Annual review of South Asian languages and linguistics

Annual review of South Asian languages and linguistics, 2011. Ed. by Rajendra Singh and Ghanshyam Sharma. (Trends in linguistics: Studies and monographs 241.) Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. Pp. 241. ISBN 9783110270570. $140 (Hb).

Reviewed by Sanford B. Steever, New Canaan, Connecticut

The 2011 edition of the Annual review of South Asian languages and linguistics includes four general contributions, two special contributions, one regional report, and two extended book reviews. The two special contributions on Munda linguistics constitute the centerpiece of this book. John Peterson’s ‘Aspects of Kharia grammar’ (81–124) gives a lively and insightful overview of the role and reference grammar treatment of Kharia, a South Munda language, serving as an advertisement for the author’s 2011 book, A grammar of Kharia from Brill. Felix Rau’s ‘Grammatical voice in Gorum’ (125–58) provides an exemplary demonstration that Gorum possesses an opposition of active vs. middle voice (or effective vs. affective voice). This is a feat, given that many scholars have generally held that Gorum lacks the category of voice. Rau ably demonstrates what the morphophonemic exponents of these voice markers are, debunking their traditional analysis as markers of other categories. One can only hope that both scholars continue to bring the same clarity of analysis to further work on the too often overlooked Munda languages.

In the general contributions, Umberto Ansaldo’s ‘Metatypy in Sri Lanka Malay’ attempts to define metatypy as a typological category and discusses its role in the formation of the Sri Lanka Malay creole. Shishir Bhattacharja’s ‘Benglish verbs: A case of code-mixing in Bengali’ (17–34) brings to bear whole-word morphology on the analysis of Bangla verbs that consist of an English word and a Bangla verb (e.g. /EksiDenT kOra/ ‘have an accident’). Probal Dasgupta’s ‘Agreement and non-finite verbs in Bangla’ (35–48) considers the analysis of dependent clauses with non-finite verbs and an unexpressed subject in what he calls a biaxial approach. Ghanshyam Sharma’s ‘On the role of protases in conditional statements’ (49–78) uses Hindi data to support a definition of conditional propositions as crucially consisting of a string of the protasis and another element, such as Hindi to or English then. Against this model, however, the string does not constitute a constituent in any recognizable sense and his model makes the protasis a conjunct of the apodosis, not a subjunct. In any event, all four chapters are too short to make strong arguments for their positions. In addition, the transcription system for Bangla examples differs both between and within the relevant chapters; example ten on page 44 lacks the appropriate symbol (*).

Pigali Sailaja offers a regional report on linguistic activity in India (161–80), excerpting and cataloguing relevant articles from Indian journals from 2005 to the present. Finally, Shishir Bhattacharja reviews Linguistic traditions of Kashmir, edited by Mrinal Kaul and Ashok Aklujkar, while Ghanshyam Sharma reviews Problematizing language studies, a festschrift for Rama Kant Agnihotri, edited by S. Imtiaz Hasnain and Shreesh Chaudhary.