Purpose of this Section
The purpose of this section is to help you to prepare for the Artificial Language Test (ALT). This test is intended to assess an applicant’s ability to learn Spanish. The test is based on an artificial language, the rules of which are based on some of the grammatical structures of
Spanish. Because all Border Patrol Agents are required to know the Spanish language, it is important to assess language-learning abilities in all applicants to the Border Patrol Agent occupation who do not already know Spanish. A validation study conducted by the U.S. Office
of Personnel Management and an attrition study conducted at the Border Patrol Academy demonstrated that the ALT is an extremely effective predictor of success in learning Spanish at the Academy. Accordingly, you are encouraged to study this manual with special care and attention.
This section is designed to allow every opportunity for you to study the grammatical rules of the
Artificial Language prior to taking the ALT. In this way, you can spend concentrated time in
learning to use grammatical rules that you will need to apply not only in the test, but also in the
process of learning Spanish, if you are selected for a Border Patrol Agent (Trainee) position.
Organization of this Section
Section IV contains several parts: vocabulary lists (or dictionary) for the Artificial Language, a
set of grammatical rules, a glossary of grammatical terms (for applicants who do not remember
the meaning of some of these terms), a practice test, which is similar in format and length to the
actual test, and, lastly, a clear and concise explanation of why each response in the test is right or
wrong. This last part should greatly assist you in learning how to apply each of the rules. The
parts of this section are organized in the following sequence.
First: The Vocabulary Lists
The lists of words need not be memorized because during the actual test they will be available to
you for constant consultation.
Second: The Glossary of Grammatical Rules for the Artificial Language
These rules are the essence of the Artificial Language because they are the essence of its
connection to the structures of the Spanish language. There is no need to memorize the rules
because they will be available to you during the test. Also, you should note that some of the
rules will be different in the actual test. For example, if the feminine form of a noun takes the
suffix nef in the rules presented in this manual, in the actual test the feminine form of a noun
may take a different ending.
Third: Glossary of Grammatical Terms
This glossary will provide a refresher mini-course in grammatical terms (such as “verb,”
“noun,” “adjective,” and “adverb”) for applicants who have forgotten the meaning of these
terms. The glossary will also be available for consultation during the actual test. In this section,
however, the meaning of the terms will be discussed in greater depth, and it is therefore
advisable for you to study the discussion here with special attention and concentration.
Fourth: The Practice Test
The practice test is similar, but not exactly the same, in length and format, and in its application
of the grammatical rules to the actual test.
The practice test questions contain tasks that require a correct translation from English to the
Artificial Language and that require the application of grammatical rules to Artificial Language
sentences. In some cases, these tasks involve an entire sentence, while in others they involve
only part of a sentence.
While taking the practice test, you should refer to all the materials described above, that is, to the
vocabulary lists, the grammatical rules for the Artificial Language, and the glossary of
grammatical terms. During the actual test, you will be able to refer to these sources at all times.
When taking the actual test, you will be given two booklets: One (called the “Supplemental
Booklet”) will contain the reference materials (the vocabulary lists, the grammatical rules, and
the glossary of grammatical terms), while the other will contain the test questions. You will have
access to the “Supplemental Booklet” at all times while taking the test, and you will be able to
consult the reference materials in the Supplemental Booklet while answering the test questions.
Therefore, it would be advisable for you to practice using the reference materials while taking
the practice test.
Fifth: The Rationale for Each Response
The last part of this section contains a clear and concise explanation of why each response choice
in the test is right or wrong. Since the test is a multiple-choice test, each response choice must
be evaluated separately. Consequently, it is important for you to know which rule is pertinent to
each response choice. As will be clear from the study of the explanations, some response
choices (those that are correct) conform to the appropriate rules, while the majority of response
choices (those that are incorrect) violate one or more of the rules.
It is very advisable for you to analyze each and every one of the explanations after taking the
practice test. If you find that many of your answers to the test questions are incorrect, it would
be a good idea for you to retake the practice test after (1) studying the rationale for each response
choice, and (2) studying the grammatical rules once again, with more attention to detail.
THE VOCABULARY LISTS
The words on the following lists are the same; they are merely arranged differently, as they
would be in a bilingual dictionary. In the first list, you can look up words in English to find their
equivalent word in the Artificial Language. In the second list, you can look up words in the
Artificial Language to find their equivalent word in English. During the actual test, you will
have the vocabulary lists with you for consultation at all times. Nonetheless, you should note
that the words given below are not the same as those given in the actual test. Therefore, it is best
not to try to memorize them before taking the actual test.
Word List Arranged Alphabetically
by the English Word
Word List Arranged Alphabetically
by the Artificial Language Word
a, an bex skillful janle almanlek government kaplek man
alien huslek that velle arker to drive kometlek friend
and loa the wir avelek enemy lexker to station
boy ekaplek this volle bex a, an liaker to injure
country failek to be synker bonker to guard loa and
difficult glasle to border regker browlek river mor from
enemy avelek to cross chonker chonker to cross pirker to escape
friend kometlek to drive arker colle legal quea of
from mor to escape pirker daqlek jeep regker to border
government almanlek to guard bonker degker to shoot synker to be
he, him yev to have tulker ekaplek boy tatker to spy
jeep daqlek to identify kalenker failek country trenedlek paper
legal colle to injure liaker frigker to work tulker to have
loyal inle to inspect zelker glasle difficult velle that
man kaplek to shoot degker huslek alien volle this
of quea to spy tatker inle loyal wir the
paper trenedlek to station lexker janle skillful yev he, him
river browlek to work frigker kalenker to identify zelker to inspect