Monthly Archives: March 2008

Topic chains in Chinese: A discourse analysis and applications in language teaching

Topic chains in Chinese: A discourse analysis and applications in language teaching. By Wendan Li. Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2005. Pp. 227. ISBN 3895863718. $105.

Reviewed by Joshua Ross, SIL International

In this work, Li addresses the notion of the ‘topic chain’, a uniquely Chinese construct that figures prominently in the organization of discourse in the language. Utilizing the contrast with English, L illuminates and isolates the significant characteristics of topic chains, and aims to provide significant input into the teaching of Chinese to English mother-tongue speakers.

The volume is broadly split into two parts. The first, consisting of five chapters, is a linguistic analysis of the discourse organization of Chinese and the forms and function of topic chains. The second, which includes two chapters, considers the relevance to the teaching of Chinese as a second language.

After a brief introductory chapter, which gives a clear motivation and justification for topic chains to be understood and taught, Ch. 2, ‘Discourse analysis’, provides an introduction to discourse analysis and its key notions, such as topic, developed in later chapters. It, like many of the other chapters, gives many good references for background and historical reading and clear examples.

Ch. 3 introduces the concept of Chinese as a discourse-oriented language, which means it does not fit into the Indo-European grammatical models that are essentially sentence-based. Li then discusses the merits of Chinese as topic-prominent, compared to English as subject-prominent. The point is made that these terms belong to different levels of grammatical organization. The chapter concludes with discussion of the Chinese notion of ‘sentence’, and zero noun phrases.

The next three chapters discuss topic chains in increasing levels of detail. Ch. 4 gives a basic description of topic chains and explores the possibility of having multisentence, multiparagraph, and discontinuous topic chains, among others. Ch. 5 identifies ten patterns of topic-chain linkage, referred to as typical topic, cataphoric topic, patient-theme topic, patient-patient topic, theme-patient topic, preposed patient topic, presented topic, montage topics, overt double topics, and covert double topics. The chapter concludes with some statistical analysis of the usage patterns and some example combinations of topic-chain patterns. Ch. 6 delves deeper into some aspects of topic chains, with a particular focus on contrasting with English, to show that the idea of topic chains is significantly different from concepts found in English.

Part 2 concerns the (lack of) teaching of topic chains to students of Chinese as a second language. The crux of this part is how to help the language student who has all the grammar and vocabulary but whose writing just does not flow. The first chapter deals with the question, ultimately answered in the negative, of whether the universal topic-comment stage in language acquisition is the same as using topic chains. It also discusses why it is so difficult to produce topic chains unless they are explicitly taught. The second chapter then gives an outline of how to teach topic chains, as well as illustrations for each of the different topic-chain patterns. The book then concludes with a summary and further areas to explore.

This book will be of interest both to the linguist seeking a deeper understanding of the discourse nature of Chinese, and to teachers wanting to help their students speak Chinese like a native.

Nominal phrases from a Scandinavian perspective

Nominal phrases from a Scandinavian perspective. By Marit Julien. (Linguistik aktuell/Linguistics today 87.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. xv, 348. ISBN 9789027233516. $169 (Hb).

Reviewed by Asya Pereltsvaig, Stanford University

This volume is concerned with the syntax of nominal phrases in Scandinavian, which are renowned for showing a degree of variation that is quite remarkable given the close genetic relations among the Scandinavian linguistic varieties. The greatest variation is found in definite nominal phrases and in the realization of possessors. Other topics, such as predicate noun phrases, are considered as well. The study is set in the framework of the minimalist program. Overall, this book makes an excellent contribution to the study of noun phrases in Scandinavian languages and in natural language in general.

Ch. 1 surveys the functional projections found in a maximally expanded DP and presents the concept of D-identification, namely the idea that whenever the reference of the DP as a whole depends on D, the features of D must be made visible either in Spec-DP or in the D head itself. Ch. 1 also discusses indefinite noun phrases in Scandinavian, since the syntactic structure of these phrases deviates little from their basic structure.

Ch. 2 is concerned with definite DPs, which show a considerable degree of variation within Scandinavian, in particular when adjectives or numerals are present. According to the author’s analysis, for each variety of Scandinavian the syntax of definite DPs depends on the location of (overt) definiteness markers, which can be inserted in D or in a lower head, and on the attraction of various constituents to Spec-DP. Adjectival inflection, which is shown to have a great effect on the syntax of definite DPs, is also considered in this chapter.

Ch. 3 focuses on the distribution of definiteness markers in nominal phrases containing relative clauses. The analysis proposed here is a development of Richard Kayne’s idea that a relative clause is embedded under a DP. This proposal explains why the presence of a restrictive relative clause has consequences for the distribution of determiners, while the presence of a nonrestrictive relative clause does not.

Ch. 4 addresses demonstratives and strong quantifiers. Julien proposes that both types of elements are generated above the DP. The interaction between these elements and the D head, as well as the syntax of pronouns, is considered here as well.

Chs. 5 and 6 deal with noun phrases with possessors, with Ch. 5 focusing on postnominal possessors and Ch. 6 on prenominal ones. J argues that possessors of both types are generated in a Specifier position inside nP, which is the nominal counterpart of the more commonly used vP. The possessor phrases may surface either in their base position or in a higher Specifier position within the possessed noun phrase.

Ch. 7 deals with predicative nominal phrases and compares them to nominal phrases in argument position. It is shown that noun phrases that pass tests for predicative noun phrases in Scandinavian are not necessarily smaller than those that do not. J thus concludes that the contrast between predicative and argument noun phrases is purely semantic: nominal predicates have an intensional interpretation, whereas nominal arguments may be referential.

Annual review of cognitive linguistics, vol. 3

Annual review of cognitive linguistics, vol. 3. Ed. by Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. 354. ISBN 1588114279. $114.

Reviewed by Martin Hilpert, Rice University

In its third year, the Annual review of cognitive linguistics establishes itself as a forum for cognitive linguistic research from mostly European contributors. The volume contains fourteen papers, an interview with Leonard Talmy, and a book review. The papers cover several key areas of cognitive linguistics, such as blending, grounding, metaphor, and construction grammar.

Esam N. Khalil argues that the psychological notions figure and ground cannot be equated with textual foregrounding and backgrounding. He discusses examples from newspaper texts that show a mismatch of psychological and textual salience, such that background information is textually more prominent than new information. Guillaume Desagulier proposes a blending analysis of advice-giving wanna (as in You wanna be careful!), proposing that two constructions blend together into advice-giving wanna, which inherits formal and semantic characteristics of the two input constructions. Guy Achard-Bayle studies metamorphosis and metaphor in French literary works, finding that both operations involve a semantic change, but behave differently with respect to referentiality and pronominal anaphora at the structural level.

In a case study of Spanish epistemic modals, Bert Cornillie challenges Ronald Langacker’s definition of grounding predications, which excludes elements inflecting for tense. Spanish epistemic modals have tense inflections, but Cornillie argues that they nonetheless function as grounding predications. Paul Chilton uses vector geometry to model viewpoint shifts in discourse. He illustrates the model with spatial prepositions and applies it further to the verbs come and go, tense markers, and weak and strong epistemic modality. Francisco García Jurado and Carmen Maíz Arévalo study the English idiom can’t make head nor tail and its equivalent in Latin. They analyze it in terms of a conceptual metaphor in which coherence is understood as a whole body in its default arrangement.

Yoshihiko Ikegami discusses the grammaticalization of subjectivity in Japanese, which is evident in alternate ways of expressing psychological states. These predicates are construed from either an egocentric or a third-person perspective, suggesting different conceptions of the self. Georgina Cuadrado Esclapez and Heliane Jill Berge Legrand show how scientific thought is pervaded by conceptual metaphor. They investigate the language of particle physics, in which particles and forces are metaphorically endowed with human social characteristics. Stefan Th. Gries and Stefanie Wulff demonstrate the psychological reality of English constructions in L2 learners. Comparing the responses of German subjects in a sentence-completion task against corpus data, they find that the responses reflect the English constructions, not their German translational equivalents.

Javier Valenzuela, Joseph Hilferty, and Mar Garachana study a Spanish topicalization construction in which the topic is reduplicated. They propose that the construction has a hedging function that flags the topic as a nonprototypical category member. Line Brandt and Per Aage Brandt analyze the metaphorical expression This surgeon is a butcher and argue that hearers make sense of the expression through a sequence of conceptual steps that involves blending, metaphor, and pragmatic inference. Réka Benczes finds that creative noun-noun compounds such as shoebox store and sandwich generation can be fruitfully analyzed in terms of metaphor, metonymy, and blending. M. Teresa Calderón Quindós shows the applicability of cognitive linguistics to the analysis of literary works and presents analyses of poems by Seamus Heaney. Carmen Guarddon Anelo develops a polysemy network of the Spanish preposition desde, which has spatial, temporal, and intersubjective meanings that have come about through metaphorical extension.

Compliments and compliment responses: Grammatical structure and sequential organization

Compliments and compliment responses: Grammatical structure and sequential organization. By Andrea Golato. (Studies in discourse and grammar 15.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. xi, 248. ISBN 1588115992. $132 (Hb).

Reviewed by Aleksandar Čarapić, University of Belgrade

Considering that compliments and compliment responses (CRs) have been studied in twelve languages, including six varieties of English, Golato’s study Compliments and compliment responses, which adopts the methodology of conversation analysis (CA), aims to extend this work to German, analyzing the form and function of complimenting sequences in everyday spoken German. Several relevant questions have stimulated this research: What is the design of compliment turns (CTs) in German? Are they mechanical speech events as in other cultures? How is a compliment introduced linguistically into conversation and how does it emerge from the context? How do speakers refer to the object about which the compliment is made? How are compliments responded to in German? How do third parties react when someone else pays a compliment? Do compliments serve different interactional functions? What in the speech event determines the complimenting function of a turn?

The volume consists of nine chapters. Ch. 1, ‘Preliminaries’ (1–9), offers theoretical preliminaries, discusses sequence organization and the study of compliments, interaction, and grammar, and outlines the methodology and the organization of the volume. Ch. 2, ‘Methodology’ (11–25), begins with a description of the data-collection procedures that have been used in the past. It discusses (dis)advantages of the instruments of data collection (discourse completion tasks and questionnaires, role play, recall protocols, field observation, and recording of talk). The discussion additionally provides a rationale for the data-collection procedure and methodology. Ch. 3, ‘Giving compliments: The design of the first CT’ (27–84), focuses on constructions of CTs, emphasizing two elements: first, speakers who give compliments need to refer to the assessable so that the coparticipant can know what the compliment is about; and second, speakers need to address the positiveness of their compliment assertion both syntactically and semantically. Ch. 4, ‘Giving compliments: Sequential embedding and functions of the CTs’ (85–132), links the structural characteristics of compliments with overall sequence organization.

Ch. 5, ‘Compliments in multi-party interactions: Third parties providing second compliments’ (132–55), offers the analysis of various types of agreeing turns, helping us to understand the social act of complimenting and the functions of various response tokens (e.g. German response tokens and modal particles). Ch. 6, ‘Compliment responses (CRs)’ (167–99), patterned after a CA analysis of compliments in American English, concentrates on the preference organization of CRs in German and extends the analysis of CRs to the design of the CT, its function in discourse, and relations between the design of CR and function of the CT within a larger sequence. Ch. 7, ‘Concluding discussion’ (201–12), summarizes the previous findings, presents their broader implications, and discusses certain constraints of the volume, outlining possibilities for future research.

In addition to its valuable findings, subtle observations, and insightful comments, this volume is beautifully written. It is a remarkable example of scholarship and is an important contribution not only to the study of compliments and compliment responses, but also to the linguistic fields of interactional sociolinguistics, CA, (conversational) discourse analysis, contrastive analysis, pragmatics, and the like. As such, it unquestionably deserves a wide readership.

Study abroad and second language use: Constructing the self

Study abroad and second language use: Constructing the self. By Valerie Pellegrino Aveni. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. 188. ISBN 0521534941. $34.99.

Reviewed by Colette van Kerckvoorde, Simon’s Rock College

Researchers in the field of second language acquisition agree that study-abroad experiences are valuable in developing skills in a second language. When abroad, however, some students, those labeled ‘good learners’, exhibit more willingness to practice L2. This implies that the individual nature of the learner determines willingness to employ the target language, regardless of the situation. Such a view is not consistent with reality: language learners do not categorically use or refuse to use the second language. In this book, Aveni demonstrates that the perceived amount of threat to one’s self-image may determine whether one will seize an opportunity to practice or avoid speaking L2.

A begins with a description of the role of language in the construction and presentation of the self. Since we can only communicate our true self by means of language, self-presentation becomes significantly more difficult with imperfect language skills. Our natural drive to protect our public image is hampered, and it becomes very difficult to project an image that embodies our ideal. She then turns to reasons why learners are willing to take on risk abroad and speak L2 anyway.

Next, A describes four key areas in which the learners’ sense of security must be developed in order to be willing to speak: on the scale of social hierarchy, they must sustain a sense of status in a social interaction and of control over their environment. On the scale of social distance, not only is a sense of validation of their own self-worth required, but also physical and emotional safety.

A then explores additional factors that affect self-construction and, therefore, willingness to use L2. These may be related to the interlocutors, for example, their age, gender, and physical attractiveness, and also how they respond to the learner’s language skills. Crucial are the learner’s perception and interpretation of these. Learner-internal cues include the attitude toward the self, the ability to assess one’s own L2 skills, and the ability to predict the outcome of an interaction. All of these factors interact with each other.

Finally, A turns to strategies that L2 learners develop to deal with the problem of creating an acceptable and satisfactory self-image. The amount of time spent abroad is important: usually, the learners’ attitude toward their second-language skills improves, and they come to realize that occasional failed interaction is not all that bad. All learners exhibit a shift in focus to learner-internal cues and are therefore better equipped to use L2 in a nonthreatening way.

A uses grounded theory methodology, a method frequently used in social psychology, sociology, and medicine. She examines extensive narrative data from students who were enrolled in a study-abroad program in Russia, such as diary entries and interviews, in order to draw conclusions, and she quotes heavily from these data. This feature makes the book especially attractive and accessible for anyone who intends to participate or has participated in a study-abroad program. The voices are authentic, the students are very candid in their reports, and A provides the context and an interpretation. The book does not require any prior familiarity with the literature in second language acquisition.

How English works: A linguistic introduction

How English works: A linguistic introduction. By Anne Curzan and Michael Adams. New York: Pearson Education, 2006. Pp. 561. ISBN 0321121880. $78.67.

Reviewed by Jill Ward, Northeastern Illinois University

How English works sucks its readers in with questions friendly to both linguists and nonlinguists. ‘Why do some people say aks and not ask?’, ‘Who speaks a dialect?’, and ‘Why is colonel spelled the way it is?’ pepper the front cover with the promise of answers we forgot we wanted. The book is designed for English or education majors taking an introductory linguistics class, and focuses on connecting literature, education, and linguistics with everyday uses of English relevant to students’ lives.

The book consists of fourteen chapters. Chapters begin with vignettes regarding current issues of linguistic interest, such as ‘blogging’ or attitudes toward dialects in America. Following each vignette is background on the chapter topic and subtopics, followed by a chapter summary, suggested reading, and exercises. Sprinkled throughout the chapters are ‘special interest boxes’ prompting questions, thought, or connections regarding the larger topic. While the book’s pages do not feature color, charts, photos, diagrams, and maps all contribute to the visual appeal of this text.

Ch. 1, ‘A language like English’ (1–32), addresses the aspects of human language that make it unique. Ch. 2, ‘Language and authority’ (33–63), implores the reader to consider who is ‘in charge’ of language, questioning the authority of grammar books, dictionaries, contracts, and governments over and with language. Ch. 3, ‘English phonology’ (64–100), looks at sound systems, phonological adjustments by speakers, and language change, with a brief connection to spelling.

Ch. 4, ‘English morphology’ (101–28), examines inflection and derivation, changes in words through affixation, word formation, and slang. Ch. 5, ‘Syntax: The grammar of words’ (129–65), refreshes the student’s memory of parts of speech, introduces the notions of form and function, and helps with oft-confused words. Ch. 6, ‘Syntax: Phrases, clauses, and sentences’ (166–206), considers universal grammar, constituents and hierarchies, phrase structure rules and trees, and transformations.

Ch. 7, ‘Semantics’ (207–41), discusses how words mean, reference, prototype theory, and metaphor. Ch. 8, ‘Spoken discourse’ (242–80), looks at discourse analysis, speech acts, the cooperative principle, Grice’s maxims, and politeness. Ch. 9, ‘Stylistics’ (281–319), introduces systematicity, types of texts, and cohesion. Ch. 10, ‘Language acquisition’ (320–55), addresses universal grammar, first language acquisition, the critical age hypothesis, and aphasia.

Ch. 11, ‘Language variation’ (356–91), examines dialects, the studies of William Labov, and language contact. Ch. 12, ‘American dialects’ (392–432), tackles language politics and language variation. Ch. 13, ‘History of English: Old to Early Modern English’ (435–76), revisits language changes in English. Ch. 14, ‘History of English: Modern and future English’ (477–508), addresses social forces, media, and globalization of English, particularly in regard to World Englishes and English’s use in technology.

Additional features include a dialect map of American English; American English consonant and vowel charts; a brief timeline for the history of the English language; a list of symbols, linguistic conventions, and common abbreviations; a comprehensive index; and an extensive glossary.

Grammaticalization and English complex prepositions: A corpus-based study

Grammaticalization and English complex prepositions: A corpus-based study. By Sebastian Hoffmann. New York: Routledge, 2005. Pp. xiv, 214. ISBN 0415360498. $130 (Hb).

Reviewed by Olga Thomason, University of Georgia

This book, a revised version of Hoffmann’s Ph.D. thesis, presents a corpus study of the grammaticalization and use of complex prepositions in English. The corpus data ranges from the Middle Ages to present-day English use (the main focus of the study), drawn from the Gutenberg Corpus and the British National Corpus, as well as from the Oxford English Dictionary and the Middle English Dictionary ( This descriptive study involves diachronic and synchronic approaches and concentrates on thirty preposition-noun-preposition constructions. Multiple figures and tables support the analysis.

The volume contains nine chapters. The first two chapters include a detailed overview of the study and a thorough description of the database, justifying the choice of sources and describing their merits and shortcomings. H does a good job of introducing the material: he clearly explains the main concepts, refers readers to further readings, and often remarks on possible difficulties for the investigation (14, 16, 19, 21). This comprehensive introduction makes this book a must read for everyone who contemplates undertaking a corpus-based study of English.

Chs. 3 and 4 are similar in their format. They begin with a general overview of a certain theoretical problem (the grammatical status of complex prepositions, the grammaticalization), followed by the detailed explanation of H’s position on the subject supported by multiple examples. H is cautious in the choice of his methodology and retreats to manual check of the data if necessary (41). The author holds a functionalist view of language change and maintains that a complex preposition is in fact an indivisible unit. The discussion about complex prepositions as a category (26–31) would benefit if some works of classical and/or historical linguistics on the subject (where these prepositions are often called improper) were taken into account.

Chs. 5 and 6 present a description of diachronic development of complex prepositions and their synchronic status and distributional characteristics in present-day English, respectively. H analyzes thirty very frequent complex prepositions, dividing them into three groups based on the approximate date of their first attested usages as an indivisible unit. H reasonably limits his data to written occurrences due to the character of the earliest sources of the corpora. He repeatedly warns readers about possible distortions because of the insufficient amount of data from the early stages (61, 65, 66, 68, 69, etc.). He also shows that a complex preposition is not a rigid category and often uses quantitative and collocation data to demonstrate the gradualness of this phenomenon. Figures 5.1 (92) and 4.1 (55), showing the distribution of literal and complex prepositional occurrences, use various time periods ranging from forty-nine years to 150. The reason for such differences is not clear; furthermore, one may presume that it is this diversity that is accountable for the rapid rise in the frequency of a given preposition.

Chs. 7 and 8 focus on a detailed description of the most frequent complex preposition in terms of and the grammaticalization status of low-frequency preposition-noun-preposition constructions, respectively. In his discussion of the saliency of the frequency for grammaticalization, H makes valuable remarks on analogy, invariability, and relative frequency as crucial factors influencing the development of low-frequency constructions. Ch. 9, followed by extensive notes for all of the sections and a bibliography (188–208), not only summarizes the study, outlining its main findings, but also suggests directions for further research.

This research is an important contribution to the field of corpus linguistics. By competently combining synchronic and diachronic analysis of the data, H presents a valuable insight into the nature of complex prepositions and their relation to grammaticalization. This book will be a useful source for any linguist interested in complex prepositions and their development.

Thinking syntactically: A guide to argumentation and analysis

Thinking syntactically: A guide to argumentation and analysis. By Liliane Haegeman. (Blackwell textbooks in linguistics.) Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Pp. xii, 386. ISBN 9781405118538. $43.95.

Reviewed by Asya Pereltsvaig, Stanford University

This book is an introductory textbook in generative syntactic theory. Its declared aim is ‘not to present all the intricacies of one syntactic theory’, but ‘to reconstruct and to illustrate as explicitly as possible the thinking behind generative syntax’ (vi). In this way, the present volume differs from so many other syntactic textbooks on the market that present syntax as ‘a spectator sport’, instead of getting students themselves involved in syntactic thinking. Haegeman leads the students through the maze of building syntactic argumentation. Another aspect that distinguishes this book from many other introductions to generative syntax is the kinds of examples used. Instead of using artificial examples that may seem irrelevant to students of introductory syntax, H uses many attested examples, mostly from journalistic prose. Though the examples are generally drawn from English, data from other languages are presented as well. Each chapter is complete with numerous and detailed exercises. The book also contains a note to the teacher on how this textbook can be used alone or in a sequence of syntax courses.

Ch. 1 offers an introduction to scientific methodology and how it can be applied to the study of syntax. The main hypothesis introduced is that the meaning of a sentence is calculated on the basis of its component parts and their relations in the structure. Moreover, patterns of question formation in English and French are surveyed as well. Ch. 2 introduces the key tools for identifying the constituents of a sentence. It is shown that two of the main constituents of the sentence are its subject and its verb phrase, with the latter being considered a ‘projection’ of the verb. The concept of a lexical projection is introduced here as well. Ch. 3 shows how subject and verb phrase are related through a linking element, the inflection of the verb. Here H introduces the hypothesis that the inflection of the finite verb heads its own projection, and thereby introduces the concept of a functional projection.

Ch. 4 pursues the hypothesis that the meaning of the sentence is worked out on the basis of its component parts and their structural relations. From this hypothesis, H deduces that sentences must have more than one subject position. Hence, H introduces an additional hypothesis that the subject is first inserted inside the VP and then moved to the subject position outside the VP. The fifth and final chapter returns to question formation and shows how the system elaborated in the first four chapters of the book can be implemented to derive the word order in English questions. This chapter focuses on the importance of the movement operation for the formation of sentences.

Overall, this book presents a very refreshing way of teaching introductory syntax courses and fills the void in terms of introductory syntactic textbooks that focus on generative syntax, but do not presuppose much background knowledge of syntax at the outset.

Strategies in academic discourse

Strategies in academic discourse. Ed. by Elena Tognini-Bonelli and Gabriella del Lungo Camiciotti. (Studies in corpus linguistics 19.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. xi, 212. ISBN 9027222908. $126 (Hb).

Reviewed by Aleksandar Čarapić, University of Belgrade

The chapters in the collection Strategies in academic discourse were selected from contributions to the conference Evaluation in Academic Discourse held in June 2003 in Siena, Italy. The collection deals with theoretical and descriptive issues and techniques in the study of text and discourse.

In addition to the introduction written by Elena Tognini-Bonelli, the collection contains thirteen chapters. Ch. 1, ‘Conflict and consensus’ by Susan Hunston, focuses on the ‘conflict article’ as academic subgenre. Ch. 2, ‘Subjective or objective evaluation?’ by Julia Bamford, considers expressions of academics’ positions in argumentation, looking at the expressions of (un)certainty in lectures. Ch. 3, ‘Aspects of identification and position in intertextual reference in PhD theses’ by Paul Thompson, investigates the complexity of averral and attribution in a corpus of Ph.D. theses. Ch. 4, ‘Authorial presence in academic genres’ by Céline Poudat and Sylvain Loiseau, considers different styles of authorial presence in linguistics and philosophy, focusing particularly on personal pronouns in French. Ch. 5, ‘Pragmatic force in biology papers written by British and Japanese scientists’ by Akiko Okamura, analyzes types and tenses of verbs employing the pronoun we in British and Japanese scientists’ research articles in English. Ch. 6, ‘Evaluation and pragmatic markers’ by Karin Aijmer, focuses on the properties of indexicality and heteroglossia to explain the multifunctionality of pragmatic markers.

Ch. 7, ‘This seems somewhat counterintuitive, though …’ by Ute Römer, considers the ways in which book reviewers make negative evaluations, and examines systematic differences in reviews based on the gender of the reviewer. Ch. 8, ‘Is evaluation structure-bound?’ by Lorena Suárez-Tejerina, focuses on academic book reviews, considering the reviews in her corpus in toto, and approaches the question of how evaluation relates to the structure of the review. Ch. 9, ‘From corpus to register’ by Maria Freddi, deals with partial overlap between expressions of evaluation and argumentation in academic discourse. Ch. 10, ‘On the boundaries between evaluation and metadiscourse’ by Annelie Ädel, deals with the distinction between evaluation and metadiscourse. Ch. 11, ‘Language as a string of beads’ by John M. Sinclair, focuses on metadiscourse, which he considers a misleading term. Ch. 12, ‘Academic vocabulary in academic discourse’ by David Oakey, describes the application of the results of vocabulary research to a problem faced by nonnative English speaking students of economics in the UK. In Ch. 13, ‘Evaluation and its discontents’, Wolfgang Teubert completes the collection with a wide-ranging argument about the contrasts between language as a mental versus social phenomenon.

One of the strengths of Strategies in academic discourse is the number of spoken and written corpora used from discourses in agriculture, (applied) linguistics, biology, economics, literature, and philosophy. Though the quality among individual chapters varies, as a whole they successfully combine corpus linguistics, discourse and text linguistics, and genre-analytical and pragmatic frameworks to weave together a variety of studies of academic discourse into a coherent and solid collection. The book also provides insightful views and new directions in the study of not just academic but other discourses as well.