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In Moundsbar*

As is well-known by now, modern Moundsbar, cursed with perhaps the most rigid word-order known to us, not only disdains movement rules, but actively pursues them with an eye to their destruction. As a result, shouting, accompanied by a tensing of the facial muscles, is the most common means of foregrounding a constituent in this language, bolstered on certain occasions by the severer device of grasping the intended hearer by the ears and lifting slightly. This second strategy is rarely needed other than in speaking to children, however, since adult Moundsbarians have acquired the ability to watch each other’s lips carefully in order to distinguish the various vowels, and under these conditions it is hard to miss the facial tensing just mentioned.

This of course raises the question of in the written language At earlier stages of both the spoken and the written language, a constituent could be moved to the extreme left, slamming it into a major juncture and giving rise to various particles. This is still possible in the more archaic written styles; however very few Moundsbarians can read and write today, probably in part a result of their having acquired the cathode-ray tube before they had completely mastered agriculture. Those few who are literate usually do not read aloud, in fear of losing their lives by appearing to move constituents.

Constituents are backgrounded, or removed as it were from the spotlight, by deleting them. This may include entire predicates, resulting in sentences which convey no new information whatever, other than underlyingly. This is either good or bad, depending on one’s linguistic theory; the Moundsbarians themselves do not have linguistic theory and thus it is not surprising that they have not been heard to express a viewpoint on the matter. One of my older informants suspended his ritual insults long enough to opine that in general there is no new information. Make of this what you will

Being double-parked at the moment, I am unable here to go into the question of the origin of the Moundsbarian fear of movement rules. Comparative evidence would be of help, and despite the vehement protests of the peoples involved, there are a number of languages in the area related to Moundsbar, several of which appear to have movement rules. When I understand all this, I will let you know.


* In this note will mean the simple designation of what the speaker is talking . To those who object to this, I say,

Linguists Seek Increased Funding To Fight Potential Aphasic Flu Epidemic—SpecGram Wire Services
Chickenese—A Grammatical Sketch—Damon Lord
SpecGram Vol CLI, No 3 Contents