Abdel Rahman Mitib Altakhaineh

Doctoral Student in Linguistics (Morphology)Abdel Altakhaineh

Email: a.r.m.s.altakhaineh@ncl.ac.uk


  • Maggie Tallerman
  • William van der Wurff

A cross-linguistics perspective on the Right-Hand Head Rule: the rule and the exceptions

A well-known generalisation about compounding in English is The Right-Hand Head Rule (RHHR), first suggested by Williams (1981: 248), who states that "in morphology, we define the head of a morphologically complex word to be the right hand member of that word." A simple example is the compound boathouse, where house clearly functions as head.

Several morphologists (e.g. Katamba and Stonham 2006: 328, Lieber 2009: 366, Don 2009: 379, Kornfeld 2009: 437, Booij 2009: 210, Schwarze 2005: 137, Fradin 2009: 418 and Neef 2009: 387) have pointed out that there is cross-linguistic variation in headedness of compounds. Languages such as German and Dutch are strongly right-headed, others such as French and Arabic are strongly left-headed, whilst English, Spanish and Italian tend to be mixed between left-headed and right-headed. However, so far there has been no study of possible regularities in this regard, with the result that word-internal headedness in a language looks like a fairly arbitrary property, unconnected to its other characteristics. This project will investigate the patterning of headedness in compounding, in particular, the patterning of the exceptions. In doing so, it will explore the relation between headedness in compounding on the one hand, and in derivations and noun phrases on the other. Thus, the aim is to carry out a systematic and analytical study of the regularities and exceptions of the RHHR cross-linguistically.

The languages to be investigated will be English, Dutch, French, Italian, German and Arabic. Data will be collected from different resources, such as dictionaries, lexicons and online corpora. I will use my intuition as a native speaker of Arabic. For other languages, I will use grammatical descriptions in the relevant literature.

Research Interests

My main research interests lie in the area of morphology, lexical semantics, morphosyntax, morphosemantics and morphophonlogy. Also, I am interested in discourse analysis, pragmatics and semantics. I did some primary research in collocations and academic writing.

Research Activities



Teaching English language skills as well as IELTS preparation courses, UAE, 2011 -2013.

  1. Teaching English language skills as well as IELTS preparation courses, UAE, 2011 -2013.
  2. English language teacher, Future International School, UAE, 2011-2013.
  3. Teaching English language (Academic Writing skills and Phonetics) at Abraham Moss Secondary school (Libyan period), Manchester-UK between 18th of October 2010 to 2nd of June 2011.
  4. Teaching English language skills as well as IELTS preparation courses for Arab students at language Centre, Salford-Manchester from January 2010 to August 2011.
  5. A freelance proof-reader, translator and interpreter between April 2010 to June 2011. This work exposes me to technical English for business, management, politics, pharmacy, law, medicine and computer science.


  • Presenter, Postgraduate Speaker Series, Newcastle University, 12th May 2014.
  • 9th Newcastle upon Tyne Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics, Newcastle University, 2014.


Journal articles and books:

  1. Altakhaineh, A. (2008) A Little British Boy: Grammar. Alkarak: Ram.
  2. Altakhaineh, A. and Zibin, A. (2014) Phonologically conditioned morphologically process in Modern Standard Arabic: An analysis of Al-ibdal 'substitution' in ftaʕal pattern using prosodic morphology. International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, (2) 1, pp 1-16.
  3. Altakhaineh, A.; Jarrah,M. and AlSulayyi, M. (2014) Discourse meanings: An application of Intertextuality perspective. International Journal of Linguistics, (6) 2, pp 85-97.
  4. Zibin, A. and Altakhaineh, A. (2014) Informativity of Arabic proverbs in context: An insight into Palestinian discourse. International Journal of Linguistics, (6) 1, pp 67-83.
  5. Altakhaineh, A. and Zibin, A. (2014) Perception of Culturally Loaded Words by Arab EFL Learners. International Journal of Linguistics, (6) 3, pp 1-22.
  6. Altakhaineh, A. (2014) The Interaction between Inflection and Derivation in English and MSA. Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.

Web articles:

  1. Altakhaineh, A. (2010) The main characteristics of good academic writing in English, language discourse functions, and challenges that Arab students face. Articlesbase Online Website.
  2. Altakhaineh, A. (2011) The main theories in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Articlesbase Online Website.
  3. Altakhaineh, A. (2011) Polysemy in English and Arabic. Articlesbase Online Website.
  4. Altakhaineh, A. (2011) The role and significance of the writer, the text and the reader in the teaching of writing. Articlesbase Online Website.
  5. Altakhaineh, A. (2013) The different aspects of "knowing a word" and the implications of this for vocabulary learning and teaching. Articlesbase Online Website.


  1. School Rep, School of Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University, 2014-2015.
  2. Spearheading the 10th Newcastle upon Tyne PG Conference in Linguistics, 20th March 2015.
  3. Panel member, Innovation Fund Panel, Newcastle University, 2013-2014.
  4. Course representative, Postgraduate Staff Student Committee, Newcastle University, 2013-2014.
  5. Course representative, Postgraduate Staff Student Committee, University of Salford, 2009-2010.
  6. A student ambassador at the University of Salford, 2009-2010.

Academic Background

  • MA in Applied Linguistics, Salford University, UK, 2010.
  • BA English Language and Literature, Mutah University, Jordan, 2006.


Articlesbase - Abdel Altakhaineh

Newcastle University - Abdel Altakhaineh