Monthly Archives: April 2009

Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek. By Silvia Luraghi, Anna Pompei, and Stavros Skopeteas. Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2005. Pp. 101. ISBN 3895862398. $70.56.

Reviewed by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University

Ancient Greek is a book written for linguists who are not familiar with the language. The authors write that this text should serve as a ‘sort of guide to steer non-specialists through the complexities of specialistic literature’ (3). The book provides a good review for classicists who wants to reacquaint themselves with the varied, complex nature of Ancient Greek. It is also useful for the nonclassicist scholar interested in tackling the many Ancient Greek grammars that abound in the field of classics. The text has a preface, a list of abbreviations, five chapters, and a bibliography.

‘Introductory remarks’ (7–12) includes a succinct report on the genetic affiliation of Ancient Greek and its language history. It comments on the geographical and social element and continues to outline dialectical variations, forms of writing, and documentation. Ch. 1, ‘Phonology’ (13–23), covers segments (syllabics, nonsyllabics (consonants, glides)), accents (general properties, rules for lexical accents, clitics), phonotactics (syllables, diphthongs, geminates, phonotactic constraints), and phonological processes. Ch. 2, ‘Morphological processes’ (23–26), deals with affixation, reduplication, apophony, position of accent, and word formation (affixation and compounds). Ch. 3, ‘Parts of speech and grammatical categories: Morphosyntax’ (27– 71), includes sections on nouns (number, gender, definiteness, case, possession), pronouns (personal pronouns, demonstratives, relative pronouns, reflexives, interrogative and indefinite pronouns), adjectives (general properties, comparison), numerals, adverbs, adpositions, verbs (person and number, tense and aspect, mood, nonfinite verb forms, voice), negation, conjunctions, and particles. The last chapter, ‘Syntax’ (71–97), assesses such sentence types as statements, wishes, questions, and commands. It also focuses on the word order, and the subject, object, and predicate components of the simple sentence structure. The authors end the chapter with sections on interclausal coordination, subordination, relative clauses, adverbial clauses, complement clauses, infinitives, and participles.

Ancient Greek is well written and concise. In its 97 pages it supplies a thorough introduction (or review) of Ancient Greek and most of its rules of grammar, syntax, and morphology.

Language and society in Japan.

Language and society in Japan. By Nanette Gottlieb. (Contemporary Japanese society.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. ix, 169. ISBN 0521532841. $27.99.

Reviewed by Lea Cyrus, University of Münster

This book explores from various angles the ways in which language and identity in Japan are intertwined. Its main focus is on present-day Japan, but historical developments are always taken into account to explain the present situation.

In the first chapter (1–17), Gottlieb explores the notion of ‘Japanese language’, taking as her starting point the simplistic but widely held Nihonjinron view that Japanese is a homogeneous, unique, and unchanging entity, and also impossible to grasp for nonnatives. She goes on to describe the development of standard Japanese since the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603–1867) and then briefly touches on various diversifying factors, such as dialects, influences by other languages, and differences in male and female speech.

Ch. 2 (18–38) deals with language diversity in Japan. G discusses minority languages, such as Ainu, Okinawan, Korean, and Chinese, and describes the various roles they have played in constructing a Japanese identity. The Japanese attitude to foreign language studies, in particular with respect to English, is also mentioned.

Ch. 3 (39–54) identifies ideological connections between language and national identity in Japan since the Meiji Restoration. The Japanese writing system has played a crucial role in this respect: attempts at creating a standardized form based on contemporary spoken language rather than on classical Chinese were seen either as an assault on national values or as a necessity for and a symbol of a modernized Japan.

Ch. 4 (55–77) focuses on various language policy issues. With respect to Japanese itself, these were mostly concerned with script reforms—the list of 1,945 ‘Characters of general use’ (Jōyō Kanji) being one major result—and recently also with the issue of English loanwords. Furthermore, language policies regarding minority languages like indigenous Ainu, the teaching of English in Japan, and the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language are also presented.

In Ch. 5 (78–99), G first introduces the Japanese writing system with its three scripts (kanji, hiragana, and katakana) and then discusses the way kanji are taught at schools. This includes a list of those kanji that are learned during the six years of elementary school. The remainder of this chapter deals with issues like dyslexia and literacy, and also with reading habits in Japan.

Ch. 6 (100–119) covers discriminatory language and linguistic stereotyping directed at various groups of people, such as women, people with mental or physical disabilities, and ethnic minorities (e.g. Koreans and Ainu, or, very particular to Japan, the so-called burakumin, that is, descendants of people with occupations that used to be associated with impurity).

Ch. 7 (120–36) assesses the social and cultural consequences of the development of character-capable software, such as the rise of a Japanese presence on the internet. In addition, the new technology has brought about changes in kanji usage: there has been an increase in the use of complex characters in printed texts, while at the same time the ability to write even the simpler characters by hand has decreased.

The last chapter (137–45) provides a short summary and gives an outlook by investigating whether Japanese has the potential to become a global language.

This book is clearly written and does not assume any previous knowledge of Japanese. It will be of benefit for linguists and sociologists alike, or indeed for anyone interested in Japan and Japanese society.

A natural history of Latin: The story of the world’s most successful language.

A natural history of Latin: The story of the world’s most successful language. By Tore Janson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp. 305. ISBN 0199214050. $15.95.

Reviewed by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University

A natural history of Latin attempts to give an ‘overview’ and an ‘appetizer’ (ix) of the history of Latin. Janson supplies this overview in two parts: Part 1 deals with Latin and the Romans in antiquity and Part 2 with the postclassical language and its users. This division allows for an examination of the different roles that Latin played in antiquity and in Europe after the influence and importance of Rome had waned. It should be noted that this 2004 English edition (translated by Merethe Damsgård Sørenson and Nigel Vincent) is not just a translation of the 2002 Swedish version, but also includes revisions, adaptations, and some completely new sections. Sørenson and Vincent themselves authored the sections on ‘Latin and German’ and ‘The pronunciation of Latin in England’ (x).

The book is divided into two major and two secondary parts and also includes a foreword, a list of suggested readings, and an index. Part 1, ‘Latin and the Romans’ (3–82), begins with an attempt to provide a first acquaintance with the lingua latina by discussing cognates and their adjectival modifiers. There is also a brief presentation on Latin word order, orthography, and pronunciation. This section then moves on to a summary of the 2,700-year history of the development of the language that includes geographical and archaeological data. Among topics included in this section are ‘How Latin became Latin’, ‘How bad were the Romans?’, ‘The meeting with Greece’, ‘The age of revolutions’, ‘Speeches, politics, and trials’, ‘Cicero and rhetoric’, ‘Name and family’, ‘Poetry and poets’, ‘Philosophy: Lucretius, Cicero, Seneca’, ‘Everyday language’, and ‘Christianity: From dangerous sect to state religion’.

Part 2, ‘Latin and Europe’ (85–176), covers the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west and then proceeds to track the changes (political, linguistic, etc.) that led from standard Latin to the Romance languages. J discusses a variety of topics including, for example, work done by missionaries, the use of Latin in Britain, Latin in the schools, the importance of books and scribes to the advancement of the language, postclassical poetry, Abelard and Héloïse, the Renaissance, the sciences (medicine, physics, chemistry), alchemy, witchcraft, the works by J. K. Rowling, loanwords and neologisms, Latin and German, Latin and French, and Latin and English.

Part 3, ‘About the grammar’ (177–215), does a thorough but brief job of describing the essentials of Latin grammar: pronunciation, stress, sentence structure, verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, gerunds, and gerundives. Plenty of morphological charts are included. Part 4, ‘Basic vocabulary’ (217–69), is a listing of all of the Latin words that occur in the text and words that have ‘left frequent traces in the modern languages’ (218). An added bonus to this list is the placement of stress accents that approximate those of classical Latin. Part 5, ‘Common phrases and expressions’ (271–96), consists of some 500 Latin phrases, expressions, and quotations with translations. The reader can find phrases and sayings ranging from such well-known ones as carpe diem (Horace) and cui bono? (Cicero) to such lesser-known ones as ad maiorem Dei gloriam (the motto of the Society of Jesus) and nemo me lacessit impune (the national motto of Scotland).

All in all, this brief introduction delivers on its promise to serve as an overview and to whet the appetite for future interest in the Latin language. J covers quite a bit of information in the 305 pages of text.

Textual patterns: Key words and corpus analysis in language education.

Textual patterns: Key words and corpus analysis in language education. By Mike Scott and Christopher Tribble. (Studies in corpus linguistics 22.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. x, 203. ISBN 9027222940. $39.95.

Reviewed by Aleksandar Čarapić, University of Belgrade

Mike Scott and Christopher Tribble’s Textual patterns: Key words and corpus analysis in language education aims to familiarize the audience with corpus resources, theoretical frameworks, and analytical tools that are highly relevant for language teachers and their educators to show how key-word (KW) analysis and the systematic study of lexis and genre can model the groundwork for a corpus-informed approach to language teaching.

The volume consists of ten chapters divided into two parts. Part 1 (3–88) by S is more theory-oriented; Part 2 (91–193) by T demonstrates practical application to a group of diverse areas of knowledge. Ch. 1, ‘Texts in language study and language education’, focuses on features of corpus-based analysis highlighting four different sources for corpus-oriented researchers: the text, the language, the culture, and the brain. Providing an explanation of word lists, Ch. 2, ‘Word-lists: Approaching texts’, shows that such lists obey power laws; it further deals with the transformation of a text into a word list, and the selection of words that will figure in it. Discussing collocations, colligations, and semantic prosody, Ch. 3, ‘Concordances: The immediate context’, explores concordancing and the nature of cooccurrence. Starting with the nature of keyness and its dependence on repetition, Ch. 4, ‘Key words in individual texts: Aboutness and style’, aims to establish a method for identifying KWs, and Ch. 5, ‘Key words and genres’, focuses on ‘“association” (the contextual relationship between words that are key in the same text)’ (72) to determine formal patterns of linkage and to provide analysis of such patterns as obtained not only within texts, but between them, too.

Demonstrating how an analysis of small sets of texts with similar content helps teachers and students understand the contrasting linguistic choices made by speakers and writers in the process of text production, Ch. 6, ‘General English language teaching’, begins with the grammatical and lexical differences between spoken and written language. Ch. 7, ‘Business and professional communication’, shows how KW analysis can identify words that are relevant for discourse moves ‘critical to the management of writer/reader relationships in professional correspondence’ (103). Ch. 8, ‘English for academic purposes’, focuses on clusters (bundles, N-grams), showing how they can be used to examine contrast between expert and apprentice production in academic writing. Ch. 9, ‘What counts in current journalism’, deals with KW analysis in a diachronic perspective using a collection of texts from the Guardian Weekly. Finally, Ch. 10, ‘Counting things in text you can’t count on’, uses Samuel Beckett’s Texts for nothing to show the ways in which tools that are used in the analysis of large collections of texts can be applied to an analysis of an extremely short story.

This book reveals an extremely interesting concept of the quantitative and qualitative interface of the study of lexis in text. Clearly and convincingly written, it will be highly valued by both beginners and experts whose interests lie in the lexical relations within texts and genres from various linguistic perspectives of applied linguistics, computational linguistics, corpus linguistics, pragmatics, semantics, text and discourse linguistics, and so on.

Artificial descendants of Latin.

Artificial descendants of Latin. By Alan Libert. Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2004. Pp. 140. ISBN 3895868183. $76.16.

Reviewed by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University

Artificial descendants of Latin is a survey of the multitude of languages that have been created using elements from Latin. Libert’s book includes a preface, a list of abbreviations, and six chapters; there is also a short bibliography on printed and internet resources. In Ch. 1, ‘Introduction’ (1–8), L briefly presents the ALBLs (artificial languages based on Latin) that he covers in the text: Carpophorophilus’s language, Kosmos, Latino Moderne, Latino sine Flexione, Latinulus, Linguum Islianum, Mundelingva, Myrana and Communia, Nov Latin, Reform-Latein, SIMP-LATINA (SPL), Universal-Latein, Uropa, Weltsprache (Eichhorn), and Weltsprache (Volk and Fuchs). These languages are known as a posteriori since they are mainly ‘based on one or more natural languages’ (1) and are, of course, different from the natural descendants, the Romance languages. The ALBLs are consciously created and based on Latin.

The initial presentation of each language in Ch. 1 follows a somewhat set paradigm: year presented, medium used for presentation, author, extent of development of language, and a few secondary scholarly references to the language. For example, Carpophorophilus’s language was first presented in 1732 in vol. 15 of the Deutsche Acta Eruditorum; the author is unknown; it is not a completely developed language; and reference is made to Histoire de la langue universelle published in 1907 by Couturat and Leau, and Drezen’s Historio de la mondolingvo published in 1967. Another example is Latino Moderne, which was created by David Stark in 1987 or 1994; is available only on the World Wide Web (references are made to Stark’s URLs available on the internet); and no mention is made of the extent of development, except to say that a grammatical summary, lessons, and dialogues of the language exist.

Ch. 2, ‘Phonetics’ (9–20), is divided into subchapters on sound inventories and orthography, suprasegmentals (stress and intonations), and phonotactics. Ch. 3, ‘Lexicon’ (21–25), focuses on the Latin noun forms that the ALBLs borrow, their modifications, and terms for modern concepts. Ch. 4, ‘Morphology’ (26–116), is divided into subchapters on nouns (number, gender, definiteness and articles, case, and nominal derivational morphology), pronouns (personal pronouns and possessive pronouns, adjectives, demonstrative pronouns and adjectives, reflexive and reciprocal pronouns, interrogatives, relatives, indefinitives, and quantifiers), numerals (cardinal, ordinal, and other types), adjectives (agreement on making adjectives, comparison of adjectives), adverbs, verbs (person/number agreement, tense and aspect, mood, infinitives, participles, gerunds, gerundives, supines, voice, and irregular verbs), prepositions, conjunctions, participles, and interjections. Ch. 5, ‘Syntax’ (117–35), discusses word order in several subchapters. The first is ‘Word order in the sentence’, in which L comments on Latino Moderne (subject–verb–direct object), Latino sine Flexione (flexible word order), Latinulus (normally subject–verb–direct object), SPL (usually subject–verb–direct object–indirect object), and Uropa (subject–verb–direct object is most common). The other languages are basically of the subject–verb–direct object category. The other subchapters cover ‘Word order in the noun phrase’, ‘Binding and the use of reflexive pronouns’, ‘Pro-drop’, and ‘Absolute constructions’. Ch. 6, ‘Semantics’ (136–38), briefly covers ambiguity and homonymy, synonymy, idioms, and generics.

Although brief, Artificial descendants of Latin is an excellent introduction to an interesting facet of linguistic research, and readers will be pleased with it.

The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language.

The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language. 2nd edn. By David Crystal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Pp. 499. ISBN 0521530334. $35.

Reviewed by R. A. Cloutier, University of Amsterdam

Divided into six parts that are further subdivided into chapters and subsections, this revised volume by David Crystal offers a colorful and informative overview of various aspects of the English language. The texts on each topic are short but informative, and almost every page is punctuated with various tidbits of information contained in boxes of varying colors. Turning to a random page, the reader will surely find something interesting to read. A summary of the various parts and chapters gives a good idea of the breadth of the book.

Part 1 gives an overview of the history of English, from its continental Germanic origins (Ch. 2) to the various stages of its development—Old English (Ch. 3), Middle English (Ch. 4), Early Modern English (Ch. 5), and Modern English (Ch. 6)—and continuing on to the status and the varieties of English the world over (Ch. 7). Part 2 informs the reader on various aspects of English vocabulary: ‘The nature of the lexicon’ (Ch. 8), native and foreign vocabulary items and various other sources of new words in ‘The sources of the lexicon’ (Ch. 9), ‘Etymology’ (Ch. 10), ‘The structure of the lexicon’ (Ch. 11), and ‘Lexical dimensions’ (Ch. 12), discussing other facets of the lexicon such as jargon, doublespeak, slang, archaisms, political correctness, and so on. Part 3 discusses various aspects of English grammar: an introduction to the nature of grammar, knowing about versus knowing grammar, prescriptivism, and the like (‘Grammatical mythology’, Ch. 13); different features of morphology (‘The structure of words’, Ch. 14); parts of speech (‘Word classes’, Ch. 15); and word order (‘The structure of sentence’, Ch. 16).

Part 4 treats the sound system of English (Ch. 17) and the writing system (Ch. 18). Part 5 concerns the use of English: varieties of discourse (Ch. 19) and variation on a regional (Ch. 20), social (Ch. 21), personal (Ch. 22), and electronic (Ch. 23) scale. Part 6 concludes the volume by enlightening the reader on aspects of learning about and learning English: Ch. 24 deals with learning English as a mother tongue and Ch. 25 with new ways of studying English.

The volume includes various helpful appendices: a glossary for those who may be less familiar with various linguistic terms; a list of special symbols and abbreviations used throughout the book, including phonetic symbols; a list of references; general suggestions for further reading, as well as suggestions corresponding to the various parts of the book; and indices of linguistic items, authors and personalities, and topics. As claimed on the back cover, this book is aimed at ‘a new generation of language-lovers and of teacher, students and professional English-users concerned with their own linguistic legacy’.

UG and external systems: Language, brain and computation.

UG and external systems: Language, brain and computation. Ed. by Anna Maria Di Sciullo. (Linguistik aktuell/Linguistics today 75.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. xviii, 395. ISBN 1588116239. $182 (Hb).

Reviewed by Roberta D’Alessandro, University of Cambridge

This volume is a collection of eighteen essays on the interaction of the grammar with external systems, the conceptual-intentional and the sensorimotor, in the sense of Chomsky 1995, 2000, 2001.

Anna Maria Di Sciullo introduces the essays in the book, which are organized into three main parts: ‘Language’, ‘Brain’, and ‘Computation’. In Part 1, ‘Language’, Daniela Isac, in ‘Depictives’, addresses the issue of object and subject depictive sentences. In ‘On two issues related to the clitic clusters in Romance languages’, Stanca Somesfalean explores the differences between clitic clusters in Romance languages. Edit Jakab, in ‘On the question of (non)-agreement in the uses of Russian imperatives’, presents an explanation for the different types of Russian imperatives, arguing that they are due to configurational asymmetries. In ‘Computational puzzles of conditional clause preposing’, Nicola Munaro explores the ordering restrictions in protasis and apodosis structures. ‘Clefts and tense asymmetries’ by Manuela Ambar is dedicated to the analysis of tense in Portuguese clefts. The last chapter of this section, ‘Generating configurational asymmetries in prosodic phonology’ by Evan W. Mellander, examines some asymmetries that are found crosslinguistically in prosodic entities.

Part 2, ‘Brain’, starts with a chapter by Thomas Roeper and William Snyder on ‘Language learnability and the forms of recursion’, where the authors argue that language learners have as a major task that of identifying recursive grammatical processes. Then, Sharon Armon-Lotem and Idit Avram examine ‘The autonomous contribution of syntax and pragmatics to the acquisition of the Hebrew definite article’. Helen Goodluck addresses the problem of ‘D(iscourse)-linking and question formation’ by presenting comprehension studies in children and Broca’s aphasics. Ronnie B. Wilbur presents ‘Evidence from ASL (American Sign Language) and ÖGS (Austrian Sign Language) for asymmetries in UG’. Ning Pan and William Snyder examine the ‘Acquisition of phonological categories’ by presenting a case study of early child Dutch, while on the prosody front, Matt Bauer presents two experiments on ‘Prosodic cues during online processing of speech: Evidence from stress shift in American English’.

In Part 3, ‘Computation’, Anna Maria Di Sciullo and Sandiway Fong describe a bottom-up parser for a theory of morphological selection in ‘Morpho-syntax parsing’. In ‘A minimalist implementation of Hale-Keyser incorporation theory’, Sourabh Niyogi and Robert C. Berwick outline an implemented parser with lexicon grounded on the incorporation theory of Hale and Keyser (1993, 1998). ‘Minimalist languages and the correct prefix property’, by Henk Harkema, describes a top-down recognition method for languages generated by minimalist grammars. Sandiway Fong examines issues in ‘Computation with probes and goals’ from a parsing perspective. In ‘Deep & shallow linguistically based parsing: Parameterizing ambiguity in a hybrid parser’, Rodolfo Delmonte presents an approach to natural language processing defined as hybrid. The last chapter, ‘Towards a quantitative theory of variability’, by Philippe Blache, presents a framework within which it is possible to express relations between different components of grammar.

This book is a mine of information, and as such it constitutes a valid reference for anybody working on language, brain, and computation. It is, however, not suitable for nonspecialists.

Secondary stress in English words.

Secondary stress in English words. By Nóra Wenszky. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2004. Pp. 248. ISBN 963058039X. $29.

Reviewed by Karen Steffen Chung, National Taiwan University

This is a highly detailed study on one specific topic: how to predict secondary stress in any given English word. In Part 1, Wenszky offers a survey of previous studies on the subject, discussing the works of Mark Liberman and Alan Prince (18–28), Elizabeth Selkirk (29–36), Erik Fudge (37–39), Jean-Roger Vergnaud and Morris Halle (40–46), Luigi Burzio (47–53), and Halle (54–59). Based on three test words—academician, dissimilarity, and emanatory—W concludes that Burzio’s theory (Principles of English stress, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) can best account for the most patterns of English secondary stress, building upon this theory in the rest of her work.

In Part 2, ‘Pre-tonic secondary stress’, W notes that she recognizes only two levels of stress, primary and secondary (not tertiary), and unstressed syllables. She covers such topics as syllable weight and alternating stress, adjacent stresses, stress preservation and affixation, and prefixes and classical compounds.

Part 3 addresses ‘Post-tonic secondary stress’, which occurs mainly in suffixed words (e.g. propagate). She devotes a chapter each to the special cases of words ending with -ative and -atory, noting differences between standard British and American English.

W summarizes her work and presents her findings in Part 4, the main conclusion being that, after testing it on a corpus of almost 1,000 words, she finds Burzio’s (1994) framework, with the addition of Fudge’s classification of prefixes and compound initials (English word-stress, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1984), to be ‘an adequate device for describing stress patterns of English’.

For all the minute details of her study, W does not clearly define exactly what secondary stress is. Is stress, as Ladefoged suggests (A course in phonetics, 5th edn., Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006, pp. 111–14), a binary feature that is either there or not, with variations in level being attributable to intonational prosody? Is there a tertiary or further levels of stress? Or do stress values fall along a relative rather than absolute scale, dependent on the overall structure and prosody of the entire utterance (my personal belief)? W leaves many issues open for further study.

The printing quality and no-frills layout of this volume are reasonably good, though the pages tend to fall out after a period of use. No major typos were spotted. The book lacks an index, a minor inconvenience to the reader, and the bibliography is surprisingly just a page and a half long.

W has produced a solid dissertation, but in its present form it is not very accessible to even a specialist, let alone a general reader. Even if one tries very hard to follow the fine detail presented in this work, one soon gets bogged down and is unable to see the forest for the serrations of the leaves. If W were to revise her work, I would suggest keeping the survey material to an absolute minimum and concentrating instead on offering only the best answers to the stated research questions in a more user-friendly format, rather than documenting all the wrong paths tried. This would constitute a worthy and much more accessible contribution to both theoretical and applied linguistics.

Black doves speak: Herodotus and the languages of Barbarians.

Black doves speak: Herodotus and the languages of Barbarians. By Rosaria Vignolo Munson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005. Pp. 121. ISBN 0674017900. $14.95.

Reviewed by Edmund P. Cueva, Xavier University

Black doves speak: Herodotus and the languages of Barbarians asks the central question, ‘Does the role Herodotus attributes to language reinforce or undermine the authoritative Greek-barbarian antithesis of contemporary thought?’ (3). Consequently, Munson aims to examine the numerous instances in Herodotus’s Histories where issues of language provide the historian with ‘special opportunities to instruct his audiences’ (5). These opportunities, in sum, demonstrate that to Herodotus, non-Greek cultures were similarly proficient in assorted areas. In addition, M suggests in her introductory chapter that the language differences did not serve as impediments to understanding non-Greek peoples, but rather allowed for greater analyses that in turn improved not only the historian’s but also his readers’ knowledge about other cultures, and, more importantly, enhanced the knowledge of their own Greek culture. M’s volume includes an introduction, four chapters, a bibliography, an index of passages, and a general index.

Ch. 1, ‘Greek speakers’ (7–18), focuses on Herodotus’s conceptions about the Greek linguistic community and its relationship to Pelasgian, barbarians, and other languages. M places emphasis on diachronic and synchronic differentiations and their use in determining Greek and non-Greek ethnicities and the distinctions between barbaroi and xenoi. In Ch. 2, ‘The ethnographer and foreign languages’ (19–29), M justifies Herodotus’s venture into language as a legitimate area of ethnographic and anthropological study; she writes, ‘Herodotus’ recurring reminders of a people’s different or special speech confirms that language constitutes a branch of the ethnographer’s study of nomoi, diaita, and ēthea’ (25). Indeed, the linguistic heteroglossia of the text endows the historian with a multilingual character; this is not to say that Herodotus is a polyglot, but rather he is comfortable with the major languages included in the history and attentive to the importance of these languages in constructing his narrative.

Ch. 3, ‘Herodotus Hermēneus’ (30–66), assembles passages that serve as metanarrative and metalinguistic glosses that appear in the ethnographic descriptions and historical section of the text. These glosses are translations that both give ‘a means of access to a distant environment’ and ‘emphasize … the gap between “here” and “over there” ’ (32). The significance of these glosses ‘indicate[s] that different languages are equivalent in worth and meaning, so that the narrator can make an unfamiliar world more familiar through translation’ (51). The final chapter, ‘The meaning of language difference’ (67–83), reviews passages from the history that have language as their centers of attention. The conclusion from this review is that for Herodotus, language does not make a difference.

This concise examination of Herodotus’s text is intriguing and should serve as a catalyst for future scholarly discussion and research. It should be noted that there are several errors in the Greek print, and in the bibliography and corresponding references in the footnotes.

Language, cohesion and form.

Language, cohesion and form. By Margaret Masterman, ed. by Yorick Wilks. (Studies in natural language processing.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. x, 312. ISBN 0521454891. $101 (Hb).

Reviewed by Aleksandar Čarapić, University of Belgrade

Language, cohesion and form brings together some of the most influential papers by Margaret Masterman (1910–1986), a pioneer in the field of computational linguistics and the founder of the Cambridge Language Research Unit. According to the editor, Yorick Wilks, the collection ‘is a posthumous tribute to Margaret Masterman’, which aims to represent ‘the influence of her ideas and life on the development of processing of language by computers, a part of what would now be called artificial intelligence’ (ix).

In addition to the editor’s preface, the collection consists of eleven chapters, which are organized into five parts. Part 1, ‘Basic forms for language structure’ (21–80), opens with Ch. 1, ‘Words’, which—using the term ‘word’ in the sense used by logicians—discusses three typical philosophers’ replies to the question ‘What is a word?’. Ch. 2, ‘Fans and heads’, is an extreme instance of M’s idea that certain kinds of logical formalism were essential for understanding the function of language. Outlining a sketch of a mathematical model of language, Ch. 3, ‘Classification, concept-formation and language’, proposes an alternative method of analyzing language.

As the opening chapter of Part 2, ‘The thesaurus as a tool for machine translation’ (81–146), Ch. 4, ‘Potentialities of a mechanical thesaurus’, deals with the thesaurus as an aid to mechanical translation (MT). It also provides examples of dictionary tree uses and outlines a mechanical translation program using a thesaurus. Ch. 5, ‘What is a thesaurus’, presents arguments for the necessity of an MT thesaurus.

Part 3, ‘Experiments in machine translation’ (147–223), opens with Ch. 6, ‘Agricola in curvo terram dimovit aratro’, which, using Roget’s Thesaurus, examines a first-stage translation from Latin into English. Ch. 7, ‘Mechanical pidgin translation’, provides ‘an estimate of the research value of word-for-word translation into a language, rather than into the full normal form of an output language’ (161). Ch. 8, ‘Translation’, presents a philosophical model of translation.

Ch. 9, ‘Commentary on the Guberina hypothesis’, opens Part 4, ‘Phrasings, breath groups and text processing’ (225–88). Ch. 10, ‘Semantics algorithms’, aims to compute semantic paragraph patterns.

Part 5, ‘Metaphor, analogy, and the philosophy of science’ (281–309), includes the final chapter, ‘Braithwaite and Kuhn: Analogy-clusters within and without hypothetico-deductive systems in science’, which, on the one hand, discusses Thomas Kuhn’s relativist conceptions of science and of a paradigm, and on the other, Richard B. Braithwaite’s account of science.

As the collection shows, M was ahead of her time because her beliefs and proposals ‘for language processing by computer have now become part of the common stock of ideas in artificial intelligence (AI) and MT fields’ (1). Some parts would not be easy to read without the commentaries of both the editor (Chs. 2, 8, and 10) and Karen Spärk Jones (Ch. 6). In short, the collection represents an important document on the development of ideas related to AI and MT and is a nice tribute to a scientist whose ideas did not get sufficient attention during her lifetime.