Monthly Archives: November 2011

Benefactives and malefactives

Benefactives and malefactives: Typological perspectives and case studies. Ed. by Fernando Zúñiga and Seppo Kittilä. (Typological studies in language 92.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. x, 440. ISBN 9789027206732. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, United Kingdom

This volume contains a collection of articles investigating the linguistic expressions of benefaction and malefaction, both typologically and in detailed language-specific studies. The introduction by the editors provides a thorough overview of the phenomena of benefaction and malefaction and discusses the different definitions of ‘beneficiary’ and ‘maleficiary’ offered by various researchers. For their purposes, the editors define the beneficiary as a ‘participant that is advantageously affected by an event without being its obligatory participant’ (2). They add that beneficiaries are typically animate, as ‘normally only animate participants are capable of making use of the benefit bestowed upon them’ (2).

The editors argue that a relatively loose definition, such as that given above, allows for a better descriptive crosslinguistic comparison. They conclude that beneficiaries are typically optional, unlike recipients, despite the fact that they are often coded alike; they are not agents but beneficiaries of the events, or primary targets of events that they benefit from. For this reason, they are often coded differently from patients and take oblique marking. Furthermore, the effect of the event is beneficial to beneficiaries, and this is a feature that separates them from maleficiaries and the ‘affectees’ (a cover term for both beneficiaries and maleficiaries), if we use the editors’ terminology. However, the editors note that some languages do not differentiate between benefaction and malefaction and treat them both as affectees of the event. Finally, the beneficiaries are usually animate, and this feature distinguishes them from several other non-core participants, such as instruments and locatives.

The introduction lists the formal mechanisms that are used to code beneficiaries. These are case morphology, with dative being a commonly used marker crosslinguistically; adpositions; serial verb constructions if a language possesses no case morphology; and applicativization, whereby a verb takes the applicative affix and the affectee, either beneficiary or maleficiary, takes the direct object morphology and position in a clause. In addition to these, when thinking about the semantics of the beneficiary coding, the said markers can be either specific and occur only in certain types of constructions, or they can be generic and occur in several types of construction expressing benefaction or even malefaction. The editors also discuss the polysemy of beneficiary marking and list the semantic roles that may receive identical marking across languages: recipient, possessor, maleficiary, experiencer, reason/(indirect) cause, goal, and causee.

This book contains seventeen articles, and the majority of them present studies on individual languages. However, four contributions address crosslinguistic issues, such as benefactive applicative periphrases in Eurasia, the semantics of benefactives, morpho-syntactic division of benefactives and malefactives, and the typology of purposive constructions and benefactives. The remaining articles investigate various types of benefactive constructions in a vast variety of languages, such as Salish, Toba, Mapdungun, English, Dutch, French, German, Finnish, Laz, Koalib, Gumer, Chamba-Daka, Tashelhiyt, Thai, Korean, and Japanese.

In sum, this book offers valuable insight into the questions dealing with benefaction and malefaction in languages around the world.

Language teaching

Language teaching: Linguistic theory in practice. By Melinda Whong. New York: Edinburgh University Press, 2011. Pp. vii, 213. ISBN 9780748636358. $32.

Reviewed by Anthony DeFazio, New York University

Few texts for language teachers show how theoretical linguistics can clarify language teaching practices. Vivian Cook’s work demonstrates how the complexities of language learning can be understood in the context of linguistic theory. Melinda Whong’s text, which attempts, mostly successfully, to do the same, can be added to this body of work. Most of the book is written within a mentalist/generative framework, although other approaches to language are also explored.

The book is divided into eight succinct chapters, each focusing on an aspect of language related to language teaching, and each chapter concludes with questions for analysis and reflection. The introductory chapter briefly focuses on language from generative, cognitive, functionalist perspectives, and concludes with a brief survey of language acquisition. Ch. 2 offers a fast-paced historical overview of language teaching and shows how approaches are grounded in history. This chapter is unique in its inclusion of a discussion of both structure dependency and the markedness differential hypothesis within the context of second-language teaching, topics not usually found in a chapter on pedagogy.

Ch. 3 looks at language as a biological property, with an emphasis on the Chomskyan tradition. Universal grammar (UG)-constrained development and the critical period hypothesis are discussed as is second language (L2) instruction. This chapter also references the gap between theoretical linguistics and classroom applications, and once again iterates that the aim of the text is to provide these connections.

The following two chapters explore language and communication (Ch. 4) and implications for teaching (Ch. 5). Ch. 4 touches on sociocultural, functional, and cognitive approaches to language in more detail and emphasizes that the essential differences between these approaches and the generative one is emphasis on meaning. The author also explains John Truscott and Michael Sharwood Smith’s modular on-line growth and use of language (MOGUL) framework in some detail. Ch. 5 takes as its starting point Bill Van Patten and Jessica Williams’s observations about what the theory of second language acquisition (SLA) needs to explain and unpacks each observation for the reader, drawing out implications for language teaching in the process. This chapter will prove especially useful to in- and pre-services teachers.

Ch. 6 focuses on methods and techniques often found in second-language classrooms. These include the natural approach, silent way, suggestopedia, and community language teaching. The chapter ends with a discussion on task-based teaching and the lexical approach as complementary communicative methods.

The author turns more directly toward practice in her last two chapters, presenting the reader with a lesson plan and explaining how it works from both a pedagogical and a theoretical perspective. The final chapter shows how the same topic can be used for different linguistic levels and age groups and explores how a teacher might adapt a lesson plan in this way, providing explanation for such adaptation. A helpful glossary ends the book.

Instructors looking for a text that is well-organized and that demonstrates how practice can be clarified by theory will welcome this text. Readers without any previous knowledge of formal linguistics may find the text daunting at first but the clear writing style, abundant examples, and strategic repetition of key ideas help the reader overcome any initial difficulties.

Translation and cognition

Translation and cognition. Ed. by Gregory M. Shreve and Erik Angelone. (American translators association scholarly monograph series 15.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. vi, 381. ISBN 9789027231918. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by José Mateo, University of Alicante

In 1997, Joseph H. Danks, Gregory M. Shreve, Stephen B. Fountain, and Michael K. McBeath published a volume devoted to the cognitive processes involved in translation and interpreting. In those years, translation studies had started to diversify and address new theoretical and methodological approaches, crossing the threshold of language and addressing new perspectives such as communication, interculturality, or, as was the case at hand, cognition.

Thirteen years later, Gregory M. Shreve and Erik Angelone have published this new work which, as they claim, reviews what seems to have been an explosion of cognition-based translation studies. Although certain lines of research that looked promising in 1997 have led to an impasse today, others which were incipient then are now thriving, as this book shows well. The book is divided into three parts: methodological innovation, research design and research issues, and integration of the translation process and cognitive sciences research.

The first part opens with Erik Angelone’s study on screen-recording and think-aloud protocols to understand translators’ problem-solving behaviors. Contributions by Barbara Dragsted; by Gregory M. Shreve, Elizabeth Lacruz, and Erik Angelone; and by Antin Fougner Rydning and Christian Lachaud approach the issue of keystroke-logging and eye-tracking from three different pespectives: (i) the way translators coordinate source language comprehension and target language production; (ii) the effects of syntactic difficulty on cognitive effort in sight translation; and (iii) the impact of context and translating skills on the comprehension and reformulation of polysemous words. Fabio Alves, Erich Steiner, Stella Neumann, Silvia Hansen-Schirra, and Adriana Pagano’s work integrates product-and process-based translation with the use of annotated translation corpora, keystroke-logging and eye-tracking, and retrospective verbalizations. Finally, Sharon OBrien investigates the use of eye-tracking in controlled language and readability applied to machine translation and computer-assisted translation tool design.

The second part of the book opens with Ricardo Muñoz Martín’s description of a functionalist, cognitive translatology framework, and a set of principles necessary for translation process research. Gyde Hansen offers a cautious view of the application of empirical models to research process and advocates for combining empirical science and the liberal arts methodologies to the different translation processes. Finally, Riitta Jääskeläinen approaches the issue of expertise in professional and amateur translators.

In the final part of the book, K. Anders Ericsson advocates the integration of cognitive science concepts into translation and interpretation research. Barbara Moser-Mercer focuses on the cognitive processes involved in the acquisition of interpreting expertise. Bruce J. Diamond and Gregory M. Shreve aim to integrate translation process research and recent neurological and physiological findings. Erik Angelone’s chapter on uncertainty management nurtures on the concept of metacognition originally used in previous studies of cognition and learning. The interdisciplinary approach of Maxim I. Stamenov, Alexander Gerganov, and Ivo D. Popivanov applies psychological priming techniques to the bilingual lexicons accessed in translation. The book closes with Sandra L. Halverson’s defense of the relationship between translation process research and advances in cognitive science.

Grimm language

Grimm language: Grammar, gender and genuineness in the fairy tales. By Orrin W. Robinson. (Linguistic approaches to literature 10.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. xi, 190. ISBN 9789027233448. $149 (Hb).

Reviewed by Stephen Laker, Kyushu University

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm’s Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Children’s and household tales) was first published in 1812 and went into its seventh and final edition in 1857. Over the years, the Brothers Grimm changed the number and selection of the tales, and those that remained often underwent substantial revisions. In this book, Orrin W. Robinson presents a linguist’s interpretation of the motivations behind some of the editorial choices performed by the Grimms.

Ch. 1 introduces the approach, aims, and limits of the book. Ch. 2 then gives some idea of how the language of the tales transformed over time by juxtaposing the first and seventh editions of a single tale, ‘Die sechs Schwäne (‘The six swans’). Clearly, the tales become much longer, and the reader gains an impression of the range of linguistic alterations that were made, some of which are explored in detail in later chapters.

Ch. 3 considers how the Grimms used dialect, usually snippets of dialect in the form of regional names and verses, to give the tales an extra air of German authenticity. Ch. 4 investigates how possession is expressed grammatically in the tales. With very few exceptions, the Grimms avoided the non-standard dative + possessive pronoun construction (e.g. dem Mann sein Haus ‘the man-DATIVE his house’) and the von ‘of’ possessive (e.g. das Haus von Hans ‘the house of Hans’), in favor of traditional genitive case marking. Ch. 5 looks at how characters in the tales address one another. R shows that the formal Sie-plural form, for the polite second-person singular, is rarely used; the Grimms clearly favored the older ihr form. Ch. 6 deals mainly with the use of the present and preterite subjunctive in earlier and later editions of the tales. Interestingly, several grammatical changes between the first and seventh editions echo opinions found in Jacob Grimm’s Deutsche Grammatik about what constitutes proper German grammar.

Chs. 7–11 consider lexical choices (e.g. nouns, adjectives, and pronouns) and how these relate to gender roles in the tales. R determines, for instance, that boys are more likely to be referred to by their real names than girls, and if girls do have a name, then their appearance is key (e.g. Schneewittchen ‘Snow White’, Rotkäppchen ‘Little Red Riding Hood’). Girls are more commonly described for their appearance, morals, and industry, while boys tend to be described in terms of sociability, size, and mental aptitude. Such choices probably reflect not only the attitudes of the Grimms, but also nineteenth-century German attitudes, about gender roles.

Grimms’ fairy tales are some of the most famous and influential works of world literature, and much scholarship has been devoted to the interpretation of their plots. R demonstrates that the German language in which they are written also offers considerable scope for interpretation, especially as a reflection of attitudes about language and society in nineteenth-century Germany.

Of minds and language

Of minds and language: A dialogue with Noam Chomsky in the Basque Country. Ed. by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Juan Uriagereka, and Pello Salaburu. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. vii, 459. ISBN 9780199544660. $60 (Hb).

Reviewed by Roberta D’AlessandroLeiden University

This book reports a special event taking place in the Basque Country in 2006, which saw Noam Chomsky as the interlocutor of several scholars from different disciplines discussing with him issues regarding language, mind, and the brain. The book is divided into four parts. Each chapter is authored by a leading scholar in linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, cognitive neuroscience, comparative cognitive psychology, or evolutionary biology, and includes a discussion at its end.

The book opens with an introduction by the editors, followed by Part 1, which offers a joint introduction to the themes treated in the book. These introductions are meant to serve also as a general reference for readers with varying backgrounds and are hence written in a non-technical fashion. In the first chapter, Noam Chomsky traces the history of biolinguistics and outlines the main questions that have interested generative linguists throughout the years. In the following chapter, Cedric Boeckx traces a parallel between language and other cognitive systems, attempting to reduce what is traditionally believed to be language-specific to more general cognitive factors. C. R. Gallistel follows, examining the parallel between human and animal cognition, and Marc D. Hauser discusses the ontological commitments that babies have prior to the maturation of language, which primates lack. Gabriel Dover then discusses the extent to which a biology of language can be pursued at all, and Donata Vercelli defends the view whereby language cannot be completely reduced to other cognitive functions. In the final chapter of Part 1, Christopher Cherniak discusses the optimization of brain wiring and non-genomic nativism.

Part 2 addresses the question, ‘What is language, that it may be part of biology?’. In his chapter, Wolfram Hinzen addresses the origin of human semantics, which James Higginbotham follows up with a discussion of the ‘two interfaces’: that between syntax and semantics and that between linguistic semantics and the world. Luigi Rizzi examines locality and movement in his chapter, and Angela D. Friederici shows how the brain differentiates hierarchical and probabilistic grammars. Part 2 concludes with a round table discussion between Cedric Boeckx, Janet Dean Fodor, Lila Gleitman, and Luigi Rizzi on language universals.

Part 3 is devoted to language acquisition. In the first chapter, Rochel Gelman discusses innate learning, which is complemented by Lila Gleitman’s chapter, ‘The learned component of language learning’. Janet Dean Fodor examines the inputs that can allow a learner to fix syntactic parameters, and Thomas G. Bever addresses the extended projection principle (EPP) as a problem for acquisition.

Part 4, ‘Open talks on open inquiries’, features a chapter by Marc D. Hauser on the illusion of biological variation, in which he claims that at different levels of granularity some core invariant mechanisms always emerge. Itziar Laka addresses the question of the content of universal grammar, while Núria Sebastián-Gallés wonders whether linguistic differences may be caused by perceptual difficulties. In the following chapter, Angela D. Friederici presents a thorough overview of what is known about language and the brain, and the book ends with a conclusion by Noam Chomsky. 

Grammar as processor

Grammar as processor: A distributed morphology account of spontaneous speech errors. By Roland Pfau. (Linguistik aktuell/linguistics today 137.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. xiii, 372. ISBN 9789027255204. $165 (Hb).

Reviewed by Jason D. Haugen, Oberlin College

In this monograph, Roland Pfau aims to test the psychological plausibility of distributed morphology (DM) by analyzing its theoretical architecture from a mentalistic perspective. P’s essential question is whether DM is amenable to integration with psycholinguistic models of language production, and he approaches the issue from a novel source of linguistic data: spontaneous speech errors in language use (primarily from German and English). P ultimately concludes that the DM model not only accounts for the speech error evidence but also makes correct predictions about possible and impossible speech errors—for example, the processing of morphosyntactic features (e.g. gender, number) playing a role in language production but categorial information (e.g. noun, verb, adjective) not.

A crucial element of DM that makes it compatible with multilevel processing models is the separation of morphosyntactic processes from morphophonological ones. The book begins with an introduction, a review of mentalistic approaches to grammar, and an extensive theoretical background discussion on psycholinguistic models and DM. P proceeds by addressing different speech error types along the time-course assumed in the models: ‘…from semantic planning and selection of items…(Chapter 4) via grammatical encoding and manipulation of morphosyntactic features (Chapter 5) towards morphological processes, Vocabulary insertion, and phonological readjustment (Chapter 6)’ (81).

With respect to semantic planning and selection (Ch. 4), P considers semantic substitutions, where a semantic competitor is inserted into a syntactic slot intended for a different root (e.g. Radiergummi ‘eraser’ ← Spitzer ‘pencil sharpener’), as well as semantic anticipations and perseverations, where a meaning-related concept is activated by a target and is inserted into another slot in a sentence (e.g. They even fly on the wingsleep on the wing). P concludes that such evidence requires a pre-syntactic conceptual level, where roots must be attached to some kind of conceptual content (in parallel with the lemma level in psycholinguistic production models), which contrasts with most DM research, which has maintained that root content is irrelevant to the syntax.

In Ch. 5, P convincingly makes the case that particular morphosyntactic features in language production are manipulable (as per DM), and as such they can be specifically implicated in speech errors. Spontaneous speech errors related to various types of mismatch in feature copying are examined (e.g. subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement). In general, errant triggers are usually more proximate (at deep structure or surface structure) than the actual targets, although long-distance (across clause boundaries) agreement errors also occur. Other types of errors relating to morphosyntactic features include slips (stranding features in their base position) and shifts (exchanges, perseverations, or anticipations of features).

Although he introduces and illustrates a descriptive four-way typology for accommodation types (phonological, morphophonological, morphological, and morphosyntactic), in Ch. 6 P contends that the notion of accommodation as a psycholinguistic process involving repair operations in speech production is theoretically superfluous. He proposes instead to account for morphology-related speech errors by way of an appeal to DM-based morphological operations such as feature copy, licensing, morpheme insertion, and phonological readjustment.

In sum, this book provides much food for thought worthy of careful digestion by linguists who desire psycholinguistic compatibility for their grammatical theories. It would be very interesting to see how competing morphological theories would account for P’s speech error data utilizing alternative theoretical machinery. I have little doubt that P’s thought-provoking work will be instigating very lively debates in the field.

Minimalist essays on Brazilian Portuguese syntax

Minimalist essays on Brazilian Portuguese syntax. Ed. by Jairo Nunes. (Linguistik aktuell/linguistics today 142.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. vi, 243. ISBN 9789027255259. $149 (Hb).

Reviewed by Roberta D’AlessandroLeiden University

This book is a collection of articles on some of the key properties of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) syntax within the minimalist framework. The book is comprised of two parts: Part 1, ‘Movement and empty category issues’, and Part 2, ‘Issues on the syntax-morphology interface’.

After a brief introduction by the editor, the book opens with Marcelo Ferreira’s chapter, ‘Null subjects and finite control in Brazilian Portuguese’. Ferreira examines the behavior of referential null subjects in BP, concluding that they behave like obligatory controlled PRO. He arrives at the conclusion that referential null subjects are to be considered as traces left by the (hyper)raising of the phrases originally merged in subject position. Null possessor constructions are the topic of the third chapter. In it, Simone Floripi and Jairo Nunes examine the dele construction, observing how dele behaves as an anaphor in some contexts but as a pronoun in others. This is due, according to the authors, to the fact that dele is an obligatorily controlled trace of movement to theta positions. When this movement is impeded (because of an island separating dele from its antecedent), dele behaves as a pronoun. Pronominalization is, however, a less economic alternative than movement.

In her chapter ‘Patterns of extraction out of factive islands in Brazilian Portuguese’, Marina R. A. Augusto shows that extraction can happen out of arguments and even adjuncts, depending on the nature of the complement and the presence or absence of a Top projection. In the following chapter, ‘Uniform raising analysis for standard and nonstandard relative clauses in Brazilian Portuguese’, Mary A. Kato and Jairo Nunes argue in favor of Richard Kayne’s derivational approach to relative clauses. The final chapter of this part of the book, by Jairo Nunes and Raquel S. Santos, proposes new diagnostics for the identification of empty categories based on stress shift.

Part 2 opens with a chapter on possessive-existential constructions with ter in BP, by Juanito Avelar, who postulates a reanalysis (albeit non-morphological) of this form as a fusion of estar and com. In the following chapter, Ana C. Bastos-Gee discusses vP/verb fronting, showing how it amounts to topicalization. She identifies three different types of topicalization: (i) topicalization of the infinitival verb only, (ii) topicalization of the infinitival verb with its specific internal argument, and (iii) topicalization of the infinitival with a generic internal argument. In Ch. 9, Jairo Nunes and Cristina Ximenes discuss apparent PP coordination, arguing that the insertion/copy of the second preposition is morphological, and is triggered by a parallelism requirement on coordinated structures. In the final chapter, Jairo Nunes and Cynthia Zocca investigate ellipsis resolution in the case of non-morphological identity between the antecedent and the elided phrase.

The first part of the book is more uniform in its subject matter, while the second touches on several different issues. Overall, the book is a must-have for anyone working on BP syntax.

Kabba folk tales and proverbs

Kabba folk tales and proverbs. Ed. by Rosmarie Moser. (LINCOM text collections 1.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2009. Pp. 574. ISBN 9783929075205. $114.35 (Hb).

Reviewed by Gian Claudio Batic, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’

This collection of folk tales is the natural complement to two preceding works published by the same author in 2004 and 2007: Kabba: A Nilo-Saharan language of the Central African Republic and (with Jean-Pierre Dingatoloum) Kabba-English-French dictionary, respectively, both published by LINCOM Europa.

This book is divided into five parts. The first four sections are devoted to the thirty-four Kabba tales collected by the author. In the first section, the stories are presented in the original language; the three following sections display French, English, and German translations, respectively. The final part of the book is comprised of a collection of eighty-one Kabba proverbs along with translations (in French, English, and German) and an explanatory/interpretative note.

Each tale is introduced by an illustration representing the main characters involved in the story. The name of the storyteller, as well as that of the translator (if any), is given below the title. The transcription of the Kabba version follows the orthography established by the author, with accent marks employed to mark low and high tones.

Rich in formulaic language, which works to establish a special connection between the storyteller and the listener, the thirty-four tales offer an important point of view upon the world, exemplifying human relationships from a culture-oriented perspective. Through metaphorical and symbolic conceptualization, these tales ‘imply acceptable norms of behaviour, cultural values, belief systems and acceptable relationships between people’ (vii).

The folk tales use animals to convey moral, educational, or social messages.. The employment of characters taken from the animal world is a crosslinguistic and well-known feature in African cultures and oral traditions. Common themes in the tales are easy to find, for example the struggle between strong (but naïve) and small (but clever) animals. Hausa oral literature, represented mostly by the tatsuniyoyi, is rich in animal characters depicting human weakness and strength: the tricky spider and the clever cockroach are constantly kept busy by their will to cheat and exploit stronger but ingenuous creatures, similar to the rat in the Kabba tale ‘The lion and the rat’ (19). These stories often involve a certain degree of magic and cruelty, with the explicit aim to warn against antisocial behaviors. It is the case of ‘A mother and her son’, a tale that targets the practice and notion of incest.

This book shows once more the author’s commitment in describing and documenting a minority language. The texts compiled here strengthen M’s previous grammatical and lexical descriptions by offering the scientific community a rich bulk of data.

Learning Japanese for real

Learning Japanese for real: A guide to grammar, use, and genres of the Nihongo world. By Senko K. Maynard. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011. Pp. xiii, 357. ISBN 9780824835408. $30.

Reviewed by Paisly Di Bianca, Northeastern Illinois University

This book ‘is written with English speakers in mind’ (xii) and is geared toward the learner who has at least an intermediate knowledge of the language, including the graphemes, grammar, and some vocabulary for comprehension of the examples. It serves as a reference manual that explains some of the particulars of Japanese grammar and provides tips for successful study of the language. Moreover, it includes numerous sociolinguistic and discourse examples that facilitate language competency and performance. M is a linguist and bilingual speaker of Japanese and English. Her knowledge and experience manifest well in a book that answers many of the questions a student of Japanese as a foreign language might have.

The book is divided into seven parts. In Part 1, ‘Preliminaries’, which comprises the first three chapters, M details her intentions in the book and includes a discussion on the history of Japan, its culture, and variations in the language. Part 2, ‘Sounds and scripts’, (Chs. 4 and 5), covers the sound and writing systems of Japanese. Part 3, ‘Words’, (Chs. 6 and 7), discusses the lexicon. Part 4, ‘Grammar’ (Chs. 8–11), covers grammar basics, including a section on emotive expressions. Part 5, ‘Use’ (Chs. 12–16), addresses discourse and sociolinguistics. Part 6, ‘Genres’ (Chs. 17 and18) includes real examples from manga (comic books/graphic novels), advertisements, magazines, and cell phone novels (a Japanese phenomenon), to illustrate the language topics discussed in the book. The inclusion of these genre sections make M’s book stand out because they are current, pragmatic, and meaningful. The final section, Part 7, ‘Learning Nihongo’ (Chs. 19 and 20), includes tips for improving language learning, a list of books on Japanese language learning, and information on select study abroad programs.

The book is geared toward American English speakers; the author often points out the differences between Japanese speakers and American speakers. For example, M explains that ‘in some parts of the United States it is common to…greet complete strangers in an elevator’, which is not customary in Japan (205), and points out that ‘Japanese speakers apologize far more frequently than Americans’ (212), but she does not give similar examples for other speakers of English.

The book also targets traditionally college-aged students. The resources provided in the final chapter are opportunities typically available to young people. This is not to say that the book would not be useful for the older learner of Japanese, but it is a point worth mentioning.

Overall, this book would be a useful tool for students of the Japanese language who are interested in developing their knowledge of the language as they move towards fluency.