LINGUIST List 9.1532

Tue Nov 3 1998

Qs: ESL/Arabic, Psycoling Text, Unaccusativity

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. Heidi B. Harley, ESL for Arabic native speakers
  2. mau, Psycholinguistic Teaching Materials
  3. Bert Peeters, Unaccusativity Query Clarified

Message 1: ESL for Arabic native speakers

Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 10:10:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Heidi B. Harley <>
Subject: ESL for Arabic native speakers

Dear Linguist List members --
I'm writing on behalf of an ESL instructor-friend of mine who is teaching
English in a high school to some recently-immigrated teenage speakers of
Arabic. She has taught ESL before, but not to Arabic speakers, and was
wondering if other teachers out there have any specific hints about how
to adapt her curriculum in ways that might be helpful to them: particular
materials, drills, cultural tips, identification of areas that are
particularly tricky or unusual given Arabic as the first language, places
where it might be helpful for her to understand some aspect of Arabic
grammar or writing system, etc. Please respond to me, Heidi Harley, at
this address (, and I'll forward to her and also
summarize to the list if there is sufficient interest.

Thanks very much,
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Message 2: Psycholinguistic Teaching Materials

Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 12:55:43 +0000
From: mau <>
Subject: Psycholinguistic Teaching Materials

Dear LinguistList Members:

I am a cogntive/educational psychologist at a small university. I am
having to teach psycholinguistics for the first time. While in the
distant past I have had some success teaching psychology of language
seminars;but, this will be the first time to teach the material to an
unselected group of undergraduates.

In the past when faced with such a task, I prefer to find three
thorough comprehensive "standard" texts. The best organized I use as
the text, while I take notes from the others.

Most of my standard texts are 10 to 15 years old like the old Clark
and Clark Pychology and Language text.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated. 

Mike Urda 

Michael Urda TEL: (912)931-2311
Professor of Psychology
Georgia Southwestern State University
Americus, GA 31709
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Message 3: Unaccusativity Query Clarified

Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 10:06:24 -0800
From: Bert Peeters <>
Subject: Unaccusativity Query Clarified

I have been asked to further clarify my recent query regarding
unaccusativity. An amended text follows hereafter.

To try and improve on what others have said regarding the semantics
of unaccusativity, I have started to look at unaccusative verbs in
a broad range of typologically different languages. A verb or a
construction involving a verb qualifies as unaccusative if there
is evidence that its subject (which would typically be its only
argument) behaves in certain ways as a direct object rather than
a subject, or is morphologically marked in the same way as a direct
object. Defined in this way, unaccusativity seems to exist not only
in ergative and semi-ergative languages, but also in accusative
languages. In the case of semi-ergative languages, there is a
split between accusative and ergative patterning according to the
meaning of the verb (split intransitivity), its tense/mood/aspect,
or the nature of the arguments involved. Would those who know
of languages that are said to have unaccusative verbs and/or
constructions please tell me which verbs are (or can be) unaccusative,
and why these verbs rather than others are deemed to be unaccusative?
It does not matter which language(s) you work on or know of, all
information (including if at all possible references to the
literature) is welcome.

Thanks to all. I'll summarize if there is sufficient interest.

Bert Peeters

Dr Bert Peeters - School of English & European Languages and Literatures
University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-82, Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
Tel.: +61 (0)3 6226 2344 / Fax.: +61 (0)3 6226 7631
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