Monthly Archives: January 2010

Discourse: A critical introduction

Discourse: A critical introduction. By Jan Blommaert. (Key topics in sociolinguistics.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. xiii, 299. ISBN 052153531X. $35.

Reviewed by Marián Sloboda, Charles University

Jan Blommaert is a professor of African linguistics and sociolinguistics in Belgium, whose Belgian and African life experience seems to have provided him with uncommon sensitivity to issues not only of social inequality, globalization, and migration of people but also of discourses and ways of speaking, and their effects. His view of discourse and its critical analysis differs in some respects from that of the well-established critical discourse analysis (CDA). He shares objects of interest with CDA, particularly power, social system, ideology, and identity, but he also provides a critique of several aspects of that stream of research (Ch. 2). His book is, therefore, not an introduction to CDA.

B does not aim at a mere description or overview of approaches to discourse and its critical analysis. In the course of the book he gradually develops his own approach, drawing especially on linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and leftist or critical philosophy. He conceptualizes discourse widely as a social, rather than a narrowly linguistic, phenomenon (the meaning of the word ‘discourse’ is not confined to a mere linguistic object here). This is connected with his intention not only to design a critical approach to discourse for (socio)linguists, but also to provide an approach, a discourse, that could be shared with sociologists, historians, and other social scientists.

B discusses the most common topics of the critical analysis of discourse, but some marginal topics, such as the relationship between identity and space, are included as well. The book covers the following topics: ‘Text and context’ (Ch. 3), ‘Language and inequality’ (Ch. 4), ‘Choice and determination’ (for participants in discourse production and uptake) (Ch. 5), ‘History and process’ (Ch. 6), ‘Ideology’ (Ch. 7), and ‘Identity’ (Ch. 8). With every topic B (re)considers an eclectic set of concepts that can be useful in a critical analysis of discourse (the book includes also a glossary of sixty of them).

B’s approach is characterized by emphasis on the historicity of discourses, on simultaneous and patterned layering of historical and ideological positions, which emanate from different actors to which people orient (‘centering institutions’) and historical epochs, but are present in discourse synchronically. Without denying a certain amount of free choice in discourse production and uptake, B underscores the existence of prediscourse constraints imposed on people in communication and the determining role of the discourses produced. Therefore, according to him, ‘a critical analysis of discourse needs to begin long before discourse emerges as a linguistically articulated object, and it needs to continue long after the act of production’ (234). As the author shows, social inequality stems from such prediscourse conditions as differential access of people to semiotic resources for making oneself understood or from new ways of communication in the globalized world, where discourses and semiotic resources migrate to other contexts and, therefore, the functions they (can) perform often radically change, and so on.

Theoretical explications in B’s book are supported by illuminating and interesting examples of data analyses, which include, for example, an extract from a South African radio program, a contribution to an internet discussion on the last war in Iraq, and documents written by African asylum seekers in Belgium. In addition, every chapter ends with suggestions for further reading. The book is very well organized and its style makes it highly readable. It is a ‘noncompendial’ type of introductory text with an appreciable impression of an inventive author.

A student grammar of Modern Standard Arabic

A student grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. By Eckehard Schulz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. xv, 248. ISBN 052154159X. $31.99.

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University

This book is a concise and user-friendly account of Modern Arabic. Keeping theory to a minimum, it is intended for students at various levels as well as for scholars in language studies. It may even be of use to those Arabs who have grown up in English-speaking environments. Designed more like a reference work than a textbook, this volume dispenses with the numerous drills and exercises so useful for students looking to master the practical elements of a foreign language. The book’s structure, however, is well suited for serving less introductory aims; scholars looking to undertake common revision tasks, for example, will find the book very useful, and its grammar tables exhaustively cover all cases of word formations and locations.

The grammar is based on the type of Modern Arabic used in contemporary professional practice, in newspapers, magazines, official and business communication, and on the internet, though Classical Arabic, still popular, is represented in this volume by quotations from the Koran and ancient belles-lettres. The Arabic dialects are not treated in this volume, a decision surely motivated by the level of complexity of such a pursuit and the inherent challenge of mastering dialects for second language students.

All of the apparati are written in two languages simultaneously, English and Arabic. This approach helps to connect the grammar with the traditional Arabic system of writing grammar as well as obviating the need to present a Semitic language in the terminology of an English grammar. Though some questions could have more eloquent explications (e.g. is ‘masdar/ ﺃﻟﻣﺼﺪﺮ’ an infinitive or a verbal noun? (58)), the explanations the text provides are most often adequate.

The book consists of five parts and two indices. A short introductory section includes the author’s ‘Preface’ and ‘Notes for the user’, which introduces the abbreviations the book uses and outlines the principles governing transliteration. In ‘Letters, pronunciation, auxiliary signs, writing’, Arabic characters are accompanied by the most closely equivalent English sounds or are followed by phonetic comments. This section also develops principles of Arabic writing, stress, and root definition. The section ‘Verbs’ covers all types of verbs in terms of tense, mood, and voice. Semantic commentary on the derived forms is rather limited. The grammatical categories of nouns, participles, adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, and particles are illustrated in ‘Nouns’. ‘Syntax’ includes information about the use of articles, syntactic constructions, and sentence types, as well as a commentary on the uses of cardinal and ordinal numerals. The grouping of material about numbers alongside the other items that one would expect in a section called ‘Syntax’ reveals a feature of the Arabic linguistic tradition that is unusual, at least for the European reader. It is unlikely, however, to present a real challenge for a serious student to find the information s/he seeks. Additional data about time calculation, dates, and the Islamic calendar add a practical aspect to this reference book.

Two grammatical indices, of English and Arabic terms, help the reader to orient him/herself in this well-organized guide to the structure of Modern Standard Arabic.

Linguistics in the Netherlands 2005

Linguistics in the Netherlands 2005. Ed. by Jenny Doetjes and Jeroen van de Weijer. (AVT publications 56.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. viii, 242. ISBN 9027231656. $143.

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University

This volume contains a selection of papers presented at the thirty-sixth annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of the Netherlands, which took place in Utrecht on January 29, 2005. Its aim is to present an overview of research in different fields of linguistics in the Netherlands.

The Dutch language is researched from the perspectives of grammar, second language acquisition, and dialectology. Renée van Bezooijen and Charlotte Gooskens (13–24) study Dutch speakers’ abilities to understand Frisian and Afrikaans, and determine that they have fewer problems understanding Afrikaans than Frisian. Yuki Niioka, Johanneke Caspers, and Vincent J. van Heuven (139–50) prove how inverted sentences with or without question intonation influence the perception of interrogativity in Japanese speakers of Dutch as a second language. In their paper on Dutch and Sign Language of the Netherlands, Liesbeth de Clerck and Els van der Kooij (61–72) discuss the properties of the adverbial exclusive zelf and deduce that it is a twofold category composed of modifiable and real intensifier subclasses.

In the study of subject-object ambiguities in spoken and written Dutch (99–109), Frank Jansen states that the avoidance of ambiguous structures frustrates the operation of the left-right principle in writing. In the same vein, E. G. Ruys (151–63) explores analytical tools for determining prepositional complements in the Dutch middlefield.

Developing methods of dialectal analysis, Marco René Spruit (179–90) applies a quantitative measure of syntactic distance for classifying Dutch dialects. Norbert Corver and Marc van Oostendorp (73–86) examine the interplay between syntax and phonology in the formation of substantively used possessive pronouns in the Groningen and Low Saxon dialects.

In the English-language domain, Hans Broekhuis (49–60) suggests a novel view on English locative inversion and investigates some consequences for English and Dutch grammars. Jutta M. Hartmann (87–98) argues for taking wh-movement in the there-BE construction as syntactically unconstrained. From the theoretical perspective, Mark de Vries (219–30) briefly explores the properties and boundary conditions of the syntactic operation Merge.

Historical linguistics is represented by Mircea Branza and Vincent J. van Heuven (25–36), who temporally locate in the sixteenth century the critical stage in the differentiation between American Spanish subjuntivo imperfecto forms in -se and -ra. Anne Breitbarth’s paper (37–47) deals with the auxiliary ellipses that developed as a formal marker of subordination in Early Modern German (1350–1650).

Irene Krämer (111–23) explains how children at the relevant ages distinguish between two classes—‘strong’ and ‘weak’—of determiner quantifiers. Though conducted in the realm of pragmatics, this research may extend to involve cognitive development, that is, theory of mind or perspective shifting.

Louise Baird (1–12) investigates the eastern Indonesian Klon-language ‘agentive’ system of pronominal marking and identifies two types of ‘splits’. Peter de Swart (191–202) focuses on the ungrammaticality of some active constructions (‘paradigm gaps’) and the resulting obligatory voice alternation in the Coast Salish languages (the Northwest coast of North America). Craig Thiersch (203–18) summarizes Malagasy syntax and the remnant-movement approach and gives three sample problems that this analysis can explain. Jan-Wouter Zwart (231–42) surveys the phenomenon of noun phrase coordination in head-final languages that overwhelmingly employ initial conjunctions.

Jie Liang and Vincent J. van Heuven’s article (125–37) about the phonetic and phonological processing of pitch levels disproves the claim that it is only time pressure that affects the identification pattern of Chinese aphasic speakers. Raquel S. Santos and Ester M. Scarpa (165–78) discuss the acquisition of articles and the phonological bootstrapping of the same into Brazilian Portuguese.

Less translated languages

Less translated languages. Ed. by Albert Branchadell and Lovell Margaret West. (Benjamins translation library 58.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. vii, 414. ISBN 1588114805. $156 (Hb).

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University

This book is an outgrowth of the 5th International Conference on Translation, ‘Interculturality and translation: Less translated languages’, organized by the Departament de Traducció i d’Interpretació at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) in October 2001.

The concept of ‘less translated languages’ developed in this collection is inspired by the concept of ‘lesser-used languages’ (a term now current in the EU). ‘Less translated’ refers to those languages that are less often the source of translation in the international exchange of linguistic goods, and not to the number of people using these languages. This category serves equally well for widely used languages such as Arabic or Chinese and long-neglected minority languages such as Catalan. Albert Branchadell (1‑23) discusses the key terms ‘cultural turn’, ‘power turn’, and ‘nation-building’, which the collection uses to establish its theoretical background.

Part 1 considers the hegemonic position of English in cross-cultural communication. By using statistics and some mathematical operations, Anthony Pym and Grzegorz Chrupała (27–38) prove translation alone is neither a sufficient measure of nor a satisfactory remedy for the effects of globalization on cultural diversity. Some financial, political, social, and linguistic problems of European multilingualism are discussed by Vilelmini Sosonis (39–47). Since Arabic imports many terms from English and French, Hassan Hamzé (49–66) considers the possibilities for adopting systematic Arabic equivalents of Greco-Latin prefixes and suffixes. Nobel Perdu Honeyman (67–74) investigates indirect—from Arabic through English into Spanish—translation to determine the effect of such indirect translation on a religious treatise by Bahá’ulláh. Maria D. Oltra Ripoll (75–91) analyzes possible techniques for translating Anglo-Saxon cultural references in films.

In Part 2, minority languages are viewed through the prism of translation inequality. Oscar Diaz Fouces (95–104) outlines three criteria of translation policies (homogeneity, autonomy, and prestige) that might improve linguistic mediation. Marta García Gonzáles (105–23) has designed a model that allows us to describe Western minority languages using a common methodological framework. Albert Branchadell (125–35) presents the concept of a ‘mandatory translation language’ and examines the extent to which the Catalans can live through their own language without having to use another. The paper by Eva Espasa (137–45) reviews interculturalism in stage translation over the last twenty years, finding translation to be either enrichment or appropriation. Using a neurobiological approach in their view of ‘obscured cultures’ of Sub-Saharan Africa, Anna Aguilar-Amat and Jean-Bosco Botsho (147–61) reflect on the cognitive processes of adaptable individuals and translators.

Part 3 presents specific cases of translating from less translated cultures and languages. The case analyses help to develop important theoretical conclusions about the influence of postcolonial literature research on translation theory (Goretti López Heredia, 165–76), the translator’s invisibility (Andrés Xosé Salter Iglesias, 177–87), intercultural aesthetic translatability (Dora Sales Salvador, 189–205), sociocultural functions of Buddhist translation (Nicole Martínez Melis, 207–24), and the translators’ role in beyond-linguistic mediation (Leticia Herrero, 225–35). Sara Rovira-Esteva (237–54) presents specifics about the attributes of Chinese measure words and how they might be applied in teaching and translation.

Part 4 is given over to considering the project of translating into a specific less translated language—Catalan. Montserrat Bacardí (257–68) gives a brief survey of translation from Spanish into Catalan in the twentieth century, and the present state of work in the field is described by Cristina García de Toro (269–87). Irene Llop Jordana (289–311) uses a twentieth-century bibliography to survey works translated from Hebrew into Catalan.

The final section of the book is a symposium on six significant Catalan translators: Andreu Nin, Bonaventura Vallespinosa, Manuel de Pedrolo, Josep Vallverdú, Maria-Mercè Marçal, and Jordi Arbonès i Montull, all of whom played an influential role in the process of linguistic ‘normalization’.

Discourse and silencing

Discourse and silencing. Ed. by Lynn Thiesmeyer. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2003. Pp. x, 316. ISBN 9781588113856. $173 (Hb).

Reviewed by Laura Felton Rosulek, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Discourse and silencing is one of the very few collections of studies in the field of discourse analysis to use ‘silencing’, defined as ‘a way of using language to limit, remove or undermine the legitimacy of another use of language’ (2), as a theoretical term. The book is organized into three major themes: ‘Gender and the discourses of privacy’, ‘Law and institutional discourses’, and ‘National politics and the discourses of exclusion’. Thiesmeyer’s stated objective for the book is not only to discuss the theoretical notions and real-world examples of silencing, but also to demonstrate the commonalities within discourse-analysis studies on silencing despite the interdisciplinary nature of the field.

In Part 1 on gender has two chapters. Alison Towns, Peter Adams, and Nicola Gavey, in ‘Silencing talk of men’s violence towards women’, examine interviews of men who have abused their partners to see how they self-silence the discussion of their own violence and convince others to remain silent about it as well. In ‘Conversational styles and ellipsis in Japanese couples’ conversations’, Shoko Okazaki Yohena analyzes ellipses in the talk of Japanese couples for variations in use and interpretation. She finds that they can be used as a tool for remaining silent about a topic, and that filling in a partner’s ellipses with an unintended meaning can silence the speaker’s message.

Part 2 begins with Valérie Fridland’s ‘Quiet in the court: Attorneys’ silencing strategies during courtroom cross-examination’. She shows that during the cross-examination of an alleged sexual assault victim, the defense lawyer uses linguistic strategies to silence the witness’s own narration of the events. Patricia E. O’Connor, in ‘Telling bits: Silencing and the narratives behind prison walls’, discusses how the discourses of and about people in prison are silenced in our society, and how prisoners often self-silence their own experiences of violence within prisons. She then shows that by encouraging autobiographical discourse from inmates, one can break this silence in a potentially therapeutic way.

In Part 3, ‘National politics and the discourses of exclusion’, Ruth Wodak (‘Discourse of silence: Anti-Semitic discourse in post-war Austria’) shows that while the existence of antisemitism in Austria is denied or ignored, antisemitism does exist in the public discourse, though often in more covert linguistic forms. ‘Silencing by law: The 1981 Polish “Performances and Publications Control Act”’, by Dariusz Galasiński, discusses how a law in Poland legalized the silencing of topics in public discourse that were contrary to those in power and how the text of the law itself remained silent about its taking away the people’s freedom of speech. Finally, Sandra Lambertus, in ‘News discourse of Aboriginal resistance in Canada’, finds that, when comparing two newspaper articles on the same event, one silenced the discourse of a dominated group in favor of the discourse of a group in power, but the other included both.

The concluding article by Adam Jaworski, ‘Political silencing: A view from Laurie Anderson’s performance art’, shows how a performance artist mentions in her work some of the themes about silence that the previous authors discussed.

This book examines silencing in a wide range of contexts and from many different perspectives. It is an important resource for scholars interested in how social actors are kept from participating in discourses and how certain topics are kept hidden from public discourses. This book should serve well the field of sociolinguistics, and is a particularly important addition to theoretical studies in discourse analysis.

Language contacts in prehistory: Studies in stratigraphy

Language contacts in prehistory: Studies in stratigraphy. Ed. by Henning Andersen. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2003. Pp. viii, 292. ISBN 1588113795. $180 (Hb).

Reviewed by Malcolm Ross, The Australian National University

The topic of the eleven papers in this volume is nicely defined in the opening words of Henning Andersen’s introduction: ‘Linguistic stratigraphy is the systematic investigation of the layering of grammatical and lexical material in a language or dialect which reflects its historical development and past contacts between its speakers and bearers of other linguistic and cultural traditions’. The papers were originally presented at a one-day workshop at the fifteenth International Conference on Historical Linguistics in Melbourne in August 2001.

The book is organized into seven geographically based sections: ‘Indo-European’ has three papers, ‘Africa’ two, and ‘Southeast Asia’, ‘Australia’, ‘Oceania’, ‘Japan’, and ‘Meso-America’ have a paper apiece. This welcome geographic coverage is rare among thematic volumes on historical linguistics.

Bernard Mees’s ‘Stratum and shadow: A genealogy of stratigraphy theories from the Indo-European West’ is a critical survey of the stratigraphy and stratum theories of west European linguists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and of their applications to western Indo-European languages. In ‘Slavic and the Indo-European migrations’ Henning Andersen offers a beautifully documented stratigraphy of loans in Slavic from nearby Indo-European varieties and among early Slavic dialects. Bridget Drinka’s chapter, ‘The development of the perfect in Indo-European: Stratigraphic evidence of prehistoric areal evidence’, begins with the striking statement that ‘morphological change … is, by its very nature, stratum-building’ (77) and shows how a division of early Indo-European history into periods and regions that she proposes elsewhere is further supported by an internal reconstruction of the development of the perfect aspect.

The African section is introduced by Christopher Ehret and contains two short but well-documented lexical stratigraphies, ‘Stratigraphy and prehistory: Bantu Zone F’ by B. F. Y. P. Masele and Derek Nurse, and ‘Language contacts in Nilo-Saharan prehistory’ by Christopher Ehret. The first concerns a group of languages located in western Tanzania. The authors show how the conventional divergence (family tree) approach requires a complementary convergence approach if the history of these and other Bantu languages is to be properly understood. The second reconstructs the history, reaching back five or so millennia, of the Rub group of languages.

In ‘Evidence for Austroasiatic strata in Thai’ Anthony Diller surveys the history of Thai contact with speakers of Old Mon and Old Khmer and describes the complexity of the resulting stratigraphy.

‘Millers and mullers: The archaeo-linguistic stratigraphy of technological change in holcene Australia’, by Patrick McConvell and Michael Smith, describes the borrowing of lexical items associated with the archaeologically attested rise and spread of seed-grinding in central Australia.

Hans Schmidt provides a useful summary of the literature on ‘Loanword strata in Rotuman’, a central Pacific Austronesian language whose lexical stratigraphy has received considerable attention because of massive borrowings from languages belonging to two Polynesian groups.

In ‘Substratum and adstratum in prehistoric Japan’ J. Marshall Unger summarizes the hypothesis that the lexical distance between Japanese and Korean (much greater than the time depth of their separation would lead one to expect) is explained by the number and extent of the strata of lexical borrowings in Japanese, both from Chinese and from earlier sources.

Whether Uto-Aztecan speakers spread from north to south or vice versa remains controversial, but Karin Dakin’s ‘Uto-Aztecan in the linguistic stratigraphy of Mesoamerican prehistory’ reports on research indicating an early presence of Uto-Aztecan speakers in Mesoamerica and thus calling the north–south hypothesis in its usual form into question.

All in all, this volume provides some excellent and detailed examples of lexical stratigraphy based on carefully worked-out phonological histories, and provides a surprising insight into just how far-reaching historical inferences based on stratigraphy can be.

Word power: Phrasal verbs and compounds: A cognitive approach

Word power: Phrasal verbs and compounds: A cognitive approach. By Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2003. Pp. 206. ISBN 3110177048. $109 (Hb).

Reviewed by Nina Rojina, University of Geneva

It is well known that English phrasal verbs have always been one of the most difficult parts of English grammar in foreign language learning. Therefore it is not surprising that even advanced learners understand them poorly and tend to use them rarely. This book aims to provide necessary information (from both a syntactic and a semantic point of view) about phrasal verbs and compounds in English, and thus to expand students’ knowledge of vocabulary in general and of phrasal verbs in particular.

The book is written as a textbook (in a framework of cognitive linguistics), intended primarily for guided self-learning for postintermediate or advanced learners; however, it can also be used in a classroom setting. Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn provides some suggestions for home and oral creative classroom activities. Working individually, the students can access the meaning of the phrasal verbs (a) by filling in verbs or nouns that are arranged alphabetically on top of each exercise, (b) by matching the expressions with the phrasal verbs (the first letters of each are indicated to the right of the sentence), or (c) in the key at the end of the chapter. R-O provides glosses at the end of each exercise in order to explain less frequently used expressions in a given context. The book is written in clear and lively language, supported by a glossary and a variety of schemas, tables, and examples.

In the introduction, R-O provides an overview of phrasal verbs, looking into their meanings and syntactic frames. She addresses the problem of understanding phrasal verbs and gives the examples of ‘spatial, prototypical or basic meanings’ of prepositions and particles (e.g. to run up a hill) and ‘metaphorical or extended meanings’ of the particles (e.g. Business is picking up, i.e. improving, becoming better). R-O employs a lot of schemas showing a mental representation of spatial relations. The book contains approximately 1,100 phrasal verbs and provides detailed study of seventeen particles/prepositions: out, in, into, up, down, off, away, on, over, back, about, (a)round, about/(a)round, across, through, by, along. These are combined with some 500 different verbs, adjectives, and nouns. The book is divided into seventeen chapters, where each chapter describes the peculiarities of a particular particle/preposition, such as its meaning or use. Each chapter is supported by exercises (with keys) and schemas that are focused on improving the understanding of the particles.

Clear language, good explanations, and well-constructed exercises make this book suitable for those who wish to understand phrasal verbs and thus expand their vocabulary.

A grammar of Hindi

A grammar of Hindi. By Annie Montaut. (Studies in Indo-European linguistics 2.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2004. Pp. xii, 302. ISBN 389586904. $120.12.

Reviewed by Anna Pucilowski, University of Canterbury

Rather than add to an already large collection of standard grammars of Hindi, Annie Montaut aims to provide a description of modern standard Hindi within a functionalist framework. The book contains an introduction, three main sections on phonology, morphology, and syntax, and a conclusion.

In the introduction, M discusses the Hindi/Urdu debate, that is, whether the modern colloquial varieties of Hindi and Urdu are, in fact, the same language and the higher registers are simply two styles of the same language. M notes that, since the partition of India and Pakistan, politics has played a large role in the development of a distinctive Hindi language with closer links to Sanskrit than to Urdu or any regional languages. M chooses to describe the colloquial variety of Hindi, which is less sanskritized than the official version, and she mentions regional variations where relevant. Her purpose in this is to provide some information on language change and possible paths of grammaticization, and to highlight the fluidity of linguistic boundaries in the region. Her corpus is based on various styles of literature, conversations, film dialogues, and some newspapers. In the introduction M also describes the history of Hindi and its grammatical tradition.

Part 1 covers the phonology of Hindi. This is divided into seven sections: the writing system, Hindi sounds, phonemes and allophones, morphonological processes, syllabic structure, stress and syllabic structure, and historical evolution. Part 2 describes the morphology of Hindi, including the nominal constituent (Ch.1), the verbal constituent (Ch.2), and derivational morphology (Ch.3).

Part 3 looks at the syntax of Hindi. Ch. 1, ‘The simple sentence’, looks at basic clauses in Hindi. M describes the nominative and the ergative patterns of Hindi—a split-ergative language—as well as the dative, genitive, locative, and instrumental patterns. Hindi’s status as a split-ergative language, with the split based on aspect, makes it difficult to use terms like subject and object. M concludes with a discussion of case roles in Hindi, in particular the notion of subjecthood. Ch. 2 looks at complex sentences, including different types of subordination. Ch. 3 focuses on general structural questions, and looks at coordination, negation, interrogation, anaphora, and topicalization.

M concludes the book with a detailed discussion of some of the dialectal differences of Hindi, as well as some aspects of Hindi spoken outside of India. The book also contains an extensive bibliography. M’s detailed description free of strict theoretical restrictions makes this grammar interesting for any student of Hindi linguistics. The only difficulty I had with this book was the large number of errors in the English. Some careful editing would have made this book considerably easier to read.

Borrowing: A Pacific perspective

Borrowing: A Pacific perspective. Ed. by Jan Tent and Paul Geraghty. (Pacific linguistics 548.) Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2004. Pp. 330. ISBN 0858835320. $71.

Reviewed by Anna Pucilowski, University of Canterbury

Despite the fact that the Pacific region has long been treated as a kind of linguistic laboratory, its languages have not been prominent in the literature on borrowing. This volume addresses a variety of issues of borrowing in the Pacific. Although several of the papers cover borrowing from colonial languages like English and Dutch, others deal with borrowing between Pacific languages, something that is of much interest for the historian because of what it reveals about movements among Pacific people before European contact.

The first paper, by Bruce Biggs, was originally published in 1965. Biggs highlights the complexity of the linguistic history of Rotuman (Fiji) and, indeed, of all Pacific languages. The paper serves as a warning to historical linguists: failure to understand the extent to which one language has borrowed from another may lead to erroneous subgroupings.

Another paper that has been reprinted for this volume is Ross Clark’s paper on ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ borrowing. He looks at English loanwords in Ifira-Mele (Vanuatu) and concludes that need and cultural contact are inadequate explanations for their incorporation. G. B. Milner’s 1965 paper on initial nasal clusters in Eastern and Western Austronesian has also been included for its continued relevance.

Terry Crowley looks at attitudes toward borrowing among speakers of Pacific languages and concludes that, rather than threatening indigenous languages, borrowings have enriched the languages. His study of Sye (Vanuatu) refutes the claim that many Pacific languages are undergoing major structural change in the direction of English. Robert Early’s paper on periphrasis as a verbal borrowing strategy in Epi languages (Vanuatu) describes such a restructuring that may or may not reflect an imported pattern.

When speakers do perceive a threat to their language, there are alternatives to borrowing, as Ray Harlow shows in his paper on Māori. He observes that, in recent years, speakers have preferred to adapt or extend existing vocabulary rather than borrow from English. Another study of ‘nonborrowing’ is John Lynch’s paper on the influence of the languages of the Loyalty Islands and southern Vanuatu on Bislama, and of German on Samoan. Despite intensive contact between the languages, there has been very little borrowing. Lynch claims that this is due partly to phonological difficulty (in the case of Bislama), but also to social factors.

This volume includes several papers on specific cases of borrowing in the Pacific region, including Paul Geraghty’s paper on borrowed plant names in Fiji and Polynesia, Jim Hollyman’s paper on origin-oriented names in New Caledonia, and Paul Geraghty and Jan Tent’s paper on the influence of Dutch on the languages of the Pacific. Ulrike Mosel looks at how English words are adapted into Samoan, and Wolfgang Sperlich covers borrowing in Niuean.

There are also three papers on borrowing in the languages of Fiji. France Mugler investigates the influence of three Indian languages on Fijian Hindi, Fijian, and Fijian English. Albert J. Schütz covers English borrowings in Fijian, and Jan Tent looks at Fijian English and the source of its loanwords.

An introduction to Welsh

An introduction to Welsh. By Phylip Brake. (LINCOM language coursebooks 8.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2004. Pp. 161. ISBN 3895865869. $52.80.

Reviewed by John D. Phillips, Yamaguchi University

This is a textbook designed to take beginning students of Welsh, working on their own, to a stage where they can begin to gain fluency by actually using the language. The author is an experienced organizer and teacher of intensive Welsh courses for adult learners, and one assumes that the book is built around material that he has found to work well in his own classes.

The book concentrates on spoken Welsh, presenting what Brake calls ‘written spoken Welsh’, which differs from traditional written Welsh in that the assimilated and abbreviated verb forms typical of colloquial speech are represented in the spelling (Y’c’n do the same sort o’ thing in English).

The style of presentation is traditional, organized around the grammar. On the whole, explanations are clear, and there are tables of paradigms where appropriate, and plenty of examples and exercises (with answers). After working through these, a student with a dictionary should be able to start reading newspapers and novels.

There is no accompanying tape or CD to demonstrate pronunciation, but all vocabulary items and many longer examples are given IPA transcriptions; and since Welsh spelling is phonemic, pronunciation need not be a problem. However, B’s brief explanations of phonemes (e.g. ll as ‘a voiceless l, /ɬ/’ or rh as ‘a voiceless r, /r̥/’) will not be much use to the average reader.

The first lesson begins with a detailed explanation of the Welsh system of initial consonant mutations, then moves on to gender and to the complexities of plural formation in nouns. It seems like a good idea to get these most irregular and difficult parts of the grammar out of the way first, but students might just give up under the (false) impression that Welsh is an unusually difficult language. The remaining eleven lessons work through the language at a comfortable pace.

Unfortunately the book is replete with errors. There are two English misspellings in the first line, and every subsequent page has several errors, often half a dozen or more to the page. There are spelling errors, sentences that do not parse, wrong cross-references, and wrong typefaces; some words and phrases are given wrong translations and wrong IPA transcriptions; a word will appear with one IPA transcription here and a slightly different one there; and though I am not a speaker of the author’s dialect, the IPA seems to be used inconsistently. Most mistakes in the translations and IPA will just confuse students, but plenty are not obvious from the context and will result in acquisition of incorrect Welsh.

In conception and design this is not a bad textbook. A proofreader and editor could have made it a useful addition to the range of Welsh texts, though it is expensive at two or three times the price of comparable books.  As it stands, I cannot recommend it. One hopes the publisher will arrange for a properly edited new edition.