No men, women, children, or houses with the pie


William Jones was a reported hyperpolyglot. He learned Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, and basic Chinese, says Wikipedia to add he knew thirteen languages thoroughly, and another twenty-eight reasonably well.

William Jones

Mr. Jones wrote The Sanscrit Language to tell that Greek and Latin had a common root, Sanskrit. This Proto-Indo-European “language”, PIE in short, was to originate contemporary European tongues.

Altogether, Mr. Jones remains described as having had at least reasonably good knowledge of 41 tongues. Such a reasonably good acquaintance should have encompassed the words woman, man, child, and house. Let us compare these words in Latin, Greek, English, Russian, Polish, German, French, and Sanskrit.

Is there a root PIE vocabulary?



Woman silhouette

Latin: femina; Greek: gyne; English: woman; Russian: zenshchina; Polish: kobieta; German: Weib; French: femme; Sanskrit: nari.


Man silhouette

Latin: vir; Greek: andros; English: man; Russian: muzshtschina; Polish: mężczyzna; German: Mann; French: homme; Sanskrit: naro.

I do not know Sanskrit. I can only compare resources. The morpheme man, as quoted by supporters of the PIE, yet seems to refer to thinking, not sex, whereas it is common lore that masculinity is not strictly synonymous with pensiveness.😉



Child silhouette

Latin: putillus; Greek: pais; English: child; Russian: rebionok; Polish: dziecko; German: Kind; French: enfant; Sanskrit: sutah.

Words for children would have varied in Sanskrit. The culture has been publicized as rigidly stratified, in status and ancestry. “Children of men” made another name, napraja. The notion is unlikely to have regarded speciate or sexual differentiation.


House silhouette

Latin: domus; Greek: do; English: house; Russian: dom; Polish: dom; German: Haus; French: maison; Sanskrit: vasati.

Vir or andros, child or rebionok, woman or kobieta ― the words do not resemble one another, and they are the basic vocabulary. In all languages, these are the words hardly ever to change. Polish and Russian could make a group. We may compare the words muzshtschina and mężczyzna. There is not much point deriving Polish from Russian or Russian from Polish, however. We can compare rebionok and dziecko.

Domus, do, and dom, or house and Haus, show geographic affinity. The similarities in form are characteristic of urban or other developments and do not decide on language grouping.

Language groups or families

Language groups work better than language families. “Families” derive languages, one from another. This might not work, as in the Polish and Russian examples above. Proto-languages are mostly constructs: there is no written evidence for them.

Why derive European vocabularies from Sanskrit, while Sanskrit might have absorbed loan words?

There is no evidence for the Proto-Indo-European. The Rosetta Stone was absolutely unique for Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Demotic, and Ancient Greek. It yet allowed translation, not an etymological study. There never was anything even like the Rosetta Stone, for Indo-European languages, and Marco Polo was probably not the first visitor to the Far East. 


Carbon dating

Whenever possible, written resources should be carbon-dated. There is no philological method to affirm the original beyond evidence. Writings were copied in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and later, hand style and pen craft.

Radiocarbon results happen to be misunderstood. A website shares a story about a find from 9.5 thousands of years ago. It is … a piece of wood from an underwater site, without written matter. However, palynology is less likely to work for written resources.

Oldest does not mean wisest


People speak languages mostly as they are, without looking up to “parent languages”. Within evolutionary approaches, languages may have emerged independently, owing to human cognitive advancement. Much language knowledge has become shared by and among humans. However, supporters of the Proto-Indo-European “family” have gone into making out religion, too.



I do not share in the enthusiasm about deriving language roots. People were not more sophisticated in ancient times. And there is not a PIE root for the name “Earth”.


Earth silhouette

Latin: terra or tellus; Greek: Gaia or Aia; English: Earth; Russian: Ziemlia; Polish: Ziemia; German: Erde; French: Terre; Sanskrit: vasudha.

It seems there was a pie more than the PIE, Mr. Jones time, and that pie was India. The colonial era began about 1500, and there was much competition.

It would be Space 1999 to show

reading Proto-Sanskrit accurately …😉


My YouTube: Sanskrit Readout

The holocaust in the clip is not the Holocaust.

British grammar nazis

Disclaimer: the adjacent — and colored meaningfully yellow — graphic piffle is not intended to mean the Union Jack proper. It is the British Grammar Nazis logo on Facebook.



The logo dubious pulchritude may be seen in its full down here, also with a click.

British grammar nazis headerNow, let me lay out on the fundamentals of orthography. I do not spell the nazis with a big letter. Big letters, though they do not always import reverence, are reserved for proper nouns everywhere except a beginning.


The proper noun Nazis were German nationalists. Their having bombed London during WWII might belong with the semantic field too, and further reasonably connote displeasure on the part of the British people. I mean, I do not have other people’s feelings, but thus I do reckon.


Much has been written about the second world war, including Hitler’s evident lack of linguistic finesse. Therefore, I will do some wondering only, on the British who want to be grammar nazis.


The Daily Mash offers observations.


The way they selflessly dedicate themselves to correct punctuation, for example by pointing out to the staff of a chip shop why the term “chip’s” is a sloppy obfuscation, confirms they are bold and righteous individuals.


Grammar nazis share the article and comment.

This pleases me. A lot!

We are doing a service to the world in helping people be rid of their ignorance!

We knew it all the time!


It is only after a few lines or whiles that thought emerges.

I suspect someone is taking the p*ss.


Grammar nazis do not get irony. Let me think about statistics and implications. Should there be visiting nazis, I promise a brief primer on irony after this indispensable piece of advice about living on the same planet.



The site has about 50 thousand “likes”. Taking the British population alone, that would make about 50 thousand oddly deficient, among about 63 million people.


Some might say it is not so bad. It is not even one percent. Still, it could be better to think literacy, going to England: the guys are permitted to have the UK flag for their capriccio. Such odd types might favor big towns, as London.



Try for a plain passport photo, that is, without brooches, scarves, ties, anything you do not always carry. The piffle shows the guys’ attention to picture specifics.😉


Wave your hand, getting a taxi. It is a simple, therefore legible gesture. Get a map with statues and other tourist attractions in large icons. It is better to take a walk from the National Museum than end up the Piccadilly, owing to small print.😉


In hotels, always tick the boxes. Ask for those straight, should you be provided with a form without boxes to tick.😉


Mailing letters, get the recorded. They have ID strips. Seeking directions, approach people with newspapers. They could be literate. However, never ever leave your books or papers open and unattended. They might be taken for other utilities.😉


Now, the primer on irony. The basics are in the affirmative and the negative. You do not take them for a yes or no merely. Let me quote the Mash:


In no way are any of these people vain, arsey pedants.


This does not have to mean a refutation, Wikipedia explains.


Life cannot be about affirming or denying only. Let me return to the Mash.


The way they selflessly dedicate themselves to correct punctuation, for example by pointing out to the staff of a chip shop why the term “chip’s” is a sloppy obfuscation, confirms they are bold and righteous individuals.


Antonyms and synonyms are the answer. Mind to stay in context.


Laying all that out in detail to a grammar nazi looks discouragingly big a task, hence the handful of thoughts and the primary color, yellow (adjective, reference 3).


Grammar nazis look unable to admit that picking on people’s works has no chance to bring anything creative, sophisticated. They do not offer own blogs or websites, especially with serious language work, for evaluation.

Apples grow on noses: two languages – two minds?

Speaking a second language can change everything from problem-solving skills to personality. It is almost as if you are two people, says Catherine de Lange.


“Mon espirit paratage — My two minds”, appeared in The New Scientist of May 5th, 2012. Ms. de Lange compares monolingual and bilingual children. Washington Post has her article.


Ms. de Lange describes her testing children on syntax. Syntax is about the way we phrase our talk or writing.


Both monolinguals and bilinguals could see the mistake in phrases such as “apples growed on trees”, but differences arose when they considered nonsensical sentences such as “apples grow on noses”. The monolinguals, flummoxed by the silliness of the phrase, incorrectly reported an error, whereas the bilinguals gave the right answer, says Ms. de Lange. 


Monolingual or multilingual, children get to hear or read fairy tales. It does not matter, if the kid speaks one or more languages. It is important that the child comprehends the words, there was a fairy land, a long time ago, where apples grew on noses.


Children learn early that words can have more than one meaning. Figurative thinking does not disturb syntax. Whether in one or many languages ― but dependent on pragmatics ― we could or could not count any noses in picture 1. The Big Apple Corner in picture 2 only might have apples.


Language pragmatics deals with talk in context and work with ambiguity.


Picture 1. Is there even one nose in the picture, if we do not know what noses count?


Picture 2. Do apples grow square, if we have Big Apple Corners?


Thinking the science, the task was most probably deictically misconstrued. The children did not know what noses the talk was about, and thus if to tell the syntax or the pragmatics.


Ms. de Lange says she speaks English and French. If we were to follow Ms. de Lange and interpret her test results for a difference between monolingual versus multilingual mentality, we would risk un mal de tête, a headache.

We would have to imagine monolingual people as unable to take a figure of speech, and carrying shields instead of umbrellas, for heavy rain.

We would have to dread multilingual medics, fearing they would be the people to take cardiac cases for just a matter of opinion


Obviously and fortunately, no such headache naturally can come.


Further, both English and French have spoken and written forms. What we write as bread in English is un pain in French.

Boy eating bread

To a child, a test to neglect semantics might be un mal a l’oreille.

Word forms as bread or pain would not have to be in the test. Also in little children, brains entire work for language tasks.


Frontal lobes help keep the goal in mind. Temporal lobes tend to word sound, and occipital to word shape. Parietal lobes associate this all ― with the lexicon. Words for physical sensations and food are the basic vocabulary.


Ambiguity may provoke “surfing” the language form, especially if the limbic system would detect some emotional discord. When we ignore word sense, go asemantic, distinction between languages becomes much smaller. Pain or bread become mere forms, disagreeable to be mistaken in one language. The forms yet still might be singular or plural, dependent on syntax.


The “surfing” is not a developmental stage. Monolingual or multilingual, very young or more advanced in age, it is enough to learn to “surf”.


To work on syntax, we can use virtual or invented words ― regardless of age. Interestingly enough, we might get no “difference in mentality” between monolingual or multilingual people. We might not confirm Ms. de Lange results.



Virtual words have an advantage. We can use them to exercise speech sounds without the flummoxing that verbal associations might bring.


[th] is the sound in mother;

[th] is the sound in father

[th] is the sound in brother;

[th] is the sound in … pother 😉


A car rolls, a doll dances, a troll hops, and a ball bounces. Toys are things. They can be phimos. Every phimo can bimo. Before long, a kid may tell easy if we are correct saying, The phimo bimo , or if we should say, The phimo bimoes.🙂


Phimos can bimo.

Multilingualism is becoming an everyday thing in more and more countries and cultures. I like that.


I do not like bias about an ability to comprehend, speak, write, read, and communicate in more than one language. I do not like bias about people who speak one language, either. It is not true that monolingual people cannot take a figure of speech. On the other hand, it is not true that multilingualism makes one prone for nonsense.


The experiment by Ms. de Lange was biased. Multilingual kids were showed as disinterested in finding if something was real or true. Monolingual children were showed as unable to tell syntax.
 Multilingualism does not require a “different wit”.


Bread is always bread.

Multilingual people naturally “can surf”, and monolingual people naturally can learn to “surf”. Importantly, whether multilingual or monolingual, we would not “surf” for serious purposes. Work on syntax is better with virtual words, and then the number of languages might not matter at all. This is what I have for truly syntactic.


Another ethical and linguistic concern comes with Ms. de Lange reporting infant brain scans for experimental purposes. There is no way to obtain informed consent from an infant.


Read why I cannot see sense in such scans.

Burning the Flag ― where is the language?

The legal profession is a depth of recondite detail the Supreme Court has the expertise firmly to deliberate. 

Themis and the FlagFreedom of speech has been quoted to justify burning the American flag.

United States versus Eichman, United States versus Haggerty, Texas versus Johnson: all cases argued freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

Haggerty’s case would have implied you necessarily make the Flag your piece of cloth before burning. It is when the Flag belongs to an institution as Seattle Capitol Hill Post Office that you get fined.

Let us analyze the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


To exercise comprehension, we can paraphrase. We can say the First Amendment

forbids the Congress to regulate the matters of religion, to inhibit legal  linguistic behavior by individuals as well as groups or in the media, to delimitate people’s right to convene, or to prevent people’s formally requesting the authorities for reparation of damages.


The Supreme Court holding on Eichman says:

The government’s interest in preserving the flag as a symbol did not outweigh the individual right to disparage that symbol through expressive conduct.


The First Amendment says, the freedom of speech.


Linguistics does recognize symbols or icons. For example, we work with a computer. We click an icon and it takes us to a website. The icon symbolizes the website. If we associate the content, it is only when we know the website.


Most icons or symbols are arbitrary and there happens to be some mix-up. It is difficult to agree with Wikipedia to say,


Symbols take the form of words, sounds, gestures, ideas or visual images and are used to convey other ideas and beliefs.


Dogs are most often companions to humans and households, the other idea to be cats. Still nobody says “dog” to mean “cat”.


Wikipedia implies that a red octagon means “stop”, even without language.

Wikiepdia octagon

Wikipedia illustration

There could be hotel, club, or company premises on which the red octagon means “Maintenance staff only”. The reference depends on consensus.

The meaning we could express in words is not inherent to the symbol.
Stop__round For a symbol to have language in it, there has to be a written message.

Symbols are not language.
More, burning cannot be a speech act.

Is there a speech sound produced, if the human just sits silently by a campfire, warming his or her hands? Is there any written or printed language to emerge from the flame? Could the wood or coal crackling and hissing make stanzas, quatrains, epodes? Could we hear an anacrusis?

No, there is no language to come from fire.

What is the meaning of a national flag?

It symbolizes the country, the people, and the language.
The Flag does not correlate with the authorities only.

Even if you do not like anybody around, would rather live in a tent, make own clothes,  and hunt for food
― all that to liberate yourself of American capitalism ―
the nonsense of burning the Flag remains appalling, if to think about cause and effect.

There never would be  the Constitution, without the people fighting for American freedom, also in Fort McHenry, about which The Star Spangled Banner tells. The First Amendment would never have been passed, without the Constitution.


Flag associations 3

The First Amendment says that people have the right to the freedom of speech. The Amendment does not say,

Congress shall make no law abridging expressive conduct in association with speech and language …

Fortunately: human expressive behaviors are a very wide spectrum part of which belongs under parental guidance and is not language at all.


At the same time, I would not uphold the term of “Flag desecration”. The word desecration suggests abuse on sanctity.

I think flags are for people, as books and knowledge on language.

I have put images of the American flag on my American English grammar books, which are absolutely my human work.

I do not support the Supreme Court verdict. I hope time will bring the change necessary for legislation to discern physically abusive behaviors from speech and language.

Tongue entanglement

Language is often taken for granted,

or given the regard for humanity’s unloved child.

 Diarmaid Ferriter of The Limits of Liberty ventured

his frown at human glibness on RTE One.


Irish people speak English owing to cultural

submissiveness, avouched Mr. Ferriter.

You cannot dominate someone who does not speak your language. These have been the English to speak English. They brought the language to Ireland.

I can agree that language is neither a prodigal son, nor daughter:

 It does not spend much, and it can give a lot.😉


Most businesses in Ireland work on English language papers and cash. These are all kinds of English, to include American,

Australian, and whichever you like.


People make the cash owing to English language business talks.

People learn math and many more, in English language schools.

People get flu jabs from English language medics,

and buy bread from English language bakers.

Many people have never learned British English.

Irish English has a distinct sounding, one might find more pleasurable than that from over the river Thames,

as Pete McCarthy noted in his McCarthy’s Bar.

Getting rid of all this would not be freedom. It would be a disaster.

English is a lingua franca, a language spoken world-wide.

The Irish horizon for business and culture is all around

the globe, with Irish English.

It might have been a predilection for terms of power to inspire the name “Hiberno-English” for Irish English

in Wikipedia, for example

English was brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of Ireland of the late 12th century, says the resource.


Terms of power often do not work. The Irish isle was named Hibernia by ancient Romans who evidently thought it was

very cold, yet most probably comparing temperatures

in ancient Rome, Greece, or North Africa
― the regular ancient influence Romans preferred

to exercise in warm times of the year.

Further, William the Conqueror was actually French and his Normans never brought English anywhere. Normans influenced

the English into the widely known Great Vowel Shift.

Importantly, they did not do it with swords

Without people who speak, write, and trade in a preferably moderate climate, which both English and Irish isles certainly

have ― there cannot be any language learning
or change.

Polish was a forbidden language during the Partitions of Poland, as well as under the German occupation of World War II. The language suffered, but violence was unable
to teach another language, whereas there could be no reason to try
Polish people for especially enduring:

There is simply no such way to knock a human being as to make him or her speak another tongue, and hardly anything else has every happened in warfare.

This is why I tend to ignore the term of a “language shift”. Whoever made the thing up, he or she could never have been a grammar teacher and thus known it is work.

Mr. Ferriter may never have faced a classroom as well. There are two kinds of power, he said. The police and the military were the “hard power”. Language was the “soft power”.

I agree that saying “come in” can be physically more efficient than carrying people into rooms, especially if wholesome. Yet saying “fish and chips” does not give a Leo Burdock, unless
there are the cash and the consensus to make the deal.


Finally, political debates world round have proved humans phylogenetically capable of days and more of a language production as well as reception of no influence to thought or decisions.😉

Contrary to Mr. Ferriter, I do not think language could be conquest. I think Irish English should have a publicly accessible corpus

language environments always have own language corpora.

To date, no corpus of Irish English exists, said a paper from Limerick University in 1999.

I have looked up the Internet for an update. As of April 17 2016, the Limerick University says there is a corpus. There is yet no public access to it.

Bus tours in Dublin represent English with the Union Jack. The Irish flag is for Celtic.

 IMAG0172I was a grammar teacher. For a tongue entanglement with terms of power, I would like to recommend a simple exercise.


Open a dictionary and think if you could put plus or minus signs next to words, plus for “good”, and “minus” for bad (or another way round). Think about a context. Naturally, I do not mean you should actually jot in the book. It is enough to think.


An “alarm clock” might be a plus as well as a minus, dependent on the time and the person to set the device. A “friend” could be good, provided it would not be your enemy’s friend. “Illness” could be bad to happen and good not to occur. The thing is the same with the word “power”.


There are intellectual and cognitive powers. Nobody would go stupefied, to fight “power” in this sense. “Power of money” could be good to get us the Leo Burdock. “Powers of the heart” might be horrible, in a fanatic.

Language itself never could have been a tool for overpowering. There is no language to have the affirmative only, and polite refusal is integral with all tongues and styles. Obviously, Roman or Norman invaders relied on weapons, not words. 


Language has always been a plus-minus infinity, also with regard to things good or bad. Ascribing language learning or change to physical violence will remain a mistake. Having good language skill can open prospects, world-round.

Feel welcome to my grammar course. Language Mapping has nothing overpowering about it. I began learning American when I was little, absolutely not coerced. I actually do not believe in forcing skill on anyone. I believe people can be talked into some learning, however.🙂

The course is much of an invention and self-study guide. There was no American or any English in primary school curricula. Poland was a Communist country. I tried a course, but it was at a level lower than mine, so I gave up on it. I learned on my own, till 15 years of age. I passed high school entrance exams then, for advanced English profile.

I know about adaptation. For the high school, British spellings were the requirement. I did that, because I needed a high school certificate if I wanted to study further, and the school had a good renown. I did not need to learn to speak British, in which case I would have gone to a different school.

Having graduated with the highest mark, five (5) in Polish, I went to university. I studied American English (got classed with candidates of prospect in American already at the entrance exams ), and graduated in 2000, after a break, defending second-highest (four, 4), but that was university level and life’s events together.

I think the results were a success and good enough to say the grammar idea really can work. When I was a teacher, it worked also for other people.

My associations with language remain natural interest, success, and pride, not submissiveness. I would not have learned, had the matter been different. And life is life. Entanglement with terms of power does not make a language-friendly space.

Language skill cannot be conditioned:
Analysis of language neural and psychological reality allows rejection of operant conditioning. Linguistic finesse would be unattainable via punitive methods already at the neuro-motor level of human functioning. Reward learning might encourage linguistic permanence (Akmajian et al., 1984), yet never as qualities set, program, or reflex. Formation of reflex response, conditional or unconditional, has been the objective of behaviorist study and manner.

Larry Selinker’s interlanguage – Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain didn’t have it right?

 Solemnly, I do not and would not postulate error about the two authors.🙂

Larry Selinker, a professor of linguistics, developed his theory  of  interlanguage” or “third language”, in 1972. A “latent psychological structure” becomes woken in the brain, when a human learns a second language, said Mr. Selinker.


We learn English as a second language, if we have spoken a few words of another tongue before.


Let us reason on language and life. I could say I spoke a few words of Polish, when I began learning American. I was about 4 years old. My Polish definitely was not a grown or even shaped language faculty. More and more people learn two or more languages, beginning early.


To reason, we can talk examples. Many differences do not hold for language acquisition, with regard to sex or social background.


Feel welcome to chapter two, The role of feedback in language learning


Let us think Eduardo was born in America, in an immigrant Hispanic family. He spoke mostly Spanish before he went to school. His parents spoke Spanish, and his friends in the town area he lived were all Spanish. However, Eduardo has always had a good awareness of American English in his environment, also via the media.


Let us think Eduardo becomes 20. He is doing an IT degree. He takes elliptic integrals easy, but he would need a dictionary to translate math from English to Spanish — he has learned math and spoken about it in English. Mr. Selinker would say Spanish is Eduardo’s first tongue.


Love yet wouldn’t come Spanish-first. Eduardo’s girlfriend is an American. American English is the only language she has ever spoken. She is a real treasure and a natural for a good conversation. When Eduardo tells his sweetheart he loves her, he says it in English and he means it.


  •  Regardless of social background or gender, people have primary languages, rather than first or second. My primary language for linguistics is American English. I would need a dictionary, to translate my own thesis to Polish, though Polish is my native tongue.

Ai-li was born same as Eduardo, in America. Her grandparents were Chinese. She has always been for languages. Before she went to school, she learned American along with Chinese. She started to learn German and French, when she was about seven years old.


Let us think Ai-li grows up and writes a thesis about spatial reference in German and French — her two “second languages” or her “third-second languages”? Should American count as the second, German and French would make the third or fourth, but actually she has learned and worked with all her languages at the same time …


  • The primary language is not a fixed option. Multilingual speakers will prioritize the relevant tongue, dependent on the environment and context. Language interference, that is, influence of one language over another while speaking or writing, usually happens along distracting factors. Speaking Chinese, A-li does not have to think in any other tongue. 
  • A primary language may become “the learner”. For example, my learning German began to work better when I referred it to American English, not Polish. The matter was the same when I learned French, therefore it is not merely about language groups or families.


Larry Selinker would imply abnormal mental and neural realities about “second language learners”.


It is owing to latent psychological structures in the brain that second language learners show simplification, circumlocution, and over-generalization, claims Mr. Selinker.


We could say Mr. Selinker holds second language learners for idiosyncratic. An idiosyncrasy can be


a structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group, a physiological or temperamental peculiarity, or an unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 


Medically, there are no “latent” brain areas in unimpeded humans. Injury cannot produce neural structures for language. Further, human brains do not have purely “functional”, “mathematical”, or “psychological” connectivities.


Selinker (1972) noted that in a given situation, the utterances produced by a learner are different from those native speakers would produce, had they attempted to convey the same meaning, says Wikipedia.


Emily Dickinson was an American poet. Her works remain widely recognized, and favorably appreciated as well.


The brain is wider than the sky,

For, put them side by side,

The one the other will include

With ease, and you beside.


The brain is deeper than the sea,

For, hold them, blue to blue,

The one the other will absorb,

As sponges, buckets do.


The brain is just the weight of God,

For, lift them, pound for pound,

And they will differ, if they do,

As syllable from sound.


The Brain by Emily Dickinson. Source: Project Gutenberg.


However to value Emily Dickinson’s writing, nobody could claim that every American would tell the same, were he or she to “convey the same meaning”.


Idiolect is the way a person speaks or writes. The word comes from Greek idios, one’s own, and lektikos, able to speak or good at speaking.

Everyone has own idiolect. Mark Twain may be a natural association, when there is talk about idiolects. It is difficult or even impossible to imagine this proficient author saying, you do not speak as I do, therefore you are wrong.


And if I sell to the reader this volume of nonsense, and he, instead of seasoning his graver reading with a chapter of it now and then, when his mind demands such relaxation, unwisely overdoses himself with several chapters of it at a single sitting, he will deserve to be nauseated, and he will have nobody to blame but himself if he is.😉


Mark Twain’s Speeches, Project Gutenberg.


Let us analyze Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course by Susan M. Gass and Larry Selinker.


Imperfective morphology emerges with durative and/or stative verbs (i.e. activities and states), then gradually spreads to achievement/accomplishment and punctual verbs.



The book gives examples.


(7-33)      She dancing (activity)

(7-34)      And then a man coming … (accomplishment)

(7-35)      Well, I was knowing that. (state)

(7-36)      Other boys were shouting ‘watch out’! (achievement).


Harlem, Bronx, countryside or uptown America, we might be infeasible, trying to persuade people to hold accomplishment and achievement for separate. “Second language learners” may not follow ideas infeasible to “first language learners”.


The study was begun on children aged 8 years, reportedly French and Dutch. I have been able to find the “punctual verbs” mostly in Japanese or Slingish contexts. Indeed, the kids did not follow.


The French learners were overall less proficient than the Dutch learners and never reached the stage where they could use the regular past morphology productively. Transfer factors were also involved, in that learners appeared to be predisposed by basic distinctions in their L1 tense-aspect system to look for similar distinctions in the L2 input, specifically in the case of the past/non-past distinction, where Dutch is closer to English

(page 209).


The study lasted three years. A private teacher, I would have never been able to take that long, and more, without effect. I would have been sacked.


I would like to encourage also an American-born learner:

Try Language Mapping. Brains do not take different ways for language dependent on birth or residence.🙂