Saturday, December 03, 2011

English-Vernacular interpretation in Churches

Most people have been asking a question as to why in Malawi preachers like to preach in English/Vernacular interpretation. I know some of us also have the same question. We might be going to that church, listening to such preachings and enjoying them at times when the Holy Spirit touches our soul, but we are too perplexed by them.
English-to-Vernacular preaching is very common in pentecostal, charismatic, baptist or evangelical churches. Most of us have ever been asked by someone outside our faith “Why does your pastor preach in English with a vernacular interpreter?” But we have never answered them correctly because we are not sure too! However, with all the relevance we have towards men of God and the fear of pouring the wrath of God upon our life, most of us have never taken an initiative to ask our pastors why this happens like this. 
I would like to address this question here today. I am speaking as one of the men of God who stands in front of people sharing the Word. At times I do the English/Vernacular interpretation, either as the protagonist or as the interpreter himself. I hope this will help someone out there to understand why we do English-to-Vernacular interpretation in our churches.
Before I dive into the topic, let me say that this question came from a friend in one of the forums I am affiliated to. I responded to it, then I felt that I should blog the response I gave so that it helps others too. I had to request the friend for permission to blog my response for the benefit of the multitude, lest he feels offended :-) and he gave me a go-ahead!
I would like also to make it clear that I am using the term vernacular in place of any other indigenous language that can be used for interpretation. I know in most Malawian churches it is Chichewa, but I have also found others interpreting in Chilhomwe, Chiyao and other indigenous languages. In addition, the views here also apply to other communities in the diaspora, especially in Africa, where most of the languages of business happen to be of European origin. In the same view also, the term English should be taken as generic for any non-indigenous “business-oriented” language. 
Sometimes, interpretation becomes complex. I recall once in my Church there came a preacher from Congo who only understood French. He came with one friend who could understand French and English. We had to do a two-state interpretation: French to English to Chichewa. It was that experience that propelled me to study French.

Pastor Aubrey Mwasinga (right) through a Chichewa Interpreter

But why English-Vernacular Interpretation in the Church?

Generally, the choice of using a language when preaching has equally the same reasons and implications as to why we try to use English on social networks like Facebook, Skype or in an email when we know that we are addressing our fellow Malawians. 

In most of the pentecostal churches (just with other churches as well), there is a great chance of finding Non-Malawian Citizens worshipping together with Malawians. Unfortunately, because of long church services, most pentecostal churches are not fond of having double streams: English and Chichewa.

Some preachers find English-vernacular interpretation providing with them some authoritative power to preach. They feel "possessed" by the Spirit. This might be funny to someone who does not understand the spiritual implications of it, but take it from me - they really do feel the power of God in that sense. Know that God uses us the way we often feel him. He is polymorphic: He responds to the way we come to him at different intervals.

We should understand that being an interpreter in a Church is also a special spiritual gift. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 says "Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don't want you to misunderstand this... A special gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire Church... Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and Only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have." (NLT).

Interpretation is a form of evangelism tool. This point is very much related to the previous one. Being a spiritual gift itself, interpretation can be a blessing to the church. Many of us know English but not everyone of us can do the interpretation well. You will discover that when some people interpret, the entire church bursts into laughter: not that the interpreter is erring, but the way the interpreter makes a choice of vernacular terms to spice up the preaching makes their interpretation unique. And members do not slumber in the church as the preacher is preaching. It is a special gift. Now pastors love to leverage that skill in the church to edify the congregation.

Some preachers feel that they can articulate the points better in English. Maybe because their vernacular vocabulary (especially Chichewa) is not as good as that of English (in one way or the other). This point closely related to that of interpretation being a spiritual gift. Such preachers find that their choice of words in vernacular is not as authentic as they would love it to be. Instead, they love to make use of the gift of interpretation that exists in the church.

Some preachers find English-Vernacular interpretation giving them better vocabulary combination. Such preachers love to play with words to make their sermons unforgettable. They like using:
  •  rhymes e.g. "Life without Christ is Crisis", 
  • backronyms e.g. "Brothers, be FOCUSED in your faith. That is being Faithfully On Christ's Unfailing Side Every Day" 

  • puns e.g. "Seven 'prayerless' days make one weak."
One thing we should not forget is that each language has some sentence patterns and pithy expressions that sound better when said in those languages than when said in the other languages. So the combination of vernacular and English exploit the pithy expressions in these two languages.

Some verses are well understood if translated directly from a particular English version. The reason is English is indisputably the only Language with so many Bible translations. As an example, I will give you a verse that used to perplex me when I was young. I never understood them clearly till I read the English version. More importantly, I got several perspectives of the same verse from different English versions. 1Timothy 3:6 in Chichewa reads:
  • "Asakhale wophunza; kuti podzitukumula umgwere mlandu wa mderekezi" (From Buku Lopatulika version. I am not sure how it is translated in Buku Loyera version - maybe someone can provide). 
English has several translations that can be applied differently, depending on the revelation that the Lord is trying to relay to his people: 
  • "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." (KJV),
  • "An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall." (NLT),
  • "He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil." (NIV)
  • "He must not be a recent convert, so that he won't become arrogant and fall into the devil's condemnation." (ISV)
  • "not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil." (ASV)
You can notice that the different versions give additional information, some of which is hereby underlined, that when translated directly provide a better understanding than just using the vernacular version only. So pastors do use varying English translations to provide a wider understanding of the same verse with a particular emphasis to what the Lord has revealed to them as a specific need for the congregation.

These are just some of the reasons that preachers have behind English-Vernacular preachings. I hope you are blessed by this and at least you  know a few reasons. Next time someone asks you, you will be able to explain to them. Stay blessed!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dart, What's that? Teascript!!

In a dramatic turn of events, a year after Google announced that it has aborted Gears development in favour of HTML 5, Google has released a client-based competitor for JavaScript in the name of Dart. Indeed, the main goal of Dart is to replace JavaScript (aka Coffeescript) as the main built-in scripting language in web browsers to try to solve JavaScript's inherent problems.

In an internal circulation that was leaked out, Google says that the complex web applications that it specializes in are struggling against the JavaScript platform and working with, [JavaScript], a language that cannot be tooled and has inherent performance problems. Google also states that the future of JavaScript State of affairs for building delightful applications on the web today is far too difficult as the cyclone of innovation is increasingly moving off the web onto iOS and other closed platforms.

Google outlined two ways to approach the JavaScript problems:
  • either to try to evolve Javascript
  • or to push for a new language that addresses core problems in Javascript that can’t be repaired easily or quickly.
The “evolve Javascript” option is relatively low risk, but even in the best case it will take years and will be limited by fundamental problems in the language (like the existence of a single Number primitive). Javascript has historical baggage that cannot be solved without a clean break. Thus, although it’s low risk, it’s also relatively low reward.

The “clean break” option is extremely high risk--it will be a huge challenge to convince other browser vendors to rally around a new language--but is the only way to escape the historic problems with Javascript. Thus, its high risk is matched by the potential for a very high reward--a classic leapfrog strategy.

In November 2010, Google took a bold step and worked on plan B to conceive a new baby in the web programming world, Dash who was later on renamed to Dart. In the early hours of 10th October 2011, Google finally unveiled the newborn.

According to an official blog post from Google, Lars Bak, one of the tech leads of Dart Team, who also happens to be the mastermind of Chrome the browser from Google, reveals that Dart aims at:
  • providing a structured yet flexible language for web programming,
  • bringing a familiar and natural feeling to programmers, thereby and making dart easy to learn.
  • Ensuring high performance on all modern web browsers and environments ranging from small handheld devices to server-side execution.
Dart code can be executed either on a native virtual machine or on top of a JavaScript engine by using a compiler that translates Dart code to JavaScript.  Dart is only supported on Chrome, Firefox and Safari as they are working on an Internet Explorer solution.

The language and its preliminary tools available as open source on  There are also rumours that they are developing a cloud-based IDE called Brightly, that will perhaps be the first Dart application.

Google Revolutionizes Cloud Computing

In an effort to revolutionize cloud computing, Google has been working on several inventions. I have a pleasure to present to you some of the stuff that has been the hit of the moment:
  • Chromebook: Is that a laptop? No, a gPad! No, rather a cloudtop!
Some few months ago, Google introduced Chromebooks. Some of us may have already have an idea of what they are. But to be on the same pace, a Chromebook is a cloud-client laptop-like mobile device running Google Chrome OS. Unlike Chromium OS, which can be compiled from the downloaded source code, Chrome OS only ships on specific hardware from Google's manufacturing partners.
Google Chrome OS on Chromebook source Wikipedia

Chromebook's user interface takes a minimalist approach, resembling that of the Chrome web browser. Since Google Chrome OS is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the Internet, the only application on the device is a browser incorporating a media player and a file manager.

The first commercial Chromebooks for sale were announced at the Google I/O conference in May 2011 and began shipping on 15 June 2011. They are produced by Acer Inc. and Samsung. You can get more insight on the Chromebook's official page.
  • Chrome Remote Desktop: Another Secret Viewer? OMG!
Logging remotely from an iMac into a Windows using Chrome Remote Desktop: source CNET News
Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension that allows users to remotely access another computer through the Chrome browser or a Chromebook. Released on 7 October 2011, Chrome Remote Desktop is a browser-based equivalent of remote desktop software for conventional operating systems. It is fully cross-platform, so you can connect any two computers running Chrome browser, including Windows, Linux, iMac and Chromebooks. The extension seeks to demonstrate chromoting, the Chrome Remoting technology, and get feedback from users.

Apparently, there are mixied reactions form users around the globe, some of whom have been posting comments on the extension's official page. I am sure, this is one of the extensions that Firefox fans (like me) will be jealousy of.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Edmond Kachale: From Health Informatics to Enterprise Informatics

My beloved readers,

I would like to make a few announcements:
  • As some of you may have noted, I have been hired by NBS Bank Malawi LTD. Beginning from  18 July 2011, I will be working enterprise information systems for the bank. These will range from web based, through to desktop and mobile apps. These systems will provided services within the bank, cross-bank transactions as well as e-banking (e.g:  online payments of services). Due to this change of interest, I will not be actively developing health informatics systems as I used to. However, I will still be making contributions where possible.
  • As a natural language enthusiast, I will still be developing and maintaining  my natural language applications. This is one of the greatest contributions I feel I can make to the world apart from my routine businesses. As usual, I will be posting developments here to keep you updated. For those that love toying around with code, I will hosting source code for selected applications on my Github repository. I hope you will enjoy not only using the code but also contributing to it.
  • For obvious reasons :-), I have reduced Ruby development. Currently, I have switched to PHP and .NET. Honestly, I do not find PHP as exiting as Ruby, but the conditions have forced me to make this change. So far,  I have not found a better PHP framework like Ruby on Rails (I know Symfony and CakePHP are trying their best, but they haven't reached there!!).
 I appreciate your wonderful support in my open source development.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet the Lazyrussian, a hacker that played monkey tricks with Facebook for two-and-half years

Most of you who are reading this post may not have any knowledge as to who The Lazyrussian is. Despite that, most of you may have used his software. I was the same a few months ago. I have never thought very much about Lazyrussian until recently when I visited a homepage of one of his popular technologies and found that he announced that he has ceased developing the software and will no longer host it due to pending lawsuits from Facebook.

He goes by the name Arthur Ariel Sabintsev but he uses to call himself The Lazyrussian or just Lazyrussian in software development circles. He is a twenty-five year-old 'May' baby.  He has a combination of talents. He is an naturally born software developer who holds an undergraduate degree in Biophysics and a graduate degree in Nuclear Physics. He has never done any professional course in software development but has grown a cowboy developer since he was twelve years old.

To his credit, Lazyrussian has developed the following free and open source tools: Buzz It!, Email This!, Email Yourself!, MySpacePAD and FacePAD/PhotoJacker. On 16th June 2011, he announced on his website ( that he has foregone his PhD in Physics in pursuit of his software development passion. He also mentioned that he has been hired by Fueled, a New York based software development company where he is honing his programming skills as an iOS/Android developer from 20th June 2011.

Arthur came into my limelight when I was looking for a simple tool that would help me easily download photos from Facebook when I need them. I was looking for a tool that would help me get high resolution photos, because manually downloading them was not giving me the expected quality. One day, I stumbled upon an article that described five technologies that would help me do that. I tried using all of them, but unfortunately none came closer to FacePAD. I finally fell in love with FacePAD.

FacePAD was a simple Firefox extension that would expeditiously download a single photo or an entire photo album off Facebook in few minutes. A Firefox extension is a piece of software, also referred to as an add-on or a plugin, that you can install as part your Firefox Web Browser. Lazyrussian went ahead to release FacePAD on Mozilla's Addons page for public use. On 12 January 2011, Lazyrussian announced that Facebook’s lawyers wrote him stating that he should rebrand FacePAD within 48 hours, or he would be slapped with a lawsuit.  So, the developer enacted his contingency plan and rebranded FacePAD as PhotoJacker.

On a sad note, Lazyrussian announced on on 27th January 2011 that he has ceased from developing the software and has removed from Mozilla because Facebook had sent him a Cease & Desist notice stating that PhotoJacker/FacePAD violates Section 3.2 of their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. In the notice, Facebook also stated that the developer was opening himself to claims that he is facilitating copyright infringement via the download of the albums of others. The notice also advised him to build something using Facebook APIs rather than working around or contravening Facebook’s limitations, or, make a suggestion to Facebook for functionality he would like to see.

From his two announcements  (about name change and Cease & Desist / Facebook Takedown Notice), and from the copy of Facebook's Cease & Desist notice that I got pa Kanjedza (under the palm tree), it appears that the discussion between the two parties on FacePAD had been around for a while. On the other hand, I personally noticed that Facebook had been frequently changing links to users' photos and photo albums over the past two years. The Lazyrussian kept updating his software till he got this strong warning on 26 January 2011, and finally gave up the fight on grounds that he was a full time student and he really didn't have the time to deal with this issue.

From the word of his mouth, and indeed, from my own opinion, FacePAD was not intended to be of any evil intentions. It developed as an out-of-play alternative way for downloading photos from Facebook. Such application is technically called a hack not a crack. FacePAD was a cool tool that made use of AJAX requests, regular expressions and some built-in Firefox functionalities to download the photos. Facebook was extremely upset that he was able to create this photo-downloading software without using their API. Lazyrussian thinks he was getting punished for being clever. On 16 June 2011, Lazyrussian joined Github and decided to publish FacePAD's source code under copyleft license in an attempt to preserve it.

It was very fascinating to see how a student hacker was making Facebook's life miserable. But Facebook also started as a student hacker's invention at Havard!

There goes The Lazyrussian and his controversial FacePAD!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Indigenous Tweets: The fun side of Tweeting in Your own Language

The most frequently used languages in the world have so far pushed other minority languages down. Most of these frequently used languages happen to be those of the colonial masters. They tend to dominate day-to-day businesses as a result indigenous languages naturally hibernate.

Computer scientists and linguists are trying to revive and sustain those indigenous languages that are surviving. Currently, as a way of reviving and preserving them, we have seen a lot of localization projects sprouting in an effort to push the endangered languages into the computing world.

Chichewa page on
Localization efforts may not be effective enough unless communities themselves get involved in the process. In an effort to highlight the use of indigenous languages on the Internet, Prof. Kevin Scannell has developed which puts together statistics of “35 plus” indigenous languages that are being used on Twitter. Launched on St. Patrick's Day 2011, Indigenous Tweets uses data gathered by Scannell's web-crawling application, An Crúbadán, which identifies the details of minority languages being tweeted. According to a post on Indigenous Tweets Blog, the primary aim of is to help build online language communities through Twitter.

Prof. Scannell hopes that the site will aid speakers of indigenous and minority languages to find each other in the vast sea of global languages like English and French that dominate Twitter. Clicking any of the language profiles on the list takes one to a page that lists tweeters in that language with other nice indicators. 

Beyond providing linguistic statistics, I feel Indigenous Tweets provides some new wave of social networking. People will find it more funny to tweet as much as possible in an effort to boot out friends and rank top on their language pages. I hope people will not be ashamed of tweeting in their indigenous languages. In the end, we will have more and more minority languages enjoying the cyber world just as the dominant languages do.

I love Indigenous Tweets from the start. I can see myself ranking low on  the Chichewa page. Now, I am thinking of switching from facebooking to tweeting so that I boot out the top tweeters in my language. Lol!

I hope that you too will enjoy tweeting in your language more than ever!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Natural Language Processing Tools for Chichewa

Natural language processing (NLP) is an excellent discipline of computer science focusing on developing artificial intelligence systems that are able to interact with human beings in their natural languages. The expert systems so developed try to understand patterns of human languages and process the given data (text or speech) accordingly. The expert tools are very useful in various systems. For example some feature/smart phones are able to read the name of the caller for you as the phone rings. Other applications like word processors are able to read a big document and generate for you a summary document from it. We also have nice applications (e.g. Google Translate) that read text in one  human language and translate it into another target language. All these are products of the field of NLP.

I have been working on big projects for Chichewa, a lingua franca for Malawi (formerly it's national language), Zambia and some parts of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. These systems are still in progress of perfection, but they currently are able to do great stuff at this stage. I am sure that the end of these projects will put Chichewa somewhere as far as NLP is concerned. I would like to share with you my experiences.

ChicMorph: A Morphological Analyzer for Chichewa Verbs
    Chichewa is agglutinative in nature. One word/phrase  is a combination of several sub-words (techinically called morphemes). For example sindibweranso (Lit: I am not coming again) can be broken as follows: si(not)-ndi(I)-bwer(come)-a-nso(again). Notice that the "a" has no literal meaning. It is just a final vowel to complement bwer, the stem of that verb.

    ChicMorph takes raw Chichewa verbs, discovers and isolates the verb constituent morphemes. Some Chichewa verbs are tricky in that their roots also include subwords (morphemes) that are also morphemes on their own. For example, er is an applicaticative morpheme as in gwera (gw-er-a). But it is not  a morpheme in bwera (hence bw-er-a is incorrect, but bwer-a). I have so far improved ChicMorph to evaluate correctly verbs with roots constituting morphemes that are also prefixal or suffixal allomorphs like these ones.
     ChicPOS: Part of Speech Tagger
      From August 2010, I have been working on a Chichewa part of speech tagger and it is doing great. I am hoping to make more breakthroughs in due course. Right now, chicPOS understands all Chichewa parts of speech including punctuations:
      •  Mwana womaliza uja wa a Phiri wabwera kudzagula mchere. (Lit: That last born child to Mr. Phiri has come to buy salt.) => Mwana[NN] womaliza[JJ] uja[DEM] wa[IN] a[HON] Phiri[NNP] wabwera[VB] kudzagula[VB] mchere[NN] .[.]
      Key: DEM => Demonstrative Adjective, HON => Honorific a, IN =>Preposition, JJ => Adjective, NN => Noun, NNP => Proper Noun, POSS => Possessive Adjective, PN => Pronoun, PRP => Personal Pronoun, VB =>  Verb.

      ChicPOS is also able to identify proper nouns within a given phrase. Compare usage of "Talandira" in the following phrases:
      •  Talandira ndalama kuchokera kwa a Chikale. (Lit: We have received money from Mr. Chikale.) => Talandira[VB] ndalama[NN] kuchokera[VB] kwa[ASSOC] a[HON] Chikale[NNP] .[.]
      • Ndamuona Talandira akudutsa apa. (Lit: I have seen Talandira passing by here.) => Ndamuona[VB] Talandira[NNP] akudutsa[VB] apa[DEM] .[.]
      ChicPOS fails to identify proper nouns in some positions, especially when they begin a sentence as in Talandira akudutsa apa. (Lit: Talandira is passing by here). =>  Talandira[VB] akudutsa[VB] apa[DEM] .[.] (compare it with: Akudutsa apa Talandira. (Lit: He/She is passing by here, Talandira) => Akudutsa[VB] apa[DEM] Talandira[NNP] .[.]). Proper nouns are tricky even in "natural/daily conversations" looking at the way names(Proper nouns) are formed in Chichewa. Some proper names originate from verbs/verb phrases (e.g. Talandira => (Lit: We have received), Kalinda-kadye (Lit: It waits to eat)) while others from common nouns (Chipiriro (Patience), Ulemu (Politeness/Respect)). Notice that somehow ChicPOS is also correct  in this special case: Talandira akudutsa apa. =>  Talandira[VB] akudutsa[VB] apa[DEM] .[.] The reason is since Talandira originates from a verb , by just changing the tone of the phrase Talandira akudutsa apa. will translate to We have recieived (something) while he was passing here.. In short, I should say I am still exploring this concept of proper nouns. 

      Right now, I have six thousand Chichewa words (thanks to Prof. Kevin Scannell for compiling the initial wordlist using his An Crubádan). I am in the process of tagging them, and I will be adding some more words. A note on tags, I have tried to preserve popular tags like NN, JJ but for words that I could not find one I prioritized short forms outlined in The Syntax of Chichewa by Prof. Sam Mchombo. Otherwise, I generated my own. I am hoping to create a standardized form for Chichewa (and eventually for other Malawian languages). I am also looking at some similar work in Swahili and Nguni languages.

      AffixGen: Chichewa Verb Generator
        In due course, I also developed a "Chichewa verb generator". It automatically generates 66082 prefixes, 2870 suffixes (using CARP [Causative-Applicative-Reciprocal-Passive] and RCAP suffix combination; in RCAP the reciprocal precedes the other suffixes as in menyanitsa). The suffix extension can take up to three clitics at the moment. For each single verb root, it generates 66082 x 2870 = 189,655,340 possible verb forms. This is awesome because if you have 10 Chichewa verb roots, you are able to generate close to 2 billion Chichewa verbs!! Of course some of them may not be as sensible due to some semantical encodings behind them (compare menya and bwera => akuzimenyanitsa vs akuzibweranitsa.) I am still working on this. I would like to collect all(?????) verb roots (Ha!Ha!Ha! if I can manage) and isolate them accordingly so that such funny combinations do not occur any more, or at least the error rate is reduced drastically. Right now I have 500 verb roots and the system is able to generate 94,827,670,000 (94 Billion) verbs!!!!

        I am using AffixGen output to build plugins for Hunspell spellchecker, and I have so far created two plugins, one for Firefox and another for OpenOffice (It is available online on website. Of course, the online one is not up to date yet). 

        ChiVisualize: Dynamic Visualization Tool of Chichewa Phrase Structures
          In line with ChicPOS, I am creating a visualization tool for Chichewa phrase structures. This is another great art work that I have ventured into. ChiVisualize text tagged phrases and build a syntax tree as in the following example:
          Mkango[NN] uja[DEM] ukuba[VB] mikanda[NN] yanu[POSS] (That lion is stealing your beads.)
          The syntax tree is interactive and dynamic. You can change the orientation in four directions: top, bottom, left and right. You can also emphasize on a particular level in any of the sub-trees. The system is able to "virtually" simulate the all six Chichewa phrase structures: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OVS and OSV. ChiVisualize uses JavaScript InfoVis Toolkit to create these interactive visualization.

          ChiVisualize is still in its formative stages. Right now, the tagged text is processed into a base phrase structure (as defined by Chomsky's Minimalist Theory/Program) manually and given to ChiVisualize for syntax tree generation. Currently, I am working on an algorithm that will be able to automatically generate a Base Phrase Structure for given tagged text.

          Later on, I will combine ChicPOS, ChicMorph and ChiVisualize into one application. With the new system, one will just be giving it a "normal" Chichewa Phrase and it will be doing all the processing itself. ChicPOS will be generating tagged text and give it to ChiVusualize for visualization. On the other hand, ChicMorph will produce extra morphological constraints that will be displayed when one emphasizes on a certain phrase constituent in a given syntax tree. I will also add a transformational-generative grammar parser that will be able to resolve matching of argument markers to their respective nominals if present in a given phrase. Of course, I am aware of ambiguities resulting from free word ordering and NPs from same classes as depicted in the following: Galimoto ng'ombe yayigunda (galimoto => car, ng'ombe => cow, yayigunda => 'has hit'). (which one hit the other here? FYI: galimoto and ng'ombe fall in the same noun class). One way will be to leave it strictly non-configurational such that the phrase will be illustrated as S = NP + NP + V (or any of its combinations, without a VP). But I'll cross the bridges when I'll come to them :-), :-).

          By the end of everything, I would like to build a head-driven phrase structure grammar checker for Chichewa. This will be useful not only in linguistics, but also in real-world applications like word processing software.