so she ran for the lorna stream and jumped in it. As the Armgha
was attempting to stop itself Anarf splashed a lot of the sweet water in the
Armghas direction.
The water caused the spirit to let out a great howl and retreat into the salty
sea water. From then on the fruit of the n tree was often on the menu in
Anarf s cottage.

The name Anarf is thought to come from a
corruption of n + ar + f roughly meaning
n removes the wolf .

Traveling for the holidays in Italy one year I tried to

wish someone a Happy New Year (drawing a blank
on the idiomatic Auguri!).
As a result of my native, American accent, I had
a hard time with geminate consonants, and in
saying buon ano instead of anno, I accidentally
complimented their rear end. By misplacing the
accent in when studying Russian, I declared
my urination all over an essay instead of writing it.
In Spanish class, after making a particularly silly
mistake the teacher asked if I was embarazado.
S s, I responded, upon which the teacher asked
Quin es el padre? Embarazado, of course, means
pregnant, and not embarrassed. But nothing
compared to the insult I gave the poor woman at
a bakery one day when I ordered a small pica or
pizza. Thinking myself clever, I put a diminutive
ending on pica to emphasise that the pizza was,
indeed, small. In the end, I demanded from her a
pika, a word crude enough that Ill let you, care
lector, look it up for yourself. The point of all these
humorous and embarazing anecdotes is to show
that no matter how many mistakes one makes, you
should never gave up.

Confidence in
Non enim tam praeclarum est scire Latine quam
turpe nescire 1 , were the rather harsh words of the
Roman orator and politician Cicero, famed for his
glib tongue, turns of phrase, and endless stamina
on the podium. Personally Id change the last word
nescire, to not know, to non conari, not to try.
This maxim of course applies to every project we
undertake in the course of our lives, but lets focus
here on two subjects most dear to the hearts of the
linguist and conlanger: learning languages (nat or
con) and developing our own.
To start with learning existing languages, know that
my background includes various levels of study,
in-country stays, jobs, and drunken conversations
over chess and vodka in Italian, Spanish, Russian,
Latin and Ancient Greek (B.A. and M.A.), and
Slovenian (professional slo-eng translator and 5
year resident). What this tells you more than the
obvious excessive interest in languages is that, in
doing so, Ive made every mistake in the book.

Despite the often awkward setbacks, today I am

still active on a regular basis with all the languages
Ive studied. This perseverance mentality transfers
easily to the world of conlanging, as sometimes
the mere thought of trying to flesh out a whole
language, not only with a workable grammar,
but with a vocabulary capable of all the shades
of nuance and expression we enjoy in our native
tongues seems overwhelmingly impossible. We
are also often creating our languages more or less
in isolation, so we cant even hear the chuckle that
a mistake or failure in learning a natlang causes,
diffusing any negative feelings. The trick is in
seeing mistakes and failings, of which I provided
abundant example above, as opportunities to learn
and develop something you werent even aware of.
If youll pardon all the personal experience, Ill tell
you one more story to show you what I mean.
The speakers of one of my main conlangs are master
dogs handlers and are intimately linked to their
wintry surroundings. The language was still in its
incipient stages and I was trying to quickly build
up vocabulary. I sat myself down to work on some
very canine-specific terminology, but nothing was
coming it was too difficult to imagine concepts
that dont exist in English. Convinced I was a hack,
and that Id never be able to start, let alone finish
this conlang/world, I gave up and took my dog for
a walk. The moon was shining that evening on a
recent snowfall, and the edges of the woods looked

In a few short productive minutes, the words for

moon, shine, and night all came immediately.
Rushing home, I penned my languages first full
Palam enolraz blado mowokpra adajma
knarinbi janal ajtsa


...take every stumbling block

in your conlang as a chance to
explore a different grammatical
invention or a new range of

light moon.gen snow.inst dog.ben shine.imperf

temp. woods.loc night run.iter
The light of the moon (reflecting) off the snow
shines upon the dog as he darts in and out of the
woods at night. Everything written here is simply
to encourage you to keep up the good work.
Take every opportunity to speak the natlangs
you are studying, bravely trying new words and
attempting structures which may be slightly out
of your reach. Treat every mistake as two things
gained, not one lost. Similarly take every stumbling
block in your conlang as a chance to explore a
different grammatical invention or a new range of
vocabulary. Only by forging ahead and making
plenty of mistakes along the way but then fixing
them immediately can we reach our ultimate
goal of either mastering an existing language or
perfecting our own conlang. After all, errare est
1.- Colloquially: Knowing Latin is not really
something to be proud of, as much as not knowing
it is something to be ashamed of.

How Conlanging
Affects How We
Perceive The World
Charlemagne once said, to have a second
language is to have a second soul.
To create a language, then,
is to create a new soul.
Because, at the root of conlanging lies the intrinsically
human capacity for questioning the why and how,
the what if and why not?. Conlanging takes us up
in this journey of making us aware of our capacity
for perception, understanding and discernment. All
the theories and assumptions behind Linguistics
Relativity are put to the test when a person undertakes
the pleasurable labour of creating a new system of
communication. By means of conlanging a person
becomes mindful of the building blocks that make
up a language; it enables a person to use grammar
& vocabulary, minimalistically speaking, as tools
for creating meaning and reshaping the current
reality. The thousands of languages spoken around
the world with the variety they exhibit concerning
morphosyntax, vocabulary, phonology, pragmatics,
semantics, information structure, grammar,
linguistic ethnography, etc. attest the human capacity
for creating meaning and understanding the self and
its relationship with time, causality, space and the
connections with other human beings.
Linguist Roman Jakobson mentioned once that
Languages differ essentially in what they must
convey and not in what they may convey. Implying
that, although all things are possible to be conveyed
by means of a language, not all languages convey
all things or the same things. Whats a must for a
language (differences in gender, types of sandstorms, shapes of waves, etc.) may not be a must for
another one. The habitual use of a language is what
makes us perceive reality in a certain way and not
our intrinsic capacity for doing so. For example, in
a study, people from different cultural backgrounds
were asked to describe different objects; those who
used the masculine gender to define the object
(der Toaster, der Berg) differed in how they saw
and thought of the object when compared to those
who used those same nouns but with an opposite
gender (la tostadora, la montaa) as well as those

who perceived those nouns as neutral (the toaster,

the mountain); hence, masculine, feminine and
neutral qualities are transferable by the use of the
article the object receives. Thus, Germans will tend
to think about a mountain as having manly traits
(power, size, etc.) whereas Americans will see it
as a neutral object possessing qualities not bound
by gender. While monolinguals can only think of
a single word to describe a cat, bilinguals brains
offer them 2 alternatives to choose from; polyglots
brains bombard them with many words to describe
such animal and thus, have to make a decision
according to the environment in which this animal
is perceived.
To a conlanger this choice goes deeper into the
brain to the point in which the executive function
of the brain not only must choose among different
words (in case he speaks more than 1 language)
but also demands from the brain the capacity for
understanding what makes a cat a cat and then ask
from it to name it according to its kind and to choose
to call it somehow and justify so. Another example
of this is how English sentence structures focus on
agents while other languages focus on the action or
the recipient of the action; this means that an entire
judicial system and cultural values for a nation
would be shaped by the way the language works. This
changing of neural pathways to meet new demands
is known as neuroplasticity, and having to make
decisions like the ones presented above reinforce
the brains perceptual capacity and allows it to work
more efficiently. Serious conlangers must engage in
typological research that will enable them to shape a
new reality and perspective of personal existence in
order to answer a very personal question why do we
think the way we do?. The conlanger, by changing
the way he thinks will change the way he talks and
by changing how he talks he will change they way he
Conlanging takes a person to the peak of humans
capacities; as animals not only we can use a very
developed language but create one too and hone it
to serve us in helping us understand and shape our

Are There Real Benefits To Being Bilingual?

Theres an old joke that asks: If someone

who speaks many languages is multilingual,
and someone who speaks two languages is
bilingual, what do you call someone who
speaks one language?

For example, our capacity for attentional

or cognitive controlthe ability to focus
on certain information and ignore other
informationseems to be strengthened by

Answer: An American.

Bilingual speakers have two languages, both

of which are always activated, regardless
of whether the individual is aware of
that activity or not, Miller explains.
Psycholinguistic research indicates that this
continuous co-activation of two languages
produces competition, so that the bilingual
person is functionally a mental juggler, with
the words, grammar, and sounds of both
languages available, at least momentarily,
when a bilingual is attempting to use one
language alone.

Does the U.S. deserve its reputation for lagging

behind the rest of the world in language
learning? If so, what are we failing to grasp
about the importance of being bilingual?
We are making progress, but still have a
way to go, says Karen Miller, director of
Penn States Language Acquisition Lab and
assistant professor of Spanish linguistics.
President Obama has made statements in
favor of bilingual education, primarily in
response to proponents of the English-only
Movement, a political movement to make
English the official language, she says. He
has pointed out that immigrant children to
the U.S. will eventually become bilingual,
speaking both their native language and
English. And he has also said that American
parents in monolingual contexts should
be just as ambitious in terms of finding
opportunities for their children to learn a
second language, as speaking more than one
language can be socially and academically
beneficial to all of us throughout our lives.

The hypothesis is that bilinguals learn to

resolve cross-language competition and, in
the process, acquire cognitive control that
enables them to resolve competition more
generally when other non-language cognitive
processes conflict.

While 56 to 99 percent of people in European

nations are functionally bilingual, only
around 20 percent of Americans can make
the same claim. Says Miller, if we increase
our commitment to language education,
more of our citisens would be able to reap
the benefits it provides.

Unfortunately, some news outlets have

overhyped these types of research results
to the general public, she notes. In terms
of the benefits of bilingualism, responsible
researchers have not actually argued that it
produces higher IQ, prevents dementia, or
delays old age. Bilingualism does not prevent

There are many valid reasons to promote

bilingualism, says Miller. The bilingual
experience appears to confer a set of positive
consequences to cognition that provide
increased mental flexibility for bilinguals
at all ages. Research suggests it may even
provide protections against the symptoms of
dementia for those developing pathology.


For younger generations, the growing

popularity of dual-language immersion
schools is a hopeful trend, she adds. There is
a wonderful documentary about these schools
called Speaking in Tongues that we will be
screening this summer and fall. Theres more
enthusiasm for language learning than ever
before. Nevertheless, there is more that we
can doand the programs that are created
need to take into consideration the social
context of the child.
Rather, it appears to provide a kind of
mental muscle that compensates against
the symptoms of cognitive decline, so that
bilinguals typically do not present with
Alzheimers type symptoms until they are four
or five years older than their monolingual
Getting factual information about the
science of bilingualism out to the public and
policy makers is a mission for Miller and her
colleagues. In December 2014, Penn States
Center for Language Science became the first
U.S. chapter of the outreach organization
Bilingualism Matters.
Our goal is to create a context through
which we can celebrate language diversity,
says Miller. By language diversity we
mean not only the diverse languages of the
world but also the many varieties of those
languages, which are often called dialects.
Not only are there many bilingual speakers
in our community, there are also many bidialectal speakers. Just like some languages
are stigmatised, some dialects are also
stigmatised. Our goal is to bring awareness
to the many benefits of being a linguistically
diverse person.

Says Miller, For children whose native

language is Englishthe majority language
in our countrystarting a second language
early in elementary school is proven to be very
important for becoming bilingual. However,
when the childs home language is not the
majority language, but instead a minority
language such as Spanish or Chinese, then
programs that not only teach English, but
also maintain the home languageprograms
with the explicit goal of teaching literacy in
both English and the home languageare
the most successful for forming bilingual
The issue is complex, she admits, but there
are many highly trained bilingual education
teachers in our country who have a very solid
understanding of the issues involved. Theyre
out there working hard every day to make a
That sounds like good newsor should we say,
buenas noticias, or xixn, or khuakhabar,
or goda nyheter, or

For monolingual adults who agree that

bilingualism matters, is it too late to reap the
benefits of learning another language?
One of the most important and fascinating
findings in the current literature is that it
is never too late! Miller says. Even late
bilinguals, past early childhood, reveal many
of these positive cognitive consequences.
Likewise, older claims about limits to second
language learning, suggesting that adults
could not fully acquire the grammar of a
second language, have been criticised. New
data, especially neuroscience data, show
that late learners are indeed able to acquire
native-like proficiency.

Language of the Month:

Crimean/Crimean Tatar

Ever since the early modern era, Eastern Europe

has always been a bigger hotbed of tension than
the rest of the continent and this has led to
more territorial, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and
ideological conflicts in the region; such conflicts
in the region continue even today. Weve all seen
the news on the current situation in Ukraine.
The Euromaidan protests of late
2013 led to a crisis in February of
last year known as the Crimean
Crisis. This, in turn, culminated
in the annexation of Crimea
by the Russian Federation.
While the peninsula is de jure
Ukrainian territory, its largely
Russophone population was
used as a justification by the
Russian government to annex it,
leading to icy relations between
Russia and Ukraine. However, while the media
and much of the world tends to view the conflict
as an issue only between Russians and Ukrainians,
one important detail is forgotten: the indigenous
Crimean Tatars.
Crimean Tatars (whom shall be referred to as
Crimeans in this article to avoid confusion
with the Tatar people of Tatarstan) are a Sunni
Muslim and Turkic ethnicity indigenous to
Crimea and are actively trying to reassert their
culture there. The people are often called Tatar
and this leads to confusion with
the actual ethnic group known
as the Tatars (or Volga Tatars),
who live in Tatarstan. While
related to Crimeans (as theyre
both Sunni Muslim and Turkic),
they are different, as Tatars speak
a language from the UraloCaspian branch of the Kypchak
group of Turkic languages, while
Crimeans speak a language from the PontoCaspian group. Additionally, Crimeans have
had more influence from Turks and Ukrainians,

while Tatars have had more from the peoples of

the Volga like the Udmurts, Mari, and Mordvins
(the term Tatar or Tartar has also been used
to denote several other ethnic groups incorrectly
such as the Kalmyks and Manchus; Crimeans and
their language have also been erroneously referred
to as Crimean Turkish).
Although Crimea has been
controlled by numerous
powers throughout its long
history, the Crimeans were
the ones who succeeded in
giving the region its current
common name (Crimea
comes from the word Qrm)
and have influenced many
topographic names (e.g.
the name of Crimeas most
famous city, Yalta, is taken directly from Crimean).
They have been influenced by several groups in
different ways, which has led to variations in both
their language and culture, which can be seen in the
three sub-ethnicities: the Tats, (who make up 55%
of Crimeans and whose dialect is the languages
standard), the Yalboyu (who make up 30% of the
population and speak a heavily Turkish-influenced
dialect), and the Noay (who make up 15% of the
population and speak a more explicitly Kypchak
language). The Crimean language has about
450,000 speakers and is considered endangered.
Crimea was the center of the
Hanl in Crimean) which was a
powerful Turkic Khanate created
in 1449 as the result of the Golden
Horde deteriorating. In 1478, the
Ottoman Empire forced the Khan
of Crimea to declare Crimea
a vassal state of the Ottoman
Empire. In practice, however, the Ottomans
treated the Crimeans as allies, rather than vassals.
The Crimean Khanate terrorised Eastern Europe

under the aegis of the Ottoman Empire and served

as an essential ally in the Empires wars in Europe
(such as the Ottoman-Hungarian wars), where
they served as elite troops. The Khanate was also
known for being a center of the Middle Eastern
slave trade, as more than a million East Slavs and
others were captured for the slave market by the
Crimeans. The Khanate also became a renowned
center of culture, due to its famous libraries and its
capital having the reputation of being an extremely
clean and green city.
The fall of Crimea was a result of the Ottoman
Empire weakening over time, making Crimea more
susceptible to attacks from Russia. In 1774, after
the Treaty of Kk Kaynarca ended a war between
the Russian and Ottoman Empires, Crimea was no
longer under Ottoman protection and this led to
increased pressure from Russia and culminated
in the Russian annexation of the Khanate in 1783.
Many Crimeans, including the last Khan, ahin
Geray, fled to the Ottoman Empire and this is why
there are Crimean communities today in Romania,
Bulgaria, and Turkey.
The Crimean War also had a devastating effect as
indigenous Crimeans were seen as a fifth column
by the Russian government, because one of their
enemies was the Ottoman Empire, resulting in
many fleeing to Turkey and Crimeans becoming a

minority in Crimea (subsequent mass immigration

from Russia worsened this). When the Russian
Revolution and the consequent Russian Civil
War occurred in 1917, the Crimeans were able to
establish the Crimean Peoples Republic (the first
secular state in the Muslim world) under Noman
elebicihan. However, it was crushed by Bolshevik
forces and many Crimeans fled to other parts of
In the Soviet




Although they at first prospered due to the

Korenizatsiya policy, which supported the
cultivation of minority languages, this changed
in the 1930s when Joseph Stalin consolidated his
power in the USSR and decided to promote the
Russian language more overtly. This culminated
in the liquidation of many Crimeans who were
seen as nationalists and therefore enemies of
the people as well as a reduction in schooling in
Crimean and the closing of many libraries and
mosques in Crimea.
Many Crimeans also died in the 1930s as a result of
famine, which wiped out about half the population.
This led to anti-Soviet sentiments arising amongst
them and is the reason why many chose to support
the Wehrmacht in 1941, after Germany invaded
the Soviet Union. However, the vast majority of
Crimeans stayed loyal to the Soviets and several
distinguished themselves in combat and earned
the Hero of the Soviet Union award (the USSRs
highest military honor) such as Ahmet-Han Sultan
(a Crimean who became a notable Soviet pilot).
Unfortunately, the participation of some Crimeans
on the Axis side was used by Joseph Stalin to justify
the deportation of them from their homelands
(several other minorities, such as Chechens, Volga
Germans, and Kalmyks, also suffered a similar fate
on the grounds of alleged mass collaboration with

The deportation of the Crimeans is known as

the Srgn (Crimean for exile).The Srgn
occurred on May 18th 1944 and involved Soviet
soldiers marching into settlements in Crimea and
announcing the immediate removal of Crimeans
to Central Asia and other parts of Russia.
Crimeans were given little time to prepare and
stuffed into trains bound to other parts of the
USSR and as a result of the unsanitary conditions
as well as overcrowding on the trains, more than
100,000 (over 40% of the population) perished.
Furthermore, the people were stigmatised as they
were branded as traitors by the Soviet government.
Crimeans were dispersed but the vast majority

was deported to Central Asia (mainly Uzbekistan,

which is why there are still many Crimean speakers
Many Crimeans suffered in Uzbekistan, where they
contracted Malaria, which they had no resistance
to, and also suffered discrimination from local
Uzbeks. The Crimeans were not allowed to return
to Crimea en masse until 1989 and therefore had
to develop their culture while in exile (this led to
the creation of a Crimean newspaper in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan). Russians made up the majority of
Crimeas population when they started to return
and as a result, the Crimeans only make up 12.7%
of Crimeas population despite there being more
than 250,000 of them in Crimea. Moreover, their
efforts to reestablish dominance in their homeland
is heavily opposed by the Russian population of
After the fall of the USSR, Crimea became an
autonomous region of newly independent Ukraine
with Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean as official
languages. The use of Crimean has increased
due to the higher birthrate of the returning
Crimeans and an increase in schools that teach the
language (a notable example being the Simferopol
International School, opened in 2003).
Crimean is unique amongst the Turkic languages
because its been seen as both a member of the
Kypchak group of Turkic languages (which includes
Kazakh, Tatar, and Bashkir), and the Oghuz group
(which includes Turkish, Gagauz, and Turkmen).
Although Crimean is nowadays usually seen as
a Kypchak language, it has had heavy influences
from Oghuz languages (especially Turkish), which
are most prominent in the Yalboyu dialect. An
example of this is in the words for goodbye
which are Salqnen qalz (said by person
leaving) and Salqnen barz (said by person
staying) in the Tat dialect, but are Oakal (said
by the person leaving) and Kle kle (said by the
person staying) in the Yalboyu dialect (in Turkish,
the words for goodbye are Hoakal and Gle
gle). There are three alphabets for the language:
an Arabic one that is no longer in use, a Latin one
almost identical to that of Turkish (with the addition
of the letters Qq and ), and a Cyrillic one
preferred by the Russian government currently
controlling Crimea. The languages grammar is
almost identical to that of Turkish and shares
features like a flexible word order (an example
being in the sentence Menim vaqtm yoqI
dont have time which can also be rendered as
Yoq vaqtm, although this is slightly rude) and
using the word bar (equivalent to Turkish var)
to indicate possession. This can be seen in the
sentences Deizde adalar bar. (Crimean) and
Denizde adalar var. (Turkish) which mean There

are islands in the sea. (Deizde means at sea

and adalar means islands or archipelago).
Resources for learning Crimean are incredibly
difficult to find in English. Phrasebooks and other
resources exist only for Russian (and possibly
Ukrainian and Turkish) speakers. However, the
language is becoming more widespread amongst
younger Crimeans and it has a significant media
presence. This has led to two notable films that
use Crimean: the 1999 Polish historical drama
film Ogniem i Mieczem (which focuses on the
Khmelnytsky Uprising, which the Crimean
Khanate had participated in), and the 2013
Ukrainian historical drama film Haytarma (which
is about the Srgn). The Crimean anthem, Ant
Etkemen, is also easy to find online, and groups
dedicated to the revival of Crimean culture and
language have also been increasing (one of these
groups being the International Committee for
Crimea, based in Washington DC).

Crimea is currently in a serious situation. After

the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March
2014, Crimeans have reported mass persecution
against them by Russian authorities in ways
such as kidnappings, murders, and the closing
of Crimean libraries. The Russian Federation
has officially declared the Crimeans as a group
to be protected and that everyone in Crimea
has equal rights but many Crimeans see these as
empty words. Moreover, the people are somewhat
divided in opinion; while the majority support
the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars (an organization
representing them) and the Kurultai (the Crimean
Tatar parliament), some support the militant
pro-Russian group Milliy Frqa. Because of this
situation, the situation of the Crimean language
and people is precarious. Nevertheless, if more
people learn Crimean, the Crimean people will
have a much better likelihood of surviving their
current crisis




Several hypotheses and theories have been

discussed by researchers to account for the
forgetting of (verbal as well as and non-verbal)
Repression and suppression:
Some words are deliberately repressed and
even suppressed because they are related to an
unpleasant or traumatic memory.
Memories are highly permeable and can be
unconsciously restructured by experiences,
knowledge, beliefs, values, and attitudes.
Prior and posterior learning of information
compete with each other and lead to the forgetting
of target information.
According to the decay approach, information
gradually declines in memory through lack of
Retrieval slowdown and failure:
Access to the target information may become
difficult because of the weakening of the
connections between neurons and nodes.

I have it on the tip of my tongue

You have certainly experienced this strange
feeling, when, as you are talking, a word that you
know, and that you wish to say keeps on eluding
you... And cannot be recalled. At times, the
recalcitrant word will come back with a bit of help
from your interlocutor, but often it is only hours
after your first attempts at remembering it that it
resurfaces from the depths of your memory.
This phenomenon, called TOT, for tip-ofthe-tongue, is well known of linguistics
and psychology researchers, as one of the
characteristic phenomena of language attrition,
i.e. the natural loss of a language in bilinguals and
polyglots. Changes in the linguistic environment
and termination of an instructional program may
lead to attrition, but other processes are at play
Why do we forget parts or totality of our

Cue dependency
Cues in memory search are similar to the labels
of a file cabinet. Depending on the feelings, the
mood, and on the external environment, the
availability of those cues may be reduced, making
the information more difficult to retrieve.
Interaction and dynamic systems
According to the Dynamic Model of
Multilingualism, the acquisition of a new
language comes at a cost: the decline of the
previously acquired system.
Counteracting attrition:
language retention & reactivation
Researchers who investigated the process of
language retention highlighted that linguistic
knowledge was still present in an individual after
a long period of time. However, they pointed out
that the best way to reactivate it was not clear.
Language skills are both dynamic and transient,
and maintaining a high level of proficiency
requires daily strategies that foster your
engagement with the language you dont want to
forget. However, this may not be as daunting as
it seems.


Attrition is the
natural loss of a
in bilinguals and

The Boulogne Ferry Effect

A study reported the interesting Boulogne Ferry Effect experienced by British
people crossing the channel on the Boulogne Ferry. As soon as they started hearing
a bit of French, they would remember many of their knowledge of this language. A
short exposure to the language which seems to be lost triggers the remembrance of
a large amount of forgotten language.
Therefore, before studying grammar and vocabulary books of a language you feel that
you are losing, you may wish to simply create an artificial immersion environment.
Some ideas include changing the language settings of your computer, navigation
system, listening to songs, and watching movies. Wishing you a pleasant language
retention and reactivation!


The Syntax of Demonstratives Of

The Amazigh Language:

Derivation, Representation, Base Position and

This Paper is a minimalist analysis of the syntactic
properties of the demonstrative and its word order
with respect to other lexical and functional heads
within Determiner Phrases (DPs) in Amazigh
Language, especially in the variety of Ait Atta. Ait
Atta people are classified among Amazighs who
speak Tamazight (Abdel Massih, 1971: ix). Ait Atta
Variety (henceforth, AAV) is spoken in the southeastern part of Morocco. According to these two
pieces of information, AAV can be considered
as a sub-variety of Tamazight. The discussions in
this paper are based on data from AAV. However,
all what can be said about the syntactic properties
of AAV demonstratives can be extended, to some
extent, to the syntax of demonstratives of other
varieties of Amazigh language.
In this paper I will deal with the issue of derivation
and representation of AAV demonstratives in
Determiner Projections. That is, I am going to
highlight how demonstratives are derived, their
base position , their landing site and their order
among functional and lexical projections among
DPs, but before doing so it is noteworthy to look
at the inside structure of demonstratives, namely
their building block features. Briefly, this is a
syntactic analysis of AAV phrase markers which
contain demonstratives. In these phrase markers,
the features [+ REF] and [+deictic] are computed.
Objectives of this paper are:
1- To devise a principled account of how
Demonstratives are derived, represented and
behaved syntactically with respect to other lexical
and functional heads within DPs of AAV.
To shed light on the hierarchical structure of
DPs which consist of Numerals, Demonstratives,
Adjectives and or Possessors?
3- To join linguists in the process of describing
the syntax of Demonstratives and DPs in General.
4- To uncover some interesting and peculiar

properties of Amazigh Language .This properties

can have some interesting implications on the
current syntactic analysis of demonstrative
This paper is organised as follow. Section 1 is
an Abstract in which I introduced the subject
matter of this paper, the objectives of this study
and the organization of the paper. Section 2 is
entitled the issue. In this section I presented the
main problem which will be dealt the following
sections. Section 3 is a place where I proposed a
genuine solution of the problem. Section 4 is an
extensive and principled analysis of DPs which
contain Demonstratives, Adjectives, Numerals,
Possessors and Nouns. This section consists of
four subsections. 4.1 is an introduction. 4.2 is a
description of AAV Demonstratives. Subsection
4.3 deals with the syntactic nature of demonstrative
and its building block features in AAV. The last
subsection 4.4 focuses on the base and landing
positions of the demonstrative and the triggers of
its movement. Section 5 is a conclusion.
Key words: Demonstratives, Amazigh Language,
Ait Atta Variety (AAV), DPs, Derivation and
Representation, Hierarchical Structure, Lexical
and Functional Projections of DPs.

This paper is an offspring of a Master Thesis submitted

to Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master Degree. The title
of the Master thesis is The Syntax of Demonstratives in
Ait Atta Variety of Amazigh Language, 2013.


Table of contents
1- Abstract
2- The issue
3- The proposed solution
4- A Minimalist Analysis of Demonstratives in AAV
4-1 Introduction
4-2 Demonstratives: D, nna and Ind
4-3 The Syntactic Nature of the Demonstrative in AAV
4-4 The Base and Landing Position of the Demonstrative
5- Conclusion

2-The issue:
The derivation and representation of Determiner
Projections of Ait Atta Variety of Amazigh Language,
which contain Numerals and Demonstratives, pose
a critical, insurmountable and challenging problem
for Demonstrative Movement to Spec of Determiner
Projection Approach. This approach to the syntax
of demonstratives assume that the demonstrative
is base-generated in the specifier position of a
lower functional projection and then this syntactic
category moves overtly or covertly to the specifier
position of Determiner Projection to satisfy FI at
the LF interface by deleting some uninterpretable
formal features (FF) in D, namely referential and
deictic features. The type of movement (overt or
covert) depends on the strength of relevant feature
or features. Observing the gathered data of Amazigh
Determiner Phrases from AAV, it appears that
the surface structure of AAV DPs which contain
numerals and demonstratives is [DP D [NumP
Num [DemP Dem [NP N]]]].
According to the Longobardi (1994), the head N
raises to D, what is called N-to-D raising, to
check D-feature and maybe other features in D.
If this hypothesis is universally available, then the
head N in AAV DPs must move to D; therefore,
the syntactic structure [DP NI +D [NumP Num
[DemP Dem [NP ti]]]] is obtained. Under a
principled scrutiny of AAV data, it is noticeable
that the obtained structure is wrong. This situation
urges us to assume that the movement of the head
N to D is a covert movement. Thus, we obtain this
structure [DP D [NumP Num [DemP Dem [FP F
[NP N]]]]]. In reality, the word order of the lexical
and functional categories within this structure after
the covert movement of the head N is the same
before any operation applies. That is to say, the
attained structure of DP before the application of
the operations Move and Merge contradicts with
the attested DP structures in AAV. Specifier of DP

Approach cannot solve this problem. Another

fact about Amazigh demonstratives which makes
the problem more challenging is that they are not
full-fledged lexical items which cannot stand on
their own. Indeed, Amazigh demonstratives are
enclitics. This fact forces us to look for another
principled explanation of the syntactic nature of
Amazigh demonstrative, its syntactic behaviours,
its position, and its syntactic interactions with
other lexical and functional projections within
In brief, the main problem is the naked
contradiction between the surface word order of
the heads within DPs in AVV and their word order
attained immediately after their numerations are
reduced to zero. This is a large and challenging
problem for the Demonstrative Movement to
Specifier of Determiner Projection and N-to-D
raising approaches. Indeed this issue will be
approached in this paper by inviting one of the
leading syntactic research lines in the linguistic
theorizing which is the Minimalist Program.
In doing so, a batch of questions comes from here
and there. Such of these questions are: What is the
syntactic nature of the AAV demonstrative? What
are the building block features of the demonstrative?
What is the original position of Dem in AAV?
How and where the process of encliticisation of the
demonstrative and its host is achieved? How and
where the features of the demonstrative and the
noun are checked? And if the demonstrative and
the noun form a complex constituent, what is the
final landing site of this complex constituent? And
finally how demonstratives phrases are derived?
3- The Proposed Solution
This paper hypothesises that the demonstrative in
Amazigh Language (especially in AAV) is base-


generated in a head position. Further, it is assumed

that this head is the head of Demonstrative Phrase
(DemP). The head Dem may select a functional
projection as its complement and the head of
this functional takes the nominal projection as
its complement. This position may be filled by
adjectives and genitives. In addition, the noun
may have uninterpretable feature which must be
eliminated by checking it against an interpretable
feature in the head of the DemP. Hence, the head
N moves overtly and successively to Dem and this
new syntactic object moves covertly to Num to
check its phi-features and finally moves to the head
D to check [+REF] and [+DEICTIC] features. In
this way we get the attested hierarchical structure
of functional and lexical projections within AAV
In Amazigh Language the demonstrative cannot
stand on its own. As a result, it has to be attached to
a given head. The only possible head which can be
the hosting head of the demonstrative is the head
N. Thus, two possibilities are at our hand to explain
this. The first one is that the demonstrative is lowered
to the position of the noun so as to be attached to
it. In fact, this process of lowering is called in the
literature Affix Hopping. But Affix Hopping or
Lowering violates C-Command Condition which
says that a moved element must c-command its
trace. The second and the only possibility which
we are left with is the operation of Raising. The
noun raises and adjoins the head Dem. As a result,
a complex constituent is formed (N+Dem). Then
this complex constituent checks relevant feature by
moving covertly to Num and D respectively in
order to satisfy Full Interpretation (FI) by deleting
or making the relevant [interpretable] features
invisible at LF interface.
4- A Minimalist Analysis of Demonstratives in
4-1 Introduction
Pointing to entities around human beings is a
property of all and only human languages. The
users of natural languages use some lexical items,
which are termed demonstratives, to point to
things in what is called their deictic centre. In fact,
each natural language has its own demonstrative
system in which demonstratives are organised in a
principled pattern according to their ability to refer
to proximate, intermediate and/or distant entities,
whether these entities are plural or singular and
so on. That is to say, demonstrative system of a
natural language can be either two-way distinctive
system or three-way distinctive system or four-way
distinctive system. An example of a three-waydistinctive system is Ait Atta Variety of Amazigh
Language (AAV) demonstrative system.

4-2 Demonstratives: D, nna and Ind

In Ait Atta Varity, the demonstrative appears in the
postnominal position as the paradigms in (1) show:
(1) .
a. Aryaz-d/ -nna/-innd.
Man this/that-inter /that-dist
This/that/that man
b. Irezen-d/-nna/-innd.
Men-this/that-inter/ that-dist
These/those/those men
From the paradigms in (1), one can notice that the
form of the demonstrative does not change when it is
attached to the noun. For example, the phi-features
of the noun irezen /men in (1.b) do not have any
observable influence on the demonstratives d,
nna and ind. Another fact which is revealed
by the gathered data is that the demonstrative in
AAV can never occur in a pronominal position.
Examples in (2) show this fact:
(2) .
a. * D-/nna-/ ind-tarbat.
This/ that-inter/that-dist girl
This/that/that girl
b. * D-/nna-/ind-tirbatin
This/ that-inter/that-dist girls
These/those/those girls
The demonstrative can never occur in an indefinite
phrase as examples in (3-a.b) show. Therefore, the
demonstrative and the indefinite marker can never
occur in the same syntactic phrase. The suggested
reason behind this is that the demonstrative in AAV
has a predictable definiteness feature alongside
with [+deictic] and [+REF] features, while the
numeral marker (indefinite article) yat has an
indefiniteness feature. As a result, there will be an
uninterpretable feature in the computational system
which will cause the derivation to be crashed at
the Logical Form. While the example (3-b) shows
a case in which a possessive phrase intervene the
demonstrative and the noun. The position of
the possessive phrase n othma/ of my sister
renders this sentence ungrammatical as the asterisk
indicates. This type of phrases arises a great and
challenging problem to a unified analysis of DPs
which contain demonstratives.
a. *yat tarbat-d
One-f girl this
*this one girl
b. *Itsent terbatin-ind
Some-F girls those
*those some girl
c. *Arba n othma innd
Son of my sister that-dist
That son of my sister

The adjectival phrase, whatever its type is, can

never be generated (base-generated or otherwise)
in a position between the demonstrative and the
noun phrase as examples in (4) show:
(4). a. * Arba amqran ind
Boy old-Mas that-dist.
That young boy
b. *Tadart n othma ind
House of my sister that
That house of my sister.
The tentative and informal proposal that can be
suggested to account for the ungrammaticality of
the constructions in (4.a-c) is that the demonstrative
and the noun phrase can be considered as one
complex constituent. What makes this proposal
sounds true, even if it is too early to say so, is that
it is not only adjectival phrases which is forbidden
to intervene between them , but also all other
syntactic categories including Possessive Phrases as
the examples (3-c) and (4d) show.
From the discussions above, we extract these facts:
(i) The Demonstrative in AAV appear only in
postnominal position.
(ii) Demonstrative system in AAV is a three-way
distinctive system (Proximal, Intermediate and
(iii) There is only person agreement (among
-features) between the demonstrative and the
(iv) It is impossible for an element, whatever
its type is, to intervene between the noun and the
(v) AAV Demonstrative cannot occur and
stand alone; it has to be attached to an appropriate
(vi) The adjective (Adj) agrees with the noun (N)
in all -features except Person.
As the fact (ii) indicates, demonstrative system of
Ait Atta Variety of Amazigh language is a threeway distinctive system. That is to say, AAV speakers
use three demonstratives d(this), nna(that)
and ind(that over there), which are used to
point to entities proximal, medial and distal
respectively in what is called in the literature
(Diessel 1999, among many others) their deictic

hypothesises that there is a determiner phrase

which precedes the noun phrase. This phrase is
headed by the head D. Also, it takes the noun
phrase as its complement. But there are some
languages in which the definite article co-occurs
with the demonstrative. If this is true, then one
can argue that these two categories are different
syntactic categories. Many studies (Brug 1996
and references cited there) about demonstratives
assume that the position of the article is D and
the position of the demonstrative is [Spec, DP].
This claim as a matter of fact is supported by many
syntactic accounts of demonstratives and articles
(Brug 1996; Giusti 1993 among many others).
Demonstratives alongside with indefinite articles
are classified among determiners. Whether this
classification is right or wrong, demonstratives and
indefinite articles of AAV can never occur in one
syntactic structure even the fact that they appear
in different positions, the former in postnominal
position and the latter in pronominal position. Let
us observe the examples in (6):
(6). a- Tarbat-d.
This girl
b- * Yat trbat-d
One girl-this
* This one girl
In the example (6.b), the indefinite article
yat contains an indefiniteness feature and
the demonstrative d implies a definiteness
feature. As a result, there is a mismatch of
features in the computational system which will
cause the derivation to crash at LF hence the
ungrammaticality of (6.b). In AAV, the issue of
definiteness and indefiniteness causes challenging
problems. Indefiniteness is achieved by the use of
the numeral yat/one-feminine-singular, yan/
one-masculine-singular, itsen/some-masculineplural, and ittsent/some-feminine-plural. On the
other hand, definiteness can be achieved by the use
of the genitive marker n/of and the demonstrative
as I am assuming. This discussion leads us to ask
these two questions: (a) what are the building block
features of the demonstrative of AAV? (b) Which of
these features are computed?

4-3 The Syntactic Nature of the Demonstrative Asking these two questions bring us to an interesting
in AAV
fact about the demonstrative in AAV. This fact is
that the AAV demonstrative is not a full-fledged
The nature of the syntactic category of the syntactic category. It is a bundle of features. As a
demonstrative is a mysterious and misleading result, it has to be attached to an appropriate head.
one. In traditional approaches to grammar, According to all examples discussed above, the
grammarians classify demonstratives alongside demonstrative attaches to the head of the nominal
articles as determiners. Determiners are assumed projection and it appears in a postnominal position.
to be positioned in the head of a functional Therefore, it is an enclitic.
projection which is dubbed DP. The DP-hypothesis

This piece of information urges us to ask how the

process of encliticisation is achieved, namely which
syntactic object moves to the position of the other.
This question will be dealt with in the next section.
Now we turn to the questions (a) and (b).
The forms of AAV demonstratives have different
demonstrative is realised as d; nna is the
phonological form of the proximal demonstrative.
The distal demonstrative has the form ind as
its phonological realization. The forms of these
demonstratives do not change when they are
encliticised. Once can notice that the proximal
and distal demonstrative share this phonological
matrix d, and the only sound which is shared by
the three of them is the sound . This difference
can be explained by bring the issue of the internal
structure of the demonstrative.
The demonstrative is a bundle of features. The main
formal features of the demonstrative are Referential
feature [+REF], Deictic feature [+Deictic], Third
Person [+3rd] and Definiteness [+Def]. One could
assume that [+REF] and [+Deictic] features are
the only features which lead to the variation in the
phonological forms of the demonstratives of AAV.
That is to say, the assignment of the phonological
flesh to the syntactic skeleton of the demonstrative
is sensitive to the position of the referent in the
deictic centre. If the referent is [- distant] and
[-intermediate], then it is [+ proximal]. As a result,
the PF pronounces the demonstrative as d.
On the other hand, if the referent is [- proximal]
and [-intermediate], then the PF pronounces the
demonstrative as ind. Finally if the referent is [proximal] and [-distant], the PF pronounces the
demonstrative as nna. Now the question (a)
has been answered and the question (b) repeated
here as which of these features are computed in
the computational system. The majority of the
linguistic studies have done on the syntax of
demonstratives agree that the only computed
features are Referential [+REF] and Deictic [+
Deictic] features .In fact, they are the trigger of
movement of the demonstrative. According to
Lyons (1996), demonstratives can be inherently
specified by the feature [+ Def].This assumption is
supported by the fact that the demonstrative and
the indefinite article are incompatible as one can
deduce from examples discussed above.
4.4 The Base and Landing Position of the

Nominal Projection before any Movement takes

place is [DP [D [DemP Dem [FP F [NP N]]]]],
as the tree diagram in (7) shows:
(7)Let us see how this DP in (7) is derived and
represented. The computational system (CS)

makes a Numeration (N) by selecting two lexical

items from the lexicon, namely the noun tarbat/
girl and the proximal demonstrative d. So the
numeration for this structure is N= {tarbat1, d1}.
The index below the lexical items in N indicates
the number of the occurrences of lexical items in
the numeration. So the CS selects the lexical item
tarbat from the numeration and forms an NP, and
the numeration is changed to N= {tarbat0, d1}.
Afterwards the CS accesses again the N and selects
the demonstrative d. Thus the N is reduced to
zero N= {tarbat0, d0}. After the selection of the
demonstrative, the CS merges it with the noun
forming Dem, an intermediate projection; and
this projection is merged with a specifier forming
DemP, a maximal projection. The DemP is merged
with the head D to form D and in its turn D is
merged with a specifier to form the DP, if one takes
into consideration of the DP-hypothesis (Abney
1987). Thus, we obtain the syntactic object in (8):

According to the facts (i-v) above, the demonstrative

in Ait Atta Variety of Amazigh language is an
enclitic head of Demonstrative Projection (DemP).
The order of the Demonstrative Projection and the

(8). *d tarbat
This girl
This girl
One can notice that no movement or what is
called Internal Merge is applied to the phrase
marker in (8) yet. According to the assumptions
of the DP-hypothesis, there is a higher functional
projection which is headed by a head labelled D;
the noun in a nominal projection has to raise to
the head D (what is called N-to-D raising). Let us
suppose that is what exactly happens. The noun
tarbat in (8) moves to D successively. That is to
say, it moves to all possible functional projections
within the DP. Thus the noun tarbat/girl moves
to the Dem in which it checks the -feature of the
demonstrative, afterwards moves to D. The trigger
of this movement is to check D-feature in D and
possibly others. Also the demonstrative must
move to higher position in order to check [+REF]
and [+DEICTIC], and the question is what is this
position. Let us take a look at this syntactic diagram

(10). Krat tmarin-ind.

Three women those
Those three women
The order of syntactic categories among DPs which
consist of Nominal Projection, Demonstrative
Projection and Numeral Projection (NumP) is as
is showed in (11) (put aside other possible empty
functional projections including Agreement

(11). [DP D [NumP Num [DemP Dem [NP

From (10) and (11), none can deny that there is

a movement of the noun. Two questions come to
the fore which are (a) to where the noun moves?
And (b) what is the motivation of this movement?
Concerning the question (a) two possible
position can be put forward. The first one is that
the noun moves and adjoins the demonstrative
at the overt syntax. From that position the new
formed syntactic object moves to D at the covert
component. The second possibility is that the noun
moves overtly and successively to a higher position
of a functional projection between the positions of
the demonstrative and the numeral element. These
possibilities are diagrammed as (12-a.b).Which
one of these two possibilities is theoretically and
empirically genuine will be stated when a reasonable
answer for (b) is achieved. According to (12-a), the

in (9)
After the movement of the noun tarbat to D, it
checks all relevant features as it is desired. One can
notice that by this movement we get the right word
order of the demonstrative and the noun in AAV
without an overt movement of the demonstrative.
As a result, I could assume that the demonstrative
in AAV moves covertly at LF because its [+REF,
+DEICTIC] are weak. These features are checked in
the specifier of the DP. This analysis works well for
simple DPs which contain only the demonstrative
and the noun. However, the sentences which
contain, in addition to both the noun and the
demonstrative, numerals cannot be analysed in the
same way as we have done to the DP in (9). Let us
see how can such a DP in (10) can be derived and

noun tmarin adjoins the distal demonstrative

ind and agrees with its phi-feature 3rd person
as far as I know. I also assume that this complex
syntactic object moves covertly to Num and
agrees with its phi-features, and then continues its
journey to D to check relevant features , namely
D-feature , [+REF] and [+DEICTIC]. If this is on
the right track, then we can account successfully
for the order of functional projections within AAV
DPs. But certainly this account is against the line
of syntactic inquiry of DPs these days. The type of
the movement of the complex syntactic object to
D is controversial. The head N contains a strong
D-feature which triggers the raising of N to D
(Longobardi 1994). We will return to the issue of
the overt raising of N-to-D in AAV below. Now we
consider the second possibility.
12-b) the second possibility: the movement of N
to an F between NumP and DemP (putting the DP


As far as the phrase marker (12-b) is concerned, the noun

moves overtly and in step by step fashion from its base
position to the head F. Here a batch of questions arises.
What is the nature of this FP? What its features are? What
are the theoretical and empirical reasons for postulating
such a projection if there are any? As far as I know, I do
not have much to say about this, so these questions will
remain open until much more is known about the internal
structure of AAV DPS. This situation urges me to opt for the
first possibility.
We turn now to the question (b). A movement of any lexical
item, whatever its type is, is triggered by a self-serving
interest of eliminating some uninterpretable features which
will cause the derivation to be crashed if they still are
visible in the derivation at LF. Thus, the movement of the
noun is motivated by checking features. In addition to phifeatures, the noun contains a D-feature which is presumably
thought to be the reason behind the movement of the noun
(Longobardi 1994, Chomsky 1995 following Longobardi
1994). But this feature is located in the head D, neither in
Dem nor in a higher functional head between DemP and
N-to-D rising in AAV causes a challenging problem for the
first possibility which is diagrammed in (12.a) above. In
fact, this problem has to do with the word order between the
heads Num, N and Dem, excluding the possibility that
the noun and the demonstrative heads form one complex
syntactic object for a while. Let us take a look at a syntactic
structure which consists of these three heads.
13- Sin ishirran-d
Two boys- this
These two boys
One can notice that the surface order of this syntactic
structure is Num > N> Dem. And if you take the
assumptions of DP-hypothesis into consideration, surely
this is what I am assuming here for the moment, the head
of DP must be added to this template. Thus, this template
D>Num> N> Dem is achieved. The pattern in (14-b)
shows the result of N-to-D raising if one applies it to the
sentence in (13). The structure in (14-a) is assumed to be the
structure achieved after the Numeration of (13) is reduced
to zero.
14 -a) [DP D [NumP Sin [DemP d [NP ishirran]]]]
-b) *[DP ishirrani [NumP ti + Sin [DemP ti + d [NP
Unfortunately, the attained structure in (14-b) after the
N ishirran raises successively from its base position to
the head position of DP is ungrammatical in AAV and
presumably in other Amazigh varieties. Thus, one can
conclude that the movement of the head N does not reach
any projection above the numeral projection in the overt
component. If this is so, then we can deduce two options,
either the head N moves to the head D covertly or the
noun does not have the D-feature at all and hence there is
no need for this movement. The first option implies that
the D-feature in N is weak in AAV and also possibly in all
Amazigh varieties; therefore, the checking of this feature
is delayed until the covert component. The second option
denies totally the existence of D-feature in the head N.
The first option specifies that the D-feature is weak in AAV.
According to this specification, the noun moves covertly to
D. Let us see how the computation system derives the


sentence (13) repeated here as (15).

15. Sin ishirran-d
Two boys- this
These two boys

the head N movement to the head Dem. What is this

feature? This question takes us back to the features of the
demonstrative. We have assumed that the demonstrative in
AAV consists of Referential feature [+REF], Deictic feature
[+Deictic], Third Person feature [3rd] and definiteness
feature [+Def]; Lyons (1999) assumes that demonstratives
have an inherently [+Def] feature. Basing on Lyons
assumption and the discussion of the building block features
of AAV demonstrative, I argue that this strong F in N is
checked by the demonstrative. Presumably this feature is
[Def] .If this turns out to be correct, then the problem of
the word order is solved successfully.

A numeration is formed by copying a given collection of

lexical items from the lexicon. The sentence in (15) has this
numeration {N=ishirran1, sin1, d1}. The computational
system accesses this numeration and selects each time a
lexical item and reduces its index by one. The CS selects
the noun ishirran and then selects the demonstrative d
and merges these two lexical items. Afterwards, it selects
the numeral element sin and merges it with the attained Tree diagram, in (17) shows the solution for the problem
syntactic object of the first operation of Merge to form a of word order among AAV DPs which contain Numeral
more complex syntactic object. As a result, the numeration elements and demonstratives.
is exhausted and appears as {N=ishirran0, sin0, d0}.
Finally, the pattern in (14-a) is achieved. Subsequently,
the CS modifies this pattern by invoking the checking
procedure. This procedure takes syntactic objects with
strong features and move them to appropriate positions in
which the [-interpretable] are eliminated or made invisible
to the interfaces. If the first option is correct, then we must
have the syntactic phrase marker in (16):
16. [DP D [NumP Sin [DemP d [NP ishirran]]]]
According to the phrase marker (16), the noun ishirran
moves covertly and successively to D and the demonstrative
moves also covertly to D. Let us suppose that these two
syntactic objects check there features in D and the specifier
of the DP respectively. The problem is that there is no attested
phrase marker such as (16) in AAV. This is because we do
not have a word order such as [D >Dem >N] in AAV. As
a result, the first option which specifies that the D-feature
in the head N is weak is wrong and leads to unattested
word order. We are left with second option even if there is
a way in which I can reconcile the first option. This will be
introduced after we see what the second option will offer.
The second option says that the head N in AAV does not
have D-feature at all , rather it has another strong feature
.This feature must be checked in a position lower than
Num; that is , in the head Dem or a head of a functional
projection between NumP and DemP . This claim is based
on the observations of AAV DPs which contain the heads D,
Num, Dem and N. We have seen that the movement of N
to D either overly or covertly leads to a wrong word order.
In fact, the issue of postulating another FP is discussed above
and I have concluded that there is no empirical reason for this
postulation giving the status of our limited understanding of
the hierarchical structure of functional projections within
AAV DPs. Thus, the idea of the movement of N to a head of
a functional head between NumP and DemP is unavailable.
Thus, we are left with the possibility that the noun moves
and adjoins the demonstrative.
To get round of the problem of word order among DPs
which contain the heads D, Num, Dem and N, I propose
that the head N has a strong feature F .This strong feature
must be checked against the head Dem overtly. Thus, the
head N moves and adjoins Dem in the overt syntax. By
doing so, the uninterpretable feature is rendered invisible
at LF. And from that position the complex syntactic object
(N+Dem) moves covertly to the head Num with which it
checks phi-features and then moves to D to check [+REF]
and [+DEICTIC]. Everything goes smoothly.
Before moving on in our analysis, I would like to bring some
attention to an interesting and exciting issue. This issue is
related to the suggested strong feature F which triggers

Now the facts in (5) above can be explained easily. Let us

take (5.iv) and (5.v) and see how one can explain them. The
facts that the heads N and Dem form a complex syntactic
object (5.iv) and that the demonstrative is an enclitic which
must be attached to a nominal head are two faces of the same
coin. If we discover the working mechanics of the process
of the encliticisation of Dem and N, then we explain
automatically the fact that the demonstrative and the noun
form a complex syntactic object. In fact, we have done some
work in this direction, but it needs to be highlighted here.
Apparently, the demonstratives in AAV are enclitics. That
is, they have to be suffixed at the end of a given head. Thus,
none can ignore the fact that morphology has a hand in the
process of encliticisation. In fact, when the noun moves
and adjoins the head of the Demonstrative, it checks its
features there and forming a complex syntactic object and
then this complex object moves covertly to check other
relevant features in D. After all features in the derivation
are checked, the operation Spell-Out applies. This operation
splits the derivation into two copies, sending a copy of
phonological representation to PF and copy of semantic
representation to LF. The MP assumes the idea that there is
a morphological subcomponent. If this is so, I can assume
that the process of encliticisation, and hence the forming of
the complex syntactic object [N+Dem], takes place in


the morphological component. The explanation of the facts

(5.iv) and (5.v) is supported by examples discussed above.

check features of the demonstrative DP.

The sentence (18.b) is ambiguous and some native speakers
of AAV find it ungrammatical. The first interpretation is
The line of inquiry which is devised above to solve that the noun arba/son and the proximal demonstrative
the problem of word order of the functional and d form one syntactic constituent (arba-d/ this boy);
lexical projections ,especially the numeral projection , as a result, we get the sentence arba- d n-othma). The
demonstrative projection and nominal projection within second one is that the genitive phrase n-othma/ of my
AAV DPs can be extended to DPs with Genitives and sister and the proximal demonstrative d form this
adjectives, in addition to the heads Dem , D ,N and or complex syntactic object n-othma-d/ of my this sister.
Num .An example of such DPs is in (18-a.b):
Both of these two interpretations are syntactically odd.
18. a- Arba-d n- ottma
Son-this of-sister-my
The problem with the first one is that the genitive intervenes
This son of my sister
between the noun arba and the demonstrative d. This
intervention goes against one of those established facts
b- *Arba n-othma-d
about AAV demonstrative in respect to nouns in DPs. In
Son ofsister-my -this
this example the GenP intervenes between the noun and the
This son of my sister
demonstrative. Concerning the problem with the second
The surface structure of the sentence (18-a) is [DP D [NP interpretation, the Genitive Phrase n-othma contains the
[Arba] [DemP [d] [GenP[n] [NP [ottma]]]]. If we want to possessive marker n and an NP othma/my sister. When
analyse this sentence in accordance with the assumptions of the noun arba moves and adjoins to the head Genitive
this paper, the phrase marker in (19) is derived. When the Phrase, they form a more complex syntactic object which
numeration of (18.a) is reduced to zero, the CS computes moves and adjoins in its turn to the head Dem where it
its derivation in order to make uninterpretable features checks relevant features. But this derivation does not satisfy
invisible at LF. As we have assumed the noun arba/ FL because there is still undeleted and uninterpretable
son contains a strong feature which is checked at Dem; feature of *n-othma-d/of my sister. This explanation is
therefore, it moves overtly and successively and adjoins the diagrammed in (20):
demonstrative d/this as the tree diagram (18) indicates.
And finally the complex syntactic object moves covertly to

Also the DPs which contain the adjectival elements can be

accounted with less effort. Let us take the sentence in (21)
and observe the hierarchical order of elements within it:
21. tarbat-nna tazzaft.
Girl-that-interm tall-Fem
That tall girl
The order of the functional and lexical heads in the sentence
(21) is D>N>Dem>Adj. The numeration N of (21) is
N= {tarbat1, tazzaft1, nna1}. The CS selects each time a
lexical item until the N is reduced to zero. It selects tarbat
and then selects the adjective tazzaft; these two lexical
items are merged together forming an Adjectival Projection
(AdjP). Next the CS selects the intermediate demonstrative
nna/that (near to the addressee) and merges with the
AdjP forming another functional projection which , in its
turn, is merged with the head of the DP. Therefore, the


following structure is obtained:

[DP D [DemP nna [AdjP tazzaft [NP tarbat]]]]
After the numeration is reduced to zero (N= {tarbat0,
tazzaft0, nna0}.the procedure of Internal Merge or
simply invites itself to the party to make uninterpretable
features invisible before they reach LF. Thus, the noun tarbat
moves overtly and successively from its base position to the
head Adj to check its phi-features against of phi-features
of the adjective, and from that position it raises to the head
of DemP which it checks its strong feature F and other
relevant features in Dem. This complex syntactic object
(tarbat+ nna) moves covertly to D to check the features of
Dem, namely [+REF] and [+ DEICTIC] features. The tree
diagram in (22) shows the structure attainted immediately
after the numeration of the sentence in (22) is reduced to
zero and the tree diagram in (23) shows the surface structure
of the same sentence.

23. The surface structure of the sentence in (21):


22. The structure of the sentence (21) when the operations

Select and Merge are finished:
According to the discussions above, I propose the following
hierarchical structure of functional and lexical categories
within AAV DPs in (24.a-b).The structure in (24.a) is
achieved after the numeration is exhausted and the structure
in (24.b) is the surface structure of AAV DPs.
24.a. [DP D[NumP Num [DemP Dem [ AdjP Adj[GenP
Gen[NP N]]]]]]
b. [DP D [NumP Num [DemP N+Dem [AdjP ti +
Adj [GenP ti + Gen [NP ti]]]]]]
Here is a sentence which represents the structure in (24-b):

Krat tmarin-ind tiwssarin n-Imider

Three women-that old-Pl of-Imider
Those three women of Imider

The tree diagram in (26) shows the proposed hierarchical

structure of functional and lexical categories within AAV


Concerning the order of Adjectival and Genitive projections, we may come across with some AAV DPs in which
the order of AdjP and GenP is reversed. That is to say, we
have such a structure [DP D (.) [GenP Gen [AdjP Adj [
[NP N]]]]]] as the examples in (27) indicate:
27 a. Sin ishirran-nna n-othma imzyan
Two children-that of-my-sister small-Pl
Those two small children of my sister
b. Sin ishirran-nna imzyan n-othma
Two children-that small of-my-sister
Those two small children of my sister
In brief, the derivation and the word order of functional
and lexical projections within AAV DPs which consist of
the heads D, Dem , Gen and N do not pose any problem
to our assumptions outlined. However, more extensive work
is called for in order to achieve a unified and principled account of the hierarchical structure of DPs in other Amazigh
5- Conclusion
This paper has dealt with the issue of word order among
AAV DPs which contains the heads N , Dem , Num
and D. In these DPs, there is a contradiction between the
word order of their functional and lexical heads after and before Spell-Out. If one takes into consideration the approach
of N-to-D raising (Longobardi 1994) and the Demonstrative Movement to Spec of Determiner Projection Approach
(Giusti 1996), in AAV DPs the head N moves overtly to D
to check D-feature and the head Dem moves covertly to
[Spec, DP]. This works well for simple DPs which consist of
the demonstrative and the noun. But this does not work for
complex DPs which contain another functional projection
,namely the Numeral projection. In fact, in these DPs the
head of the Nominal Projection cannot move overtly to the
head of the Determiner Projection. If it moves overtly, the
CS derives a wrong order in AAV.

it has to be attached to an appropriate host.

(vi) Adjectives and Nouns in Amazigh DPs agree in all
-features except Person.
Taking these facts into consideration, I have investigated the
nature of AAV demonstratives, focusing on their building
block features. I concluded that demonstratives of AAV
consist of [+REF] ,[DEICTIC], [3rd person] , and [Definiteness] features. [+REF] and [DEICTIC] features are
checked covertly in D after the head of Nominal Projection adjoins the head Dem. Afterwards I have shown how
a DP which contains Dem and Num can be derived and
represented. I have started by showing how the computational system works. After the forming of a numeration N,
the CS accesses this numeration and selects each time a lexical item and reduces its index by one. When the numeration
is exhausted, the CS computes the formed syntactic objects,
yielding the PF and LF pairs. After all uninterpretable features are checked, the operation Spell-Out applies and
sends the phonological structure to PF-interface and the
semantic structure to LF-interface to get their phonological and semantic interpretations respectively. If there is any
ineligible object at either or both interfaces, the derivation
I have supported my arguments by giving this example
Sin d ishirran/ these two boys. The numeration of this
sentence is numeration {N=ishirran1, sin1, d1}. The computational system accesses this numeration and selects each
time a lexical item and reduces its index by one. The CS selects the noun ishirran and then selects the demonstrative
d and merges these two lexical items. Next it selects the
numeral element sin and merges it with the attained syntactic object of the first operation of Merge to form a more
complex syntactic object. As a result, the numeration is exhausted and appears as {N=ishirran0, sin0, d0}. Finally,
this pattern [DP D [NumP Sin [DemP d [NP ishirran]]]]
is achieved. Subsequently the CS modifies this pattern by
invoking the checking procedure. This procedure takes syntactic objects with strong features and move them to appropriate positions in which the [-interpretable] are eliminated
or made invisible to the interfaces. According to the assumptions and claims of this paper, the noun ishirran/ boys
moves overtly and adjoins the proximal demonstrative
d/this and checking its strong feature F; therefore, the
complex syntactic object ishirran-d/ boys-this is formed.
At that juncture , the complex object moves covertly to the
head of Numeral Projection sin/two to check and agree
with its phi-features, and finally moves to D to check the
features of the demonstrative .Hence the structure [ DP
D[NumP Sin [DemP ishirrani + d [NP ti]]]] is obtained.
Thus we get the right and attested word order within AAV
DPs which consist of the demonstrative and the numeral
element in addition to the head of the nominal projection.

To get around of this problem, I have argued that the demonstrative in AAV is base-generated in the head of the
Demonstrative Projection, a functional projection. Furthermore, I have assumed that the head N contains a strong
feature F ([Def]) which triggers the movement of the noun
to Dem, a head position in which this feature F is rendered
invisible at LF. Indeed at this position the complex syntactic
object is formed. And then the [N+Dem] moves covertly
and successively to the head D to check [+REF], [+DEICTIC] and [phi] features. In this way, we have established a
principled account of the hierarchical structure of this type
of DPs in AAV. Moreover, the impossibility of the intervention of other syntactic categories between the noun and the
demonstrative is accounted for. The reason put forward is
that they form a complex syntactic object.
This line of inquiry of AAV DPs is worthwhile to pursue
and presumably it is possible to extend it to other varieties
In doing so, I have launched an extensive analysis of demon- of Amazigh language. In addition, extending this line of instratives in AAV. Definitely I reach some interesting facts quiry to AAV DPs which contain other elements than the
such as these ones:
demonstrative and numeral will lead researchers to discover
much more about the hierarchical structure of functional
The Demonstrative in AAV appear only in post- and lexical categories within the DPs such as Genitive Pronominal position.
jections and Adjectival Projections .
(ii) Demonstrative system in AAV is a three-way distinctive system (Proximal, Intermediate and Distal).
(iii) There is only person agreement between the demonstrative and the noun phrase.
(iv) It is impossible for an element, whatever its type is,
to intervene between the noun and the demonstrative.
AAV Demonstrative cannot occur and stand alone;


Every Child Is A Natural Conlanger

Much of the marvel of human communication

comes from the fact that it is not adults who learn
to communicate in a such a complex and infinite
way but children who can barely run or perform
any other challenging activity. Yet, it is children
who can, by both imitation and reasoning, decode
and recode any message they perceive in whatever
language their parents communicate.
Some Scientists in Sweden even argue that, because
babies only hours old can differentiate between
sounds from their mothers native language and a
foreign language; they indeed learn language while
still in the womb1. As early as around 7 months into
pregnancy a babys sensory and brain mechanisms
for hearing are developed and during the last 10
weeks of gestational age babies are already actively
listening to their mothers talking. In just 0-12
months babies learn to match the parents voices
to their faces and smile at the sight of the faces or
the sound of the voices. They learn to repeat the
same sound/word a lot and make gurgling sounds,
eventually easy sounds like (a, i, p, b,w, m) will be
the first to be used. They also learn to respond to
the word No and begin to keenly listen when
talked to, by the end of the first year babies can
easily differentiate concrete words like car, keys, cat
and produce easy ones like mama, night, bye bye,
In that systematic and unperceived way children
begin to accumulate linguistic data until around
4-5 years old when they surprise adults by their
command of language and dexterity of their
capacity for speech; they can now utter sentences
like We went to the park but had to come home
early because it was raining hard- a 5 years old boy
talking to his father, or You are a bad girl, very bad,
no more candy for you until you say sorry, ok? 4 years old o girl playing with her dolls. Without
any formal instruction per se, children grow up to
produce consistent interpretations of their reality in

novel sentence constructions they probably never

heard before, and if taught to read soon at around 4
years old, they will be much prone to use language
proficiently before 6 years old.
These facts teach us something we have known for
long but never really tried to understand it; children
do have an inner superior capacity for complex
mathematical communication which operates by
means of algorithmically ordering already created
elements and shaping them according to particular
conditions and after prestablished patterns.
The possible permutations for communication
given a set of algorithms under which operate are
endless; and children as soon as they realse this
begin to make use of the intricate mechanism
of languages software and hardware. In the end
what humans strive for by means of language is to
understand and to be understood, to inquire about
something and to relate about something.
Not so long ago a linguistics researcher noticed
something peculiar concerning how children learn
and use language, Derek Bickerton realised that
even when a language is not immediatly available
for them to use, they would generate their own
means of communication and create out of thin
air the necessary rules to meaningfully arrange
their sounds-inventory.
He claimed that children by means of an inner,
universal and instinctive, superior capacity for
communication can bring to life any language they
need to; as proof of this phenomenon he demostrated
how children born and raised in multicultural and
multilingual communities which employ pidgins
as means of communication always generate,
without any linguistic direction, creole languages
which are very structured and systematic and
which also share common characteristics among
them regardless of the languages used as linguistic

Some few Syntactic simmilarities are the following:

SVO word order
Tense-Modality-Aspect systems
Adjectives as verbs
Question words
Passive equivalents
McWhorter, another reasearcher and contributor
to the Language Bioprogram Hypothesis claimed
that all creoles share certain similarities that set
them apart from other natural languages, he
identified these 3 main characteristics:
1. Grammatical inflection by means of Affixing
2. Development of productive, nontransparent
derivational affixes
3. Usage of tone to mark lexical differences or to use
them as grammatical markers

When the infernal machine of plantation

slavery began to grind its wheels, iron laws of
economics came into play, laws that would lead
to immeasurable suffering but would also, and
equally inevitably, produce new languages all over
the world languages that ironically, in the very
midst of mans inhumanity to man, demonstrated
the essential unity of humanity.
Derek Bickerton, PHD.

To test things further Bickerton had this unorthodox

idea to fully demonstrate his claims in which a
group of families spreaking mutually unintelligible
languages would be set on a uninhabitated island
for some years to see how the adults would develop
a pidgin to communicate with each other and
later on how children would use this imperfect
pidgin to create a systematic creole to fully express
and in order to communicte at home they would
use basic private signs with their close friends and
Obviously the experiment was cancelled on moral family, however several cases of idioglossia had
grounds due to the claimed hazards of it; nonetheless, already been attested in many homes.
some answers to the questions sought after in this
experiment already were available. The first data
comes from the history of slavery in America, from
the Atlantic slave trade and indentured servitude in
the South Pacific where one of the best examples is

Then, in 1977 the conditions required for a language

to develop emerged when a centre for special
education stablished a program for educating
and treating young deaf people. As expected
the teacherss preferred method for teaching
communication to these impaired children was
Thousands of slaves from different regions of Africa lipreading and alphabetical sign spelling in Spanish;
working together in the sugar, tobacco, cotton, etc and as predicted, the program achieved little succes
plantations and needing to communicate with each in improving or attaining childrens literacy.
other for performing tasks and whatnot devised a
language made up of pieces of the many original At school children, while interacting with their
langauges bounded in an flawed grammar that teachers, persisted linguistically detached, they
would still allow them to understand each other. simply could not grasp the concepts of Spanish
These slave-parents when at work could not take words, at least not in the way their teachers were
care of their offspring and would leave them to teaching them; yet during the break, on the street,
baby-sitters who would speak to them in their and in the bus to and from school, children were
mother tongue and the common pidgin used as actively communicating with each other.
lingua franca around. These children perceiving
the limitations of the pidgin began to introduce Just as in the case of the slaves in the plantations,
complex grammatical features wich the native they brought their own signs from home and mixed
pidgin was lacking in order to expand their range of them and used them as they thought appropiate
communication which resulted in a new unattested and before their teachers realised so, these children
langauge, a creole.
had already created a pidgin and later on a very
functional and grammatical creole; they had created
The second source of data cames from Nicaragua their own language, a Natural Conlang.
where until around 1970-80 there was no sign
language as aid to deaf-mute people. Until then,
deaf people were largely isolated from each other

Creoles are not bastard tongues after all.

Quite the contrary: they are the purest
expression we know of the human capacity
for language.

Derek Bickerton, PHD.

The teachers were amazed at this phenomenon and at first they thought
it was merely the clumsy mimical representation of a butchered
Spanish, until they decided to ask for help to the Nicaraguan Ministry
of Education which in turn contacted Judy Kegl, an American Sign
Language linguist from MIT to provide these teacher with an answer
and guidance over these events.
Contrary to what the teachers thought Kegl and other researchers
pointed out that those signs were not pantomimes and gestures, plain
clumsy inventions of children, or ciphers of spoken Spanish; older
students were actively using a pidgin form and the younger ones were
already developing a creole with verb agreement and other elaborated
conventions of grammar; and in time from these signs ISN was born (Idioma de Seas de Nicaragua) Nicaraguan Sign Language.
These examples and the data collected from research show us that
every child has the innate need and capacity to communicate and
even when the environment does not provide the necessary tools for
achiving the complex degree of human communication, children will
find a way to naturally create meaning of their own will and pleasure,
as any good conlanger does.
*The study was co-conducted by professorHugo Lagercrantz and funded by the National Institutes of
Health and Pacific Lutheran Universitys S. Erving Severtson Forest Foundation
Undergraduate Research Program.
* Picture of comparative table from Wikipedia


Testing Learners Writing

There is no doubt that writing provides language
with a visual representation. It is utilised particularly
to transmit multiple types of information. This
section will introduce the reader to the writing
process. Afterwards, it will identify the dynamic
nature of this cognitive skill. Equally important,
this section will present some of the types adopted
to measure a learners capability in a certain field.
This section is a preliminary to the section that
The Notion of Writing:
It goes without saying that one of the fundamental
properties of human language is its ability to be
written. In fact, there is a valuable claim that writing
provides a tangible nature of the language, since it
represents language in a more sophisticated form
than speech does. However, De Saussure, among
other scholars, believes that language and writing
are two distinct systems (1959: 23). In this passage,
we will shed light on a variety of perspectives made
towards writing.
The above-mentioned issue has been raised under
the discipline of applied linguistics. As far as SLA
is concerned, writing acts as a salient foundation
for the proficiency of L2. It is undeniable that
writing is getting a huge interest, mainly due to its
cognitive nature which merges between thinking
and learning (Nystrand, 1993). Nevertheless,

few studies have been conducted to decode the

processing of this cognitive skill. This is perhaps
owing to the fact that it is highly complex in nature.
From an artistic view, writing is defined as a job
experiment. It is like any discovery job you do not
know what is going to happen until you try it (
Bottoms and Goulish, 2007: 218). In other words,
writing varies depending on the writer, context,
culture and aptitude. All these components, among
others, contribute to make of writing a riddle that
needs to be resolved. Despite that writing has been
marginalised as a communicative method. It is
true that it is regarded as the key of learning L2,
for it is a device for expressing language (Gelb,
1966: 12). This means that learning how to write
in a given language i.e. composing, combining the
sequences of a language, would make the study of
an L2 much easier, as the writing contains difficult
as well as elegant linguistic forms than speech does.
All in all, writing involves an interaction between
the hand and the eye. It is an accurate representation
of the language which facilitates the expression
of the human mind. To this end, and as the next
passage will explore, writing is a dynamic process
that is achieved through several stages.
The Process of Writing:
The process of writing includes a set of skills and
stages. In this respect, Flower and Hayes (1981)
state: There is a venerable tradition in rhetoric and
composition which sees the composing process

as series of decisions and choices (Flower, R.

Hayes, 1981). This means that the path espoused by
any writer regardless of the topic and the context is
reflected in a set of practices whereby he/she attempts
to achieve diverse purposes such as informing,
persuading, expressing or even manipulating the
reader. In this unit, we shall discuss the distinct
stages of a written work to decipher the complexity
of the writing process.

With a view to get an adequate grasp of the process

of testing, it is essential to identify the term test.
For that reason, we refer to Overton (2008) who
says that a test is:
A method to determine a students ability to
complete a certain task or demonstrate mastery of a
skill or knowledge of content [...] a test is one form
of an assessment. Overton (2008)
This definition implies that a test is a procedure
implemented by the instructor with respect to the
educational system to check the competence of the
learners, as well as the advancement being made.
Having provided this brief, yet neat definition,
it is necessary to put forward a definition of our
principal concern.

Writers tend to move back and forth, so to speak,

as a swinging pendulum during their attempt to
produce a composition. In order to come up with a
valid piece of work. Concerning this matter, several
scholars have provided quite different stages that
depict the process of writing; the stages that are
considered here are mainly developed by Johnson
and Gardner (1997), and Flower, and R. Hayes Testing is the assessment of the linguistic and
communicative abilities at various stages of
the learning process [...] It is an integral part of
The first step towards writing is reflected in the language teaching [...] Testing is a means which
pre-writing stage, whereby the writer accumulates can be rendered very efficient for both teachers and
information and ideas that are related to a certain learners. Sadiqi and Ennaji (2008)
Differently said, testing is part and parcel of the
In the second stage, drafting, the writer composes teaching materials that permits instructors to
without establishing conventions. In this stage the determine the strengths and weaknesses of their
written work does not need to be neat. It is only a students. It is a beneficial undertaking for learners,
tentative attempt.
since testing stimulates the learning process.

Rereading, this stage may involve other readers, in The purposes of language testing may vary. Still,
order for the writer to get distinct perspectives that the central objectives of this latter are common.
will enable him/her to improve his/her composition. Firstly, testing attempts to determine the amount
of learning that was received by the student. To
After obtaining various opinions, the writer may illustrate, if we are to examine students on the
choose to edit the structure, the punctuation, the content given in the classroom, it would be possible
for the teacher to be aware of the things that need
more practice and those which are properly learnt.
The stage that follows is the execution of the final Another substantial purpose is to keep track of the
draft. Even though, the written work is far from progress achieved by the learner. Ultimately, to
being final due to the dynamic nature of writing.
ensure the fulfillment of the learning aims.
The writing process is not a highly linear process,
but rather a continual movement between the The field of testing writing has considerably
different steps of the writing model Johnson and improved. It has, however, witnessed many changes
Gardner (1997). In actuality, writing is a complex from one approach to another (Farhady, 1979). It
process whereby many discrete stages are being may suffice for the time being, to point out that some
of these approaches will be separately analysed in
the forth-coming sections.
Testing Versus Evaluating:
Within the field of applied linguistics, teaching,
learning, and testing are all of significance in the
acquisition of L2. In this sub-section, diverse
questions associated with the concept of testing will
be addressed. As a starting point, a definition of the
term testing will be presented. More precisely, in
the realm of language teaching and learning.

Another procedure to assess students ability, writing
in our case, is evaluation. To some extent, many
researchers have distinguished between testing
and evaluating. This section will try to explore this
procedure (i.e. evaluation), and to pin down the
dissimilarity between testing and evaluating.


Continual Assessment and Terminal Assessment:

As noted earlier, there are plenty of ways to measure
a learners aptitude in a certain scope, chiefly, testing,
and evaluating. Though, these methodologies are
susceptible to monotony and dullness, inasmuch
as the focus is, mainly, directed upon passing the
exam, instead of the appropriate command of the
concepts being delivered within the classroom.
With this in mind, this current part will explore two
principal types of assessment namely, the continual
Succinctly, this definition denotes that evaluation and the terminal assessment.
is concerned with the student and the educational
system alike. The former is in terms of the We choose the phrase continual assessment to
improvement he/she is making. The latter, however, describe a type of assessment that happens in real
is in terms of its adequacy to meet the proper criteria time rather than at the end of a week or unit. It
of a useful learning-teaching syllabus.
is continuous/ongoing because it involves daily
observations and documentation of students work
Over and above, evaluation forms a global perception while they are engaged in inquiry investigation and
of the overall system. One aspect of evaluation is discussions. (Carlson, 2003: 2) According to this
the collection of reliable and relevant information accurate definition, a beginning rather than an end is
about the foregoing elements. (Bachman, 2003: precisely how continuous assessment is considered.
22). Nonetheless, there are multiple factors that It is represented as a means to foster the learning
need to be controlled, owing to guarantee a valid process on a daily basis. Additionally, this strategy
evaluation, such as:
will reinforce the teacher-pupils relations, as he/she
will constantly track the students progress.

Scoring technique; whereby grading includes
predetermined standards for all students.
On the contrary, terminal assessment is that which
takes place only at the end of a course (Mcalpine,

The reliability of the evaluation which 2002: 8). It is carried out at the end of a major unit,
requires that all students pass the exam under e.g. by sitting an examination at the end of the
identical circumstances.
In general, evaluation is the systematic gathering of
information for purposes of decision making about
the quality of the program itself and decisions about
individuals in the program. The evaluation in the
program may involve the study of the curriculum,
objectives, materials and test or grading systems.
The evaluation of individuals involves decisions
about entrance to program, placement, progress,
and achievement (Richards and Schmidt, 2002)

The content validity, which should reflect
the content that was given therein the classroom.
By way of contrast, testing and evaluating are
distinct procedures to be adopted.

Terminal assessment may be appropriate where

there is evidence that learning each new field of
study contributes to the understanding of every
other, and hence learning can only be assessed as
a complete whole rather than as constituent parts
Evaluation does entail testing. By the same token, (op. cit: 8)
tests in and of themselves are not evaluative. Test
are often used for pedagogical purposes, either In this case, terminal assessment may have far
as means of motivating students to study, or as a positive reaching effects on the student. Yet it is
means of reviewing material taught, in which case probable that the student will be overburden with so
no evaluative decision is made on the basis of the many notions, thereafter the students will conceive
test results (op. cit)
nothing from the concepts stated.
As this quote posits, testing is, particularly, a means
of examining learners ability in a certain area; with
respect to the educational syllabus. Evaluation is
broader than testing as it has a more exhaustive
perspective of a certain scope.

By and large, it is likely that continual assessment

is a sustained strategy of assessment since it
visualises the improvement of the students towards
the learning goals. Still, terminal assessment is,
essentially, implemented for summative purposes
so as to determine the ability of a learner to move
In this section, a distinction has been made forward to the next level.
between testing and evaluating. Consequently, each
of which has distinct directions and objectives. The Conclusion:
next section will present some types of assessment,
specifically, continual assessment and terminal On the whole, writing is far from being final. Based
on that, testing this skill can be a tough task to
attain. In what follows, some of the various types
of scoring writing tests will be the major concept to
deal with.

Methods for Assessing Learners Writing:

need to be accounted for, specifically:


Grammatical ability which refers to the
mastery of grammar rules.

Language tests present a substantial aspect in

teaching and learning. They are an aid to discover
more about both, the learner and the teaching
syllabus. For this reason, there has to be more focus
on the reliability and validity of this latter. This
section will be devoted to go over the process of
testing writing. Then, it will examine some of the
scoring models applied in testing.
Testing Writing:

Lexical ability that is to say the accuracy of
the vocabulary implemented in the writing.
Stylistic skills which are represented in terms
of the transitions made within the composition.
It is quite obvious that the wider are the items
that constitute the composition, the more difficult
is to determine the learners writing ability. Besides,
another aspect that pinpoints the accuracy in
assessing learners writing is the teacher. First, he/
she is supposed to master the L2. More essentially,
the teacher must have the techniques to respond to
the students compositions as such, the feedback
should be provided only when necessary. (For more
details see Leki, Cumming, Silva, 2008).

Testing writing, in the explosively growing field of

SLA, can be a hard-time causing process as there
are various factors that need to be considered
such as, the objectivity of the tests, the scoring
methods of writing, and the reliability of these
latter. Unquestionably, not all teachers react to all
errors in the same way. They judge some to be very To conclude, writing enhances a complex nature.
serious, while they may consider others quite trivial Thereupon, the tester should try to consider all
(Davies, 1982: 21).
these issues to give an objective view of the students
writing ability.
In this section, we shall, first, explore some of
the issues envisaged while attempting to test the
writing of L2 learners. Next, we shall see some of Scoring Models for Written Productions:
the scoring methods. Hence, it is hoped that the
reader will have an appropriate understanding of Given the fundamental role of scoring in tests, there
the aforementioned concepts.
has been a keen interest in the methods of grading.
As far as one can tell, scoring learners compositions
In an attempt to decipher the process of testing L2 can be realised in distinct modes. Nonetheless,
writing Kitao, kathleem and kenji (1996) state that: some of these are neither reliable nor valid, as
Testing writing of EFL learners poses two major they do not provide a consistent judgment of the
problems. The first is making decisions about the learners writing proficiency. Diagnosing learners
matter of control, objectivity of the evaluation, and writing ability is a challenging task to undertake.
naturalness in the written test.
Granted this, the rater must be as objective as s/
he can; lest the students will not be treated fairly.
The second major problem is that, if the test is For the purpose of introducing the reader to the
done in a way that cannot be graded objectively, it various methods of scoring the learners written
is necessary to develop a scale that makes grading productions, this section will try to touch upon two
as objective as possible. Kitao, kathleem and Kitao prominent approaches of tests scoring.
kenji (1996)
This said, the composition produced by L2 learners
should be captured within the most naturalistic
environment i.e. the instructor has to adopt
an objective method to grade the writings. For
the time being, I will not elaborate more on the
methods of scoring. I will try to accomplish this in
the remainder of this present section.
At this point, it may suffice to draw your attention
on the important issue addressed by the authors
above. To get back to our point, the second issue
with testing writing is the features that should be
taken into consideration. As to illustrate, if we are
to test the writing of L2 learners, many components

Brief Account of the Scoring Methods:

Testing in the field of SLA has undergone several
mutations. This fact is attributed to the continuous
change in the methodologies of teaching.
Proponents of the Audio-Lingual method claim
that the learning of L2 can be achieved through
grammar drills. Thereupon, the testing of L2 should
target discrete items of the language. The latter is
the substantial trait of the discrete-point evaluation
(See Farhady, 1979). This approach was subject to
question; therefore, opponents of this latter argue
that assessing distinct components of

a language will not be of significance; rather, we

should consider language as a whole system, then,
to grade students on the total use of L2. Having said
that, the remainder of the section will concentrate
on the two approaches previously stated.
4.3.2 Discrete-Point Scoring Method:
Discrete-point evaluation or analytical scoring
is a method to grading writing. In this regard,
Vacc (1989) states that An analytical method
evaluates writing quality through an analysis of
the separate components of the writing (Ibid:
87). Apparently, as the previous quote holds, this
approach is characteristically reliable. It considers a
set of features such as grammar, wording, spelling,
punctuation, each of which is graded in isolation. In
other respects, analytical scoring is one of the direct
composition scoring techniques for the test-taker is
already acquainted with what he/she has to focus
on. Still, this approach may be time consuming for
the rater, it is evident that it provides a more detailed
profile of the candidates strengths and weaknesses
(Weil, 2005: 198).

This said, learners whose writing is scored in

an indirect method may not view writing as an
essential skill to be learnt. Also, they may not be
able to achieve a full command of the writing skill
nor can their teachers interpret their potentials in
In very general terms, scoring procedures are in
constant variation given the fact that the teaching
methods are in regular change.
As Hirsch (1977) made clear The assessment of
writing ability is the single most important snag
to practical progress in composition teaching and
research (Hirsch, 1977, cited in Charney, 1984).
Hence, it is prerequisite to ensure a reliable testing,
scoring of the learners compositions. In what
comes next, the last section will embark on some of
the former studies related to our current topic.

To put it plainly, analytical scoring reveals the areas

that the learner needs to develop as well as the areas
that need more practice. In what follows, we shall
endeavor a distinct scoring method i.e. the holistic
Holistic Scoring Method :
Be that as it may, holistic scoring is a common
method used among graders; it has represented a
recent shift in language testing and writing. For this
matter, Vacc (1989) states the following;
Holistic approach involves reading a writing
sample quickly and making an overall judgment
about its quality through an evaluation of the
sample as an entity without analyzing its specific
features (Ibid: 87).
In simple terms, there is an absolute neglect of
the writing components that constitute the whole
composition. In accordance with that, the holistic
approach is based on the impression of the grader.
To a large extent, this scoring method does not
reflect the learners writing ability as Brelaind and
Gaynor (1979) put it;
Indirect methods lack face validity and credibility
among members of the English profession and
educators generally, and they tend to deliver the
message that writing is not important
Brelaind and Gaynor (1979: 127, cited in Inglesa,


Linking My Theory of
Metaphor(m) to Pragmatic Use

A theory is a picture of the world; one way to
think about reality; a suggested method for seeing
experience in that way. It suggests both is and is
not, and even, I assert, should be and should not be.
Artists can picture life particularly well, thus being
implicitly theorists. Small changes in the pictures
with which we think, in our metaphor base, the stuff
of the creative arts, have major importance. The
operations of extending, elaborating, composing
and, most of all, questioning may seem slight
tools, yet they can build impressive edifices of
understanding. Metaphor theory in general and my
metaphor(m) idea, in particular, point out some of
the instantiations of this drive. Trope-as-reasoning
links theorization and creativity to everyday
thought on the one hand, and to revelatory ideation
on the other.

is eminently useful now in current discussions of

the arts of interpretation.
Equally resonant is Blooms typical lack of
footnoting. He sees interpoetical, as opposed to
intertextual, metaleptical analogizing as part and
parcel of his own thoughts. Borrowed metaphors
are reformed by the glass of ones own fashion, thus
becoming ones own.
He is scholar enough to name the people from
whom he has borrowed, but artist enough to see no
reason to make a specific roadmap to an ideas first
expression. This can be academically frustrating,
yet yields an (I believe unconscious) unity of form
and content thus it is Blooms own metaphor(m).
It assumes the visual, graphic presence of a double
indentation when quoted by me, highlighting this

An enclosed quotation is enlightening here. This is My theory of metaphor(m), and the articles on
Bloom citing Emerson, adding framing comments this website, assert the preeminence of the search
which are equally important.
for meaning, through metaphoric creativity, in art.
This is not an attempt to restore some imagined,
Emerson is totally Vichian when he identifies missing hint of a purport preceding the created
rhetoric and reality, in his late essay Poetry and text or object. It is an affirmation of the quest for
meaning as the central struggle in creativity.
For the value of a trope is that the hearer is one: and
indeed Nature itself is a vast trope, and all particular It is no longer viable to seek to discover some
natures are tropes. As the bird alights on the bough, imagined intention of meaning the artwork is
then plunges into the air again, so the thoughts the achieved meaning through its metaphor(m).
of God pause but for a moment in any form. All Each artwork is a complex of multiple meanings
thinking is analogizing, and it is the use of life to performatively embodied. Historical fact is a
learn metonymy.
necessary and enlightening frame of reference
to anchor finer associations; nevertheless, what
What Emerson is not saying is that we are in the a creator principally intended is always for that
dungeon of language. Lacan asserts that it is the specific object to exist. What all creators try to do
world of words that creates the world of things, and can likewise be plainly described.
Jakobson, less figuratively, allows himself to insist
that the poetry of grammar produces the grammar They try to tell truths with emphasis placed on the
of poetry. Emerson, like all central poets, knows verb and the plural noun ending. Yet these simplethat the grammar of poetry produces the grammar sounding essentials are the bases for immeasurably
of poetry, since poetry is a discursive and not a rich creations. There is no objectivity beyond this.
linguistic mode. Holmes remarked that Emerson In the same way, a purely subjective response is of
was eminently sane for an idealist, and such sanity little pragmatic value, only perhaps inadvertently

as a direction for a viewers own thought or as a guide to the thoroughly perplexed. A

theory of creative metaphoric thought cannot be wholly objectivist, subjectivist,
intentional, structural, paralinguistic, deconstructive, biographical, and most of all not
formalistic. Each of these methods of interpretation places the weight of the meanings in
a text or art work in some imagined, abstracted camp far from home, or in some cul-desac of unrecognised catachresis.
The greatest danger of theorists is that they tend to create situations wherein works of art
are arbitrarily expurgated from any living process and from all contexts, (be they cognitive,
historical, economic, or various others). As a practicing artist and art historian with
strong analytic proclivities and the penchant to cerebrate, I have attempted to construct
a theory in resistance to this, an anti-theory of sorts, if you will: one which emphasises
living process, personal struggle, cognition, agency and historical context.


Vowel Systems
Around The World
(a selection of texts)

Phonologists since at least Jakobson and Trubetzkoy (cf. e.g. Trubetzkoy 1939) have
been concerned with why languages display their particular array of sound patterns.
The central questions raised in treatments of the distribution of vowel systems
in particular are (i) why vowels fall into the particular zones of the perceptible/
produceable space that they do, (ii) why some sounds are more basic and thus prior
in the synchronic and diachronic evolution of segment inventories.
Theories of vowel inventory typologies:
Quantal Theory - prioritises perceptual invariance: the point vowels {a i u} are
typologically preferred because they represent regions of the articulatory space in
which variability in production has a minimal acoustic impact.
(Stevens 1972, 1988; Lang &Ohala 1996)
Traditional markedness theory - derives its hierarchy from phonological behavior
and cross-linguistic distribution for the most part, though Sanders 1972, Particle
Phonologists (e.g. Schane 1984), Iverson and Sohn 1994, the Toronto School (cf.
Rice 1999, 2002, Dresher 2003), the Government Phonologists (e.g. Harris &
Lindsey 2001),and most recently Clements 2003 derive it from feature counting.
Dispersion Theory - (DT) maintains that the structure of inventories derives from
functional principles such as minimise effort and maximise contrast.



* ( http://courses.umass.edu/linguist716-kmyu/static/pages/readings/lindblom1986.pdf).

* The two former figures are from a study.

( http://courses.umass.edu/linguist716-kmyu/static/pages/readings/lindb-


Types of Vowel Systems

( http : / / cl as . mq. e du. au / sp e e ch / phone t i c s /
The systems are built up from a number of vowel
features. All vowel systems have at least two height
and two fronting contrasts. Further contrasts are
built up from the features length (also known as
lax/tense), nasality, and lip rounding. Some extra,
less common, features that define vowel systems
also exist and will be dealt with elsewhere. In the
following examples only monophthongs will be
examined since the more complex diphthongs
are difficult to categorise in terms of their place of
articulation (having a separate place of articulation
for each target). The examples are mostly from Lass
(1984, pp139-146).

No length contrast.

Length contrast.

HIGH-LOW Systems
Languages with minimal vowel systems typically
have three vowel phonemes: one high front, one
high back, and one low vowel with no length

In other words there is a maximum dispersal of

vowel quality towards the far corners of the vowel

Note that this table for Australian English

does not imply that there are intermediate
levels between mid and either high or low.
The intermediate positions for / / and / /
merely indicate indecision about whether to
make / / mid or high and whether to make
/ / mid or low.

Length contrast.
Some languages are based on this basic system but
have in addition the added dimension of vowel



Rounding and Nasal contrast.

The upper limit is about 21 monophthong

phonemes (eg. Swiss German and Alsatian
German with length and rounding contrasts).
For more (simple) information see this great resource:
http://gesc19764.pwp blueyonder. co.uk/vowels/


10 Commandments
For Successful Conlanging

1. Do your homework
2. Be patient
3. Do ask for help when needed
4. Always inquire why/how is it so?
5. Be organised
6. Welcome challenges
7. Let your imagination go wild,
but not too wild
8. Be critical of your conlang/s
9. Take pride in your creation/s
10. Have fun!

I have narrowed down several musts for

successful conlanging to the top ten after asking and

comparing with some fellow conlangers some of the
most common problems. These 10 commandments
are the distilled advice many of us would have
loved to have had when we started our conlangs,
so learn from our mistakes and experiences and be
successful at conlanging.
1.- Do your homework
I listed this one first because I want you to fully
understand the importance of doing research
and of learning as much as you can/want before
and during conlanging. Can you conlang without
making any research at all? YES, but the results will
reflect such lack of research; you will probably get
stuck performing basic processes and you will feel
frustrated at not knowing what to do next; how to
understand certain features or how to disentangle
some key concepts or challenges. Therefore, the best
way to overcome these issues is to study a subject
carefully so that you know enough about it in order
to deal with it successfully.

Go online and start doing some light research on

topics such as: language, phonetics, morphology,
grammar, syntax, semantics, etc. Wikipedia has
a great deal of information on all these topics as
well as on general linguistics. Learn about other
languages too; dont limit yourself to your native
language; there is no need to become a polyglot, but
knowing about how other languages function and
developed will give you a broader perspective on
how human communication works and also how
varied it can be.
Ergo, the advice of having endurance in this craft
is something to be taken to heart; many famous
conlangers such as Tolkien never finished their
conlangs, because they kept on revising, modifying
and developing their creations until the end of
their days; maybe this is one of the reasons why this
passion is pursued in the first place; conlanging
may well be a long-time and deep relationship with
So, work in your conlang/s when you can and when
you feel like doing so; there is no rush or need to
speed things up (unless you are being paid for it of

course, only then will time dictate what to prioritise

and what to sacrifice), learn to love the craft and it
will love you back; remember, patience is something
you learn and it requires practice too.

There are naive questions, tedious questions, illphrased questions, questions put after inadequate
self-criticism. But every question is a cry to
understand the world. There is no such thing as a
dumb question

I leave you some proverbs that may come uplifting

when feeling down and ready to quit.
Then, where to go to ask questions about conlanging?
We have a nice group on Facebook with over 2k
Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.
members from several professional and cultural
- Molire backgrounds willing to lend a hand when needed:
The patient man shows much good sense, but the Linguistics & Conlangs
quick-tempered man displays folly at its height
-King Solomonand.conlangs/
Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; Other forums:
it is concentrated strength
- Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
3.- Do ask for help when needed

4.- Always inquire why/how is it so?

In the history of humankind there havent been
more powerful words than Why and How?
They are the reason we have gotten this far in our
current technological development and the reason
behind the scientific method and all the answers
science has provided us with over the centuries.

When I was younger, I used to be reluctant to ask

for help even when I knew I most direly needed
it, but as time passes one matures and comes to
understand that it is the sum of collective efforts
which have made humankind advance so far in
development throughout the ages. Nobody has
ever gone far on their own, period.
Wondering why some language does something in a
certain way or how it accomplishes it will teach you
There is no way around it and conlanging is to keep your minds eye open to new possibilities,
something in which feedback, advice and critique patterns, unique characteristics, idiosyncrasies, etc.
will help you more than you think. Remember and this attitude is a must for any conlanger.
that there is no need to reinvent the wheel; you
may be stuck on a topic you understand little Every conlanger is a born inquirer about the
about at the moment but if you ask a fellow workings of the mind and how this one creates
conlanger, a linguist or a language teacher about meaning and uses it to explore and advance his
it you will most likely get over such challenge world. The more you ask why and how, the more
faster and move forward to the next one.
questions and answers you will get and the better
you will develop your conlang; so have no fear and
question your own native language as a start, do
My father used to repeat to me a proverb he always research on other languages and question them too.
remembered when needing advice from others:
You will discover and learn more than you think
and the reward will be fulfilling, trust me.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in
an abundance of counselors there is safety
Assume nothing, Question everything!
King SolomonSo dont be afraid and go ask for help when needing
it, there are plenty of people willing to share their
knowledge and experience from which you can
immensely benefit, and as you know the quest for
knowledge requires failing at times and common
hindrances usually include these personal questions:
What if they say no to me?
What if they ignore me?
What if they see me as a waste of time?
Get over them, be bold and dare to ask!
Because as Carl Sagan once said:

5.- Be Organised
This advice cannot be overstated; being organised
is being in control and the last thing you want is
to lose control/track of the development of your
conlang. Once youve got midway into your creation
you will have so much data/material about it that it
will be burdensome to keep everything clean and
organised; we all have gone through such a phase
and its a lot better to begin a conlang knowing
where and how everything will be placed. The best
way to organise your conlang is to create a folder

in your computer inside which you will place all

the resources pertaining to your conlang sorted
into different subfolders; also generate an excel
(spreadsheet) document and create different tabs
inside the document in order to keep the different
elements of your conlang neatly ordered and ready
to be edited at will.

needed (3rd commandment), solve your problem

and move to next challenge; in the end this is what
makes conlanging so special The Challenging
Experience of creating meaning after your
own taste and will.
As Seneca once said: Difficulties strengthen
the mind, as labor does the body.

This is just an example of how you can organise 7.-Let your imagination go wild, but not too
your conlang; some options may vary from conlang wild.
to conlang:
Conlanging is such a creative
endeavor that will demand
to squeeze your brains juices
all over your work. When
conlanging dont hesitate to add and/or remove as
Remember, a good layout helps your system to many features as you desire. There are over 6000
be better understood; and a conlang is a very attested langauges in the world no one of them is
complex system which requires a good amount of an exact copy of another, each one of them has its
organisation. Along with such organisation there own flavor and characteristcs out of which you can
is another aspect linked to such trait, DO always derive infinite inspiration for your creation/s.
make a backup of your conlang, not just one
backup but two or three, save them in a flashdrive, Do you want to have 100 cases, 10 grammatical
on your cloud account, in an external hard-drive, genres, 20 pronouns, etc. go for it! Experiment and
etc apart from the original file in your computer. see what works best for you, dont let your mind be
Many conlangers will tell you about the frustration boxed inside a single pattern, but be careful with
and problems they have encountered after losing a craving to add every possible feature you read about
file in which they have worked for years.
every natlang you make research on.
6.-Welcome challenges
This is something you will encounter often:
Challenges; everything about conlanging is
a challenge, this is not like making a pre-made
macaroni and cheese dish on the microwave. The
more you delve into conlanging the more you will
encounter facets of the craft that seem daunting and
perplexing. So dont be afraid of such challenges
and welcome them because thats the only way to
get through them.
Not every conlanger faces the same challenges, for
some phonology is a challenge, for others vocabulary
creation is taxing, others may find morpho-syntaxis
impossible to fully grasp and some others may find
cases unmanageable to work with; whatever your
challenge may be, welcome it! Ask for help when

DO always make a
backup of your conlang,
not just one backup but
two or three!

Unexperienced conlangers often fail at this, filled

with the passion of making something so unique
and special they start endlessly adding features
they will later regret; we have all being there at
some point and in some way, so learn from other
conlangers experiences and keep yourself from
creating a Kitchen-Sink-Conlang.
Remember and repeat this to yourself as much
as needed: when conlanging coherence is a big
must. Any thriving system thrives because of the
coherence of its arreangement and the proper work
of its internal units, and a conlang is a very complex
Imagine with all your mind, Believe with all your
heart and Achieve with all your might
8.- Be critical of your conlang/s
No one will ever be a better critic of your work
than yourself, only you know and understand your
intentions, goals and purpose of your conlang.
Therefore educate yourself (1st commandment) in
order to develop the necessary criteria to criticise
and improve the system you are creating, do not
fear having to tear down that which is not working
as it should; Thomas Edison had to throw away
many failing experiments in order to achive the
perfect one.

The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking describes critical thinking
as the ability to conceptualise, analyse, synthesise, apply, and/or evaluate
information gathered from, or generated by, observation, reflection, experience,
reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. As Ashly Miller (writer)
puts it Critical thinking helps you objectively examine these factors, consider their
importance and impact on your course of action, while simultaneously maintaining
professional detachment and a non-biased attitude. Apply this to your conlang
and see it flourish as a beautiful piece of art.
9.- Take pride in your creation/s.
Taking pride in your creation is not about getting rewards and admiration from
other people or fellow conlangers, its about respecting the effort you have put into
creating your artwork. Never diminish your work and never compare it to others
as their intentions and goals will most likely differ from yours.
Care about what you do and how you get it done so at the end of day you can say
well done comrade!. Respect and honour what you do, be true to your values and
let your conlang/s be a source of enjoyment and personal pride, after all its a path
not many are willing to tread through.
10.- Have Fun!
Last but not least, have fun while conlanging, most conlangers already love
languages and everything related to it, and thats why they have so much fun in
spending hours, days, months and years at it, even when there is no money at then
end of their endeavors.
Dont let yourself be caught bored at conlanging, many of us have been there at
some point and maybe more than once, uninspired, apathetic and unmotivated to
continue, but be patient (2nd commandment), take some time off and go back to
it when you know youll feel engaged and entertained in your craft. Youll learn to
love conlanging and your conlang/s, for nobody ever loves something boring and


The Swadesh List

Background: One method of classification
of languages proposed in linguistics is
glottochronology. Glottochronology deals with
chronological relationships between languages. By
using a wordlist and a set of formulas, it ultimately
aims to map the evolution of languages together with
dates of separation, which mirrors the relatedness
of languages to each other. The assumptions are
challenged by various authors, and glottochronology
is generally not used in mainstream linguistics.
The Swadesh List: Morris Swadesh developed the
list in 1950s as a tool of glottochronology, in order
to serve as base vocabulary to which relationships
between languages are to be derived. He later
arrived to a 100 word list from a starting 500 word
list. It it listed in Table 1. Today, however, the 207
word list is more commonly used.

The mathematics of glottochronology was later

proven to be inaccurate, as it shows a constant
rate of change for each case, although certain
phenomena such as isolation and borrowing can
cause changes to languages at various rates. An
example would be Icelandic and English. Both are
Germanic languages and had native speakers living
in an island, but have diverged very far so they do
not look the same. English had so much exposure
with other languages but Icelandic was well isolated
and thus preserves several features of Old Norse.
(If you are not convinced with comparing English
with Icelandic, you can replace it with another
Nordic language.) This is because the change in
vocabulary is not a function solely of time (which
is the assumption of glottochronology), but also of
demographic, social, cultural, and political change.
Now: The idea of comparing cognates has continued
in lexicostatistics; however, glottochronology
is generally rejected in mainstream linguistics
(together with any method that relies only on time
as variable of language change); rather, a combined
comparison of lexicon, morphology, and syntax is
used to determine the relationships.

Assumption: There exists a basic vocabulary

which is relatively free of cultural influences, and is
therefore most immune to lexical change brought
by cultural differences. If the basic vocabulary
is relatively immune to lexical change brought
by cultural differences, then similarities in basic
vocabulary between two or more languages would Other authors have used alternative word lists and
therefore be attributable to the existence of common there were even proposed mathematical methods
ancestor for the two or more languages compared. which do not use constant rates of separation to
predict the rates of separation.
Composition: The list includes pronouns, parts of
human body, basic words for animals, plants, verbs For Conlangers: The Swadesh list is grounded upon
which describe actions humans would do regardless the concept of a basic vocabulary immune from
of technological level, and phenomena of nature cultural influences, wherein similarities in words
which can be experienced (almost) everywhere on between two languages would suggest relationship
between two languages.
However, this does not account for language
Issues: The words included in the list are free of contact phenomena, primarily borrowing, which is
cultural influences, only relatively. Several authors a cultural, political, and social phenomena. Several
pointed several examples of words included in the examples among natural languages prove that
list which are either actually culturally influenced even the basic vocabulary can be under cultural
for certain languages or is inappropriate for other influences.
languages due to the conditions where they are


Use the Swadesh list with caution.

Table 1. Original Swadesh list
I (Pers.Pron.1.Sg.)
You (2.sg! 1952 thou & ye)
we (1955: inclusive)
4. this
5. that
who? (? not 1971)
what? (? not 1971)
8. not
all (of a number)
10. many
11. one
12. two
13. big
14. long (not wide)
15. small
16. woman
17. man (adult male human)
18. person (individual human)
19. fish (noun)
20. bird
21. dog
22. louse
23. tree (not log)
24. seed (noun!)
25. leaf (botanics)
26. root (botanics)
27. bark (of tree)
28. skin (1952: persons)
29. flesh (1952 meat, flesh)
30. blood
31. bone
32. grease (1952: fat, organic substance)
33. egg
34. horn (of bull etc., not 1952)
35. tail
36. feather (large, not down)
37. hair (on head of humans)
38. head (anatomic)
39. ear
40. eye
41. nose
42. mouth
43. tooth (front, rather than molar)
44. tongue (anatomical)
45. claw (not in 1952)1
46. foot (not leg)
47. knee (not 1952)
48. hand
49. belly (lower part of body, abdomen)
50. neck (not nape!)
51. breasts (female; 1955 still breast)
52. heart
53. liver
54. drink (verb)
55. eat (verb)
56. bite (verb)
57. see (verb)

58. hear (verb)

59. know (facts)
60. sleep (verb)
61. die (verb)
62. kill (verb)
63. swim (verb)
64. fly (verb)
65. walk (verb)
66. come (verb)
67. lie (on side, recline)
68. sit (verb)
69. stand (verb)
70. give (verb)
71. say (verb)
72. sun
73. moon (not 1952)
74. star
75. water (noun)
76. rain (noun, 1952 verb)
77. stone
78. sand
79. earth (=soil)
80. cloud (not fog)
81. smoke (noun, of fire)
82. fire
83. ash(es)
84. burn (verb intr.!)
85. path (1952 road, trail; not street)
86. mountain (not hill)
87. red (colour)
88. green (colour)
89. yellow (colour)
90. white (colour)
91. black (colour)
92. night
93. hot (adjective; 1952 warm, of weather)
94. cold (of weather)
95. full
96. new
97. good
98. round (not 1952)
99. dry (substance!)
100. name
Appendix A: Natlang examples for using Swadesh
list to reflect relationships between related


Romanian vs other Romance


(I simplified the list by only considering

the commonly used words)
On first look, it would look like that Romanian had words
taken from other languages beside Latin. However, those words
actually derive from Latin, so Romanian used a different Latin
word. This hints at: Different environment for Romanian
English vs other Germanic Languages

The three English words above are derived from Latin, in

contrast with the word from other languages. Hints at: Influence
of Latin (via French) on lexicon of English.
Philippine Languages vs other Austronesian Languages

For the examples given, the words are similar to Spanish. Hints
at: Mass borrowing from Spanish.
* Condensed from Lyle Campbells Historical Linguistics: An Introduction
and Paul Heggartys Beyond lexicostatistics: how to get more out of word
list comparisons.


Standard Arabic: Phonology, Morphology;

Rapprochements with English
Arabic belongs to a corpus of languages called the
Semitic languages. Different from other Semitic
languages, spoken Arabic has different vernaculars
which vary from one geographic area to another. For
instance, Moroccan Arabic, Syrian Arabic, etc.
Arabic is very well known for its complexity in the
domain of linguistics, it shares in common many things
with other languages, yet differs from them significantly
as well in terms of phonology, morphology, syntax, and

In Arabic the onset is mandatory, every word must have

an onset. The coda does not contributed to the rhyme(
the weight of the syllable), it is considered to be extrasyllabic, and it attaches directly to the the syllable, for
instance the word ( tab), repents in English, can be
syllabified accordingly as the following:
In addition, the following question must be raised:
Where does each syllable begin and end ? No definition
has gained universal acceptance, but linguists agree on
two principles: the Maximalism Onset Principle and
the Sonority Principle.

Let us be more meticulous about two major components

- phonology, and morphology. In phonology, Arabic has
consonants and vowels which are shared with English,
but Arabic has extra sounds that English does not have,
for example sounds that are produced from the pharynx
(called pharyngeal sounds), //,//, and also Uvular
consonants, when the back of the tongue comes in
contact with the uvula to pronounce /q//. That is, if
you ask an American to prononce the word qalab (
heart), he will certainly pronounce it kalab (dog in
English), meaning that certain sounds are not learned
correctly during language acquisition. Moreover, in
terms of syllable structures, which are phonological
units where vowels and consonants are grouped
The former is respected in Arabic as all languages, but
together, the syllable is divided into three parts: the
the latter, which governs the distribution of sounds
onset, the nucleus, and the coda.
inside a syllable, is violated in many cases which
made modern linguists struggle to think of another
alternative. For instance, the word in Arabic: SAXR (
rock in English) can be broken phonologically as the
In the example above, the position of the consonant
coda /x/ and /r/ violate the sonority rule (as the sounds
do not follow the principle of becoming more sonorous
within the word). This shows that it is quite difficult to
make any theory universal and apply it to all languages,
let alone Arabic.
In morphology, Arabic is much more rich and complex
if we compare it to English, and the evidence seems to
suggest that in the majority of Arabic words, Arabic
consonants have an exclusive semantic function that
differs from that of the vowels.


Consonants in an Arabic stem almost always carry the

lexical meaning of that stem. Vowels on the other hand
have the function of making grammatical distinctions.
1. qatala he killed
2. qatiil killed singular
3. qaatil killer
4. muqaatil fighter
5. qattala he over killed
6. qitaal fighting noun
7. qitaali fighting adj
8. qatl the act of killing
9. maqtal fatal wound or the killing of
10. qtlaa killed plural
The above is but a subset of possible stems that can
be generated from the root [QTL] meaning killing.
Derivations of different forms do not alter the members
of the root nor their order. Instead, derivations are
accomplished by modifying the vocalism. Each stem
has a different vocalism while the consonants of the
root remain constant. This well known and attested
observation has profound implications for Arabic
speech recognition and Arabic language teaching.
Arabic speakers seem to have intuitions about the
role of consonants and vowels in their language.
Unlike speakers of other languages, Arabic speakers
can afford to pay less attention to the vowels than the
consonants since only consonants carry the semantic
meaning which is more crucial to understanding the
message than the grammatical information carried by
the vocalism is.
The Arabic word for here is /huna/ in MSA (Modern
Standard Arabic), /hina/ in Egyptian Arabic, /hoon/ in
Levantine Arabic and /hni/ in Gulf Arabic. An Arabic
speaker hearing this word by a speaker of another dialect
does not need to think twice before relating what he
heard to the equivalent in his dialect because they share
the same consonants and differ only in the vocalism.
The implications for speech recognition is that training
Arabic speech recognition systems would be different
from training the system for other languages. Training
for Arabic could assign more weight to consonants than
to vowels. {aa killed plural}.
In spite of the complexity of Standard Arabic, it can
not be easily tested within the framework of generative
grammar - that is, in order for a language to be studied
we must rely on intuitions of the native speakers of
a certain community. This is impossible, because
Standard Arabic is not used as the primary language
of communities around the word, rather it is used as a
second language and is learned at school.


~ Conlangs Monthly: We appreciate the time youve

taken to answer some questions we have for you, so
to start with, when did you first become interested in
David: I guess I became interested in conlangs in
general when I started conlanging my freshman year of
college in 2000.
I wasnt actually aware that there were people who
created languages outside L. L. Zamenhof and some
of his competitors from the late 19th and early 20th
That information I got from the Esperanto class I took
as a freshman at Berkeley. Outside of that, I wasnt
aware of any other language creators.
~ CM: How do you think wider society perceives
language creation?

Interview with
David J. Peterson
David J. Peterson is an American linguist and
language creator. Studying at University of California,
Berkeley from 1999 to 2003, he received B.A. degrees
in English and in linguistics. He received an M.A. in
linguistics from University of California, San Diego.
David Peterson is best known for creating the
Dothraki and Valyrian languages for the HBO series
Game of Thrones (since 2009) and the Castithan and
Irathient languages for Syfys Defiance (since 2011),
but has been creating languages since 2000.
He also created the language used by the Dark Elves
in the movie Thor: The Dark World. In 2007, he cofounded the Language Creation Society, with nine
other language creators, and served as its president
(2012-2014). -Wikipedia-

David: Thats something thats changed radically over

the yearsin fact, its changed the most over the years
Ive been active. When I started, to the extent that anyone
had heard of language creation (and those who had were
few and far between), the most common reaction was
one of stupefied disbelief. Most people I encountered
or heard of thought it was really, really weird, and
of no practical value. Every so often there would be
someone who thought it was neat, and somewhere
in between those two groups were those who reacted
negatively, attributing the desire to create languages
to anything from mental instability to megalomania.
Undoubtedly there were and are language creators who
are mentally unstable and also megalomaniacs. Nearly
all the language creators Ive met, though, were just
ordinary folk especially interested in languageand I
think of late, this is what the majority of people have
come to understand. Ever since The Lord of the Rings
movies debuted, more and more people have heard of
language creation, and so now it, just like fan fiction,
is a thing people have heard of, which makes it much
more normal and acceptable to the majority of people
who wouldnt otherwise be interested or opposed.
~ CM: As a professionally trained linguist, do you
feel that conlanging is taken seriously in the field of
David: It depends what taken seriously means. Again,
the general opinion has improved greatly over time, and
I think I and other conlangers in the field of linguistics
have had a lot to do with that. For example, the first
time I mentioned conlanging to a professor of mine
John McWhorterin 2001, he laughed and asked if Id
been messing around with Esperanto.
In 2013, twelve years later, he put together this video
for TEDEd
And, honestly, I think thats one of the best popular
defences of conlanging Ive ever seencertainly the
best done by a non-conlanger.


This is really how public opinion changes. It starts with

personal interactions that eventually lead to changes.
I think linguistics is in the midst of that, with respect
to conlanging. A lot of linguistics students show an
interest, and a lot of departments are responding, some
using more created language examples in the classroom;
others even offering conlanging courses.
What remains to be seen is what role conlanging will
play in academic linguistics. Currently I think the jurys
still out. I dont think theres anyone seriously studying
any particular conlangs for any reason, and probably
few if any who study conlanging the activity. I think
theres something of interest there scientifically, but
Im not sure what (theres a reason Im not in academia
anymore). I imagine someone will figure it out and it
will work its way into academic linguistics, but I think
that will actually happen much later than general public
awareness and acceptance.

TV and film, Im not sure where inspiration will come

fromor if Ill even create a new language again, rather
than working on the ones Ive already created. I guess
well find out!
~ CM: How is your relationship with George R. R.
Martin and his work?
David: George R. R. Martin is very busy, so we dont
communicate much at all, but we have and do on
occasion. Hes supportive of the languages Ive created
for the show, and has taken steps to incorporate them
in his work, which is really cool.

~ CM: What is your language-developing method?

David: In my senior year in college, I decided to get
serious about creating naturalistic a priori languages,
and thats pretty much all Ive been doing ever since.
When I initially set about doing this, I did the faade
method, if you could call it there, where you make it
look like your language has an in-depth history behind
it, despite the fact that it doesnt. So, for example,
knowing that natural languages feature irregularity, one
will randomly sprinkle irregular forms into a conlang
For myself, Ive read everything but the Dunk and Egg
to make it look natural. The result is slightly more
tales, and Im not yet finished with The World of Ice and
naturalistic looking than a straight up regular language,
but most conlangers can spot it straight off.
Late in graduate school and in the years to follow, I
became more interested in the roots of irregularity and
the origins of grammar. Since then Ive worked from
proto-languages, or, if theres no time for it, proto-states
that result naturally in irregularity and naturalistic
inflection systems and derivation. Thats where Im at
at the moment.

I was quite grateful for the latter, though, as it promises

to fill in some information about the lives of the original
Valyrian speakerssomething that remains mysterious
in the five books published thus far.
~ CM: Can you tell us about an interesting situation
concerning conlanging you went through?

David: One of the more interesting and challenging

~ CM: Where do you get your inspiration for your
things Ive done as a conlanger Ive done twice: the
Inverse Conlang Relay. Most conlangers know what a
relay is at this point. the Inverse Relay had participants
David: Depends on the project, really. With the shows
write a text in someone elses language and send that
I work on, it always comes from the scripts or the
text to the creator of the conlang.
peopleor external constraints the directors, writers
and producers have. That makes it random, which can
I participated twice, once using Jim Henrys gy-zymbe frustrating, but its fun.
byn, and once using Sylvia Sotomayors Klen. I think
I had a really specific idea in mind for the language
gy-zym-byn broke me; I did a terrible job. It was really
I created for Star-Crossed on the CW, but the shows
interesting to see someone use my language, Kamakawi,
creator wanted pretty much anything but that, which
though. It was Arthaey Angosii who used mine both
forced me in a totally different direction. The result was
times. She did things I totally didnt anticipate it, which
something pretty wild that I ended up liking quite a bit.
makes you both rethink your documentation, but also
rethink how your language can possibly work. It was a
For my own projects, I was always influenced either
great exercise.
by natural languages or linguistic phenomena I saw
and was interested while taking classes. But I havent
~ CM: Which conlang of yours was the hardest to
actually created a new language for myself since I was in
make and why?
graduate school. In between that and Game of Thrones,
I was mainly working on Kamakawi, as well as some of
David: Each of them had different challenges. The one
my other languages. When I eventually stop working in
I generally think of as the hardest is Irathient, but its


actually just the hardest to use. It came together fairly ~ CM: And lastly, what advice would you give to
well. Probably the hardest is one Im working on right beginning conlangers?
now, though I cant talk about it yet.
David: Just as beginning writers need to read and write
Im having some real blocks with it, though. Its odd. constantly, beginning conlangers need to study language
Im creating two languages right now for two different and conlang constantly. In addition to studying diverse
shows, and one is going great; the other Im constantly natural languages (if you speak English and have studied
getting stuck with. Im sure Ill work through it. I also Spanish in school, its not broadening your horizons
spent a lot of time with the High Valyrian verb system. enough to study French of German.
I wanted that to work out just right, so I put a lot of Go outside Indo-European. Study Japanese, or Warlpiri,
work into. It was taxing, but Im quite pleased with the or Chichewa), there are a wealth of excellent conlangs
way it came out.
which have been documented online. Chances are if
you can think of it, some conlang or natlang has done
it already (likely both). It pays to be well-read, when it
~ CM: In 2009, you were firstly called up to work comes to conlangs that have been created in the past.
with the series A Song of Ice and Fire. How did that I learned pretty much everything I know by studying
happen? Had you had any previous professional others conlangs: Sally Caves, David Bell, John Quijada,
conlanging experiences before that?
Matt Pearson, Sylvia Sotomayor, Amanda Furrow, Mia
Soderquist There are scores available, and much of
David: In the summer of 2009, the Language Creation the work thats been detailed in full online is excellent.
Society (LCS) was contacted by Dan Weiss and David
Benioff, the creators of Game of Thrones. They wanted Thank you very much for your words, I wish you all
someone to create a language for Game of Thrones. The the best.
president of the LCS, Sai, then worked with HBO to put
a contract in place, and he set up a competition which
he announced to the language creation community at
large. I applied along with forty or so others who were
interested. The contest involved two rounds of judging,
the first by language creators, and the second by the
The competition lasted a couple months, and many
applicants dropped out along the way. It was an openended application, so there was no cap on the amount
of material you could create and submit for judging.
I worked on my application pretty much every waking
hour of the day throughout both rounds. By the time
our final proposals were due, I had over 300 pages of
material, and the Dothraki language was mostly done. I
was fortunate enough to be selected as the winner, and
from then on I was the language creator on the series.
Oh, and no, I hadnt had any other serious professional
conlanging jobs before that.
~ CM: Did you ever expect that you would be
employed to create languages?
David: When I first started creating languages, I
thought it would be possible, because I thought I was
the first one since Zamenhof to create languagesand
certainly the first ever to create a language not intended
for international communication. When I found the
greater conlanging community, though, and learned
about their struggles and interactions with the wider
world, I was quite certain that it was totally unrealistic to
think anyone could ever make money doing so. I think
this is the way most of us felt until Game of Thrones
happened all of a sudden.


The Septuagint:
A Short History Of Bible Translation
And Canonicity
Masoretes, their product known as the Masoretic
Text. Much before those copyists were struggling
to keep their Hebrew and Aramaic production on,
however, Greek language was on the rise among
exiled Jews, giving rise to a cultural phenomenon
known as Hellenistic Judaism.

Come, and having gone down let us there confound

their tongue, that they may not understand each the
voice of his neighbour. And the Lord scattered them
thence over the face of all the earth, and they left off
building the city and the tower. On this account its
name was called Confusion, because there the Lord
confounded the languages of all the earth, and thence
the Lord scattered them upon the face of all the earth And this is where the Septuagint enters. An ancient
Genesis 11:7-9, Brentons English Translation of the

If one opens their clean, leather-bound, King James

Bible on their shelves, they may ask themselves:
How do we know biblical text was supposed to be
exactly like that? Where did they get their original
texts? Although this question could be fair simply
answered, we will go straight back to the Ancient
Middle East, using this lead to build the article all
Although some historians will disagree with the
Judeo-Christian tradition of dating the first five
books of the Bible (the Pentateuch or Torah) back
to Moses over three thousand years in the past, they
still agree at least a small part of what is today the
biblical text dates back to the times the Israelites
were governing themselves, that is, before the
Assyrian conquest by the late VIII century B.C.. A
long tradition of writing Scripture down, though,
is dated in the earliest to the Babylonian exile,
with the oldest manuscripts having been found in
partial forms as what is known as the Dead Sea
Scrolls. This tradition would be eventually known
as Masorah, which would name its keepers by the
Early Middle Ages, long after the Hebrew language
had completely ceased to be natively spoken, the

legend says Pharaoh Ptolemy II, who reigned in the

early III century B.C., chose six elders from each of
the twelve tribes of Israel, placing each in a separate
chamber, and asked them to translate the Torah to
Greek. In that moment, God would have inspired
each one of them, rendering the first five books
of what would eventually be the whole Septuagint
canon. Referring to a version in which seventy elders
were called to do the job, Saint Augustine named it
the Versio Septuaginta Interpretum (version of the
seventy interpreters).
For the wide spread of Christianity among Greek
speakers, the Septuagint was the one to be used by
early Christians. Old Testament quotes in the New
Testament (which is almost unanimously agreed to
have been written originally in Greek) are clearly
taken directly from the Septuagint, sometimes
showing substantial differences from the Masoretic
Text, as in the example below. It was used to devise
the vast majority of early Bible translations and
extensively quoted by early theologians.
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth
not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from
judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for
he was cut off out of the land of the living:
(Isaiah 53:7,8, KJV)

() he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as

a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so he opens not
his mouth. In his humiliation his judgment was
taken away: who shall declare his generation? for
his life is taken away from the earth: ()
(Isaiah 53:7,8, Brenton)
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a
lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his
mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken
away: and who shall declare his generation? for his
life is taken from the earth.
(Acts 8:32,33, KJV)
Besides language itself and those small changes here
and there, there is a striking difference between
the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text: while our
Semitic version keeps 24 books, not only did the
Septuagint split those into 39 for practical reasons,
but it also has some entirely new books. Those
differences, which many modern deniers (as we
will later see) see as additions and call apocryphal,
are more generally known as deuterocanonical.
Along the next centuries of Christian history, there
was not much attention to those differences. As
Saint Jerome, in the late IV century, found a small
part of those unsuitable and translated the rest into
Latin, building the Vulgate, used as an authoritative
version in the Roman Catholic West, Byzantines,
for example, kept the Septuagint as they knew it,
while some traditions, such as those in miaphysite
Syria and Ethiopia, would build even longer canons.
A great canonical discussion would eventually arise
in the Western world the XVI century, when the
German theologian Martin Luther, holding on the
reliability of the Masoretic Text, denied the divine
inspiration of the deuterocanonical books, which
did not show up there. This would lead to a strife
ending with the definitive mainline Protestant
denial of their authority, while the Roman Catholic
Church would reaffirm their equal canonicity once
for all in the Council of Trent. The Anglican Church,
holding to a position similar to that Luther himself
had once taken, would eventually hold them as of
secondary authority.
Among modern translations, seldom will we find
those taken from the Septuagint, unless we are
talking about the deuterocanical books found in
Roman Catholic, Anglican and some ecumenical
versions. The centrality of the Septuagint in Eastern
Orthodoxy, though, gives it a significant place for the
translation of the Old Testament for the Orthodox,
although some Orthodox translations, such as
the widespread Russian-language Synodal Bible,
are taken from the Masoretic Text. It has a small
number of translations into the English language,
such as that of Sir Lancelot Brenton, published in
1851 and used for this article, or the Orthodox
Study Bible, devised for the Eastern Orthodox and
resembling the New King James Version in many

For a matter of comparison, let us take a look on both

King James and Brentons rendering for the Psalm
23 (which is numbered 22nd in the Septuagint).
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he
leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his names sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow
of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy
rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my
cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the
LORD for ever.
(Psalms 23, KJV)
A Psalm of David. The Lord tends me as a shepherd,
and I shall want nothing.
In a place of green grass, there he has made me
dwell: he has nourished me by the water of rest.
He has restored my soul: he has guided me into the
paths of righteousness, for his names sake.
Yea, even if I should walk in the midst of the shadow
of death, I will not be afraid of evils: for thou art with
me; thy rod and thy staff, these have comforted me.
Thou has prepared a table before me in presence of
them that afflict me: thou hast thoroughly anointed
my head with oil; and thy cup cheers me like the
best wine.
Thy mercy also shall follow me all the days of my
life: and my dwelling shall be in the house of the
Lord for a very long time.
(Psalms 22, Brenton)


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