LINGUIST List 7.74

Wed Jan 17 1996

Qs: Children's games, Aborginal lgs, Trilingual ed

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  1. "Jack Wiedrick", Children's games
  2. "Ramesh R. Sarukkai", Re: Aborginal Language with no grammar?
  3. "R. F. Hahn", Trilingual Education

Message 1: Children's games

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 10:29:30 GMT
From: "Jack Wiedrick" <WIED6480VARNEY.IDBSU.EDU>
Subject: Children's games
Dear anyone who can help me,

 The other day I was in a conversation with someone and the topic
of the children's game of tag came up. More specifically, it struck
me as odd that the person selected to chase the others in this game is
referred to in English as 'it'. I began to wonder what such a person
is called in other languages (I assume that other cultures also have
the game, or some form thereof). The only other language I can answer
this question for is Japanese, where the person in question is called
_oni_ 'demon/devil, goblin, imp, etc.' (The game itself is called
_onigokko_ 'oni-game'.) I ask mainly out of curiosity, but I would be
interested to see if there were certain correlations with typological
characteristics of the languages, eg. if there is a free-standing
neuter pronoun, is it always used?, etc.
 I certainly plan on posting a summary, and I'm looking forward to
seeing some interesting responses!

Jack Wiedrick

P.S. In case there are those unfamiliar with the game called 'Tag' in
English, I'll offer a brief explanation. A group of children (usually
more than two, I would think, but I suppose just two COULD play) gets
together and decides to single out one from among their group to be
'it.' Whoever is 'it' then must remain in one spot long enough to
allow the other children to disperse (sometimes this is achieved by
forcing 'it' to count up to some predetermined number). After a
sufficient amount of time has passed to allow this dispersion, 'it' is
then required to chase after the other children with the goal of
touching one of them. If 'it' can touch one of the other children, he
or she is then relieved of 'it' status and the person touched becomes
the new 'it'. The game usually continues in this manner until
everyone grows bored or becomes tired (or is called in by their
parents), or some combination of the above.
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Message 2: Re: Aborginal Language with no grammar?

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 11:44:36 EST
From: "Ramesh R. Sarukkai" <>
Subject: Re: Aborginal Language with no grammar?

I recently heard that there do exist languages where the ordering of
word sequence does not change the semantic meaning of the sentence. In
particular, there is supposed to be at least one aborginal language
with such a property.

I would like to know the name/s of such languages.

Any other information would also be greatly appreciated.

-R. Sarukkai
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Message 3: Trilingual Education

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 07:26:39 PST
From: "R. F. Hahn" <>
Subject: Trilingual Education
I am posting the following message for Jehannes Ytsma at the Fryske
Akademy (Frisian Academy), Ljouwert/Leeuwaarden, The Netherlands. Right
now the Fryske Akademy is in the process of getting hooked up to the
Internet. Until then responses may be sent either to Jehannes' snailmail
address, to his fax or to my e-mail address ( 

R. F. Hahn

- ------------------

In Friesland province (The Netherlands) we have plans to establish a
trilingual school at primary level (age range 4-12 yrs.). It is
intended that three languages -- Frisian (the regional variety), Dutch
(the national language) and English (the international language) --
will be taught as a subject and used as a medium of instruction as
well. In view of our plans, we are very much interested in other
experiences as far as trilingual schooling is concerned. Who can
inform me, or can suggest relevant references/literature?

Jehannes Ytsma
Fryske Akademy
P. O. Box 54
8900 AB Ljouwert/Leeuwaarden
The Netherlands

Phone: +31 58 2131414 
Fax: +31 58 2131409 
Temporary E-Mail Address: 

(in case there is a problem, please e-mail 
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