Choice or Competition in Different Worlds

by Olúṣẹ̀ yẹ Adéṣọlá

A tree does not make a forest
So they told me in my growing years
Awoken from my sleep now
I see that there indeed are many trees in my forest
Left and right, the forest they make
Different shapes and sizes they are,
Yet, they grow together making the forest.

In my sleep, I travelled in a dream.
In the midst of a congregation, myself I found
Different tongues and colors they are,
Divergent structures they possess
SOV, SVO, OVS, OSV, VSO and VOS here and there
I’m isolated until I hear a whisper in my language
Alas! My dream language is SVO

Why so many choices, I wondered aloud,
Little did I know, it started with time
At the beginning of time, choices exist
Matter and Antimatter went on a collision course.
Matter survives, the universe began
Unity in diversity,
It proclaims

Black, white, dark skin, light skin, I see them in my dream
Variations in melanin and dermis, I’m told account for them
Minority or majority, boss or subordinate,
Left handed, right handed, giant or dwarf
Rich or poor, male or female,
At conception, they all began with the 20 million spermatozoa race
Only one spermatozoon outraced and outranked them all

SOV, SVO, OVS, OSV, VSO and VOS in different worlds, they compete
SVO outranks them all in English, Hausa, French, and Igbo
Turkish, Eskimo and Japanese make SOV optimal
Tagalog, Classical Irish, and Arabic like VSO best
No wonder, OVS wins in Apalai, Barasano and Panare
Rejoice with OSV, speakers of Apurina and Xavante
Cakchiquel and Huave make VOS the champion!

Suggested citation:
Adéṣọlá, Olúṣẹyẹ. 2015. Choice or Competition in Different Worlds. In Short ’schrift for Alan Prince, compiled by Eric Baković.

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