Monthly Archives: March 2010

Television dialogue

Television dialogue: The sitcom Friends vs. natural conversation. By Paulo Quaglio. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2009. Pp. xii, 161. ISBN 9789027223104. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by Irene Theodoropoulou, King’s College London

This book is a corpus linguistic study that compares the language of the popular sitcom Friends with the language used in natural American English conversation. In Ch. 1, Paulo Quaglio summarizes the core literature on conversation and television studies and provides the motivation for his choice to focus on a linguistic analysis of TV language—that is, to add to the relatively under-researched interaction between the media and language change.

Ch. 2 offers a description of the comedy series Friends and its characters, which are often illustrated through dialogue excerpts. Ch. 3 provides quantitative (i.e. number of files and words) and qualitative (i.e. interaction types and topics) information on the corpora used in this study, which is supplemented by a discussion on data coding, concordancing, norming, and statistical significance.

Ch. 4 presents the theoretical framework of the study, that of register variation or multidimensional analysis (Biber 1988), as well as the basic findings of the study. The data demonstrate that the shared interactive nature of both natural conversation and the language of Friends are reflected by the high frequency and occurrence of certain devices such as private verbs, first- and second-person pronouns, present tense verbs, contractions, and hedges. However, Friends shows less variation than natural conversation, which can be explained by the restricted range of situations, age groups, and dialectal varieties found in the Friends corpus.

Chs. 5–8 illustrate the functional differences between the Friends corpus and natural American English conversation. Vague language, the focus of Ch. 5, includes conversational hedges, discourse and stance markers, and vague coordination tags. Natural conversation was found to be vaguer than the language of Friends, while the lack of vagueness of the Friends’ language is explained by its need to be understood in a global context, which tends to compromise the naturalness of dialogues

Ch. 6 analyzes emotional language—namely, emphatic forms and expressions. Q finds that the language of Friends is more emotional and emphatic than natural conversation, and this dramatic effect is mostly realized through the cooccurrence of features in the same or adjacent turns

Informal language, discussed in Ch. 7, indexed through expletives, slang, vocatives (i.e. familiarizers), and linguistic innovations (e.g. all plus adjective or gerund, semimodals, and repeats) was found to be much more frequent in Friends, a fact that can be explained by the intimacy among the members of the group, the effort to make the show’s language as authentic as possible, and the construction of humor through idiosyncratic uses of these devices.

Ch. 8 delves into the linguistic expression of narrative discourse and compares the degrees of narratives typifying narrative and nonnarrative discourse in both corpora. The finding is that natural conversation has a higher frequency of the linguistic features associated with narrative discourse.

Finally, Ch. 9 wraps up the findings, accounts for the limitations of the study, and refers to its benefits, which include the use of television dialogue for pedagogical purposes.

In all, this study is presented in an accessible way; nevertheless, it would be better if the index contained the numerous linguistic features that are discussed. This would make the book a useful reference for people who are investigating a specific linguistic feature.


Biber, Douglas. 1988. Variation across speech and writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Language anxiety

Language anxiety: Conflict and change in the history of English. By Tim William Machan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. x, 302. ISBN 9780199232123. $65 (Hb).

Reviewed by Marc Pierce, University of Texas at Austin

This book opens with an anecdote: On July 4, 2000, the author was asked to participate in a radio interview about the accuracy of the English used in the movie The Patriot. The end result was somewhat disappointing, as the author’s best efforts to offer a nuanced, scholarly discussion of the topic were glossed over by the interviewer, who concluded only that at the time of the Revolutionary War ‘Americans preserved a traditional accent and […] the British […] had changed the language’ (2). This anecdote nicely sets up the subject of the book: ‘How anxiety over language change and variation has transhistorically motivated and underwritten sociopolitical behavior, ideological formation, and mythological construction—how it has been largely a constant in the Anglophone world’ (22). Tim Machan argues that ‘anxiety over language change has euphemistically displaced anxiety about other issues and […] so long as the anxiety remains centered on language, the other issues can never be fully addressed’ (22).

This idea is developed in detail over the course of six chapters. Ch. 1, ‘Language, change, and response’ (1–26), looks at theories of language change and variation as well as anxiety about language change (e.g. compare the connection often drawn by nonlinguists between language change and moral or social collapse). This is followed by ‘A moveable speech’ (27–90), which tackles the question of ‘the sometimes shifting distinction between social evaluations of change and change itself’ (29).

Ch. 3, ‘Narratives of change’ (81–129), reviews some discussions of language change, such as narratives of the Tower of Babel story, and also outlines the development of the artificial language Esperanto. Next, ‘Policy and politics’ (130–85) discusses political aspects of language change, such as the controversy surrounding early translations of the Bible into English or the suppression of Maori in favor of English in New Zealand.

Ch. 5, ‘Say the right thing’ (186–237), examines the ‘ways in which metalinguistic commentary, like literary narratives and public policy, can be determinative in speakers’ attitudes towards change and variation’ (233). Finally, ‘Fixing English’ (238–66), looks at the value invested in language variation and change—for example, how meanings and values become attached to individual words, and how these meanings and values can shift over time. M concludes this chapter by arguing that ‘to assign blame to language, and to minister to it alone, provides short-term solutions to long-term social problems’ (266), as this ‘allows speakers to evade responsibility for what they say [… and] allows them to deny responsibility for what they do’ (266).

This is an excellent book. The subject matter is extremely interesting, the book is well-written, and the arguments are carefully crafted. The only quibbles that I have (e.g. the use of primitive in terms like Primitive Germanic, where the term Proto would be more appropriate) are relatively minor and do not detract from the genuinely high value of this work.

Travelling in a palimpsest

Travelling in a palimpsest: Finnish nineteenth-century painters’ encounters with Spanish art and culture. By Marie-Sofie Lundström. (Suomalaisen tiedeakatemian toimituksia humaniora 343.) Helsinki: Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2007. Pp. 460. IBSN 9789514109959. $67.50.

Reviewed by Richard W. Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University

In Travelling in a palimpsest: Finnish nineteenth-century painters’ encounters with Spanish art and culture, Marie-Sofie Lundström examines the works of three Finnish painters, Adolf von Becker, Albert Edelfelt, and Venny Soldan, who visited Spain in the 1800s to establish how their perceptions of Spain were ‘manifested in their pictures in response to the growing tourist industry in nineteenth-century Europe’ (14). In this examination, L combines the areas of art history and tourism studies and considers each of these artists’ oeuvres a palimpsest—that is, ‘a superposition of modern and ancient patterns’ (16). L’s introduction (11–41) presents an overview of the notion of palimpsest and how it can be used to discuss tourist art in particular.

In Ch. 1, ‘The lure of Spain’ (43–58), L discusses the importance of Swedish artist Egron Lundgren, whose ‘fame in Scandinavia made his Spanish imagery particularly important for the emerging view of the characteristics of the Spanish people’ (57). L expands on this theme in Ch. 2, ‘Les dieux et les demi-dieux de la peinture’ (59–83). The growing popularity of Spanish-themed tourist art led to a demand that artists have direct contact with Spain. Ch. 3, ‘Adolf von Becker and the manière espagnole’ (85–132), provides an in-depth analysis of the first Finnish painter to travel to Spain to study and imitate Spanish art.

Ch. 4, ‘The dichotomy of hispanicism: Old masters and popular themes’ (133–205), examines the work of Albert Edelfelt, who apprenticed under von Becker. In Ch. 5, ‘Albert Edelfelt’s imagined Spain’ (207–46), L continues this examination and coins the term connoisseur-tourist, which describes ‘painters travelling abroad in order to enhance their career[s] as painters’ (236). Ch. 6, ‘The Romantic lure of the souvenir’ (247–307), argues that a pictorial souvenir is the most common type of souvenir. In the nineteenth century the pictorial souvenir was tourist art; today it is the ubiquitous postcard.

The focus of Ch. 7, ‘Change and the tourist experience’ (309–51), Edelfelt’s travels in Seville, where he was more of a tourist than he had been in Granada. Ch. 8, ‘The Romantic craze for history’ (353–86), focuses on the history of Spain and the need to show an ancient past to be considered a modern nation state. The book concludes with Ch. 9, ‘Spain remembered: Travelling in a palimpsest’ (387–401), which summarizes how Finnish painters of Spanish tourist art traveled metaphorically in a palimpsest.

With 237 figures, this book is richly illustrated. It will be of particular interest to linguists working in semiotics as well as those working in the discourse of tourism.

Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives

Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives. Ed. by Alexandra Jaffe. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. vii, 261. ISBN 9780195331646. $72 (Hb).

Reviewed by Irene Theodoropoulou, King’s College London

This volume consists of sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological chapters that focus on stance—that is, ‘taking up a position with respect to the form or the content of one’s utterance’ (3). Stance is a core notion in the sociolinguistic enterprise because this positioning is inherent in human communication.

Alexandra Jaffe’s ‘Introduction: The sociolinguistics of stance’ critically discusses the relationship between stance and other key topics (e.g. ideology, style, and indexicality), concluding that this type of research should aim for the interpretation of indexicalization and contextualization in communication.

Barbara Johnstone’s ‘Stance, style, and the linguistic individual’ examines the Barbara Jordan style from a rhetorical and discourse-analytical perspective. Based on repeated patterns of stance-taking, Johnstone argues for this African-American politician’s consistent authoritative stance across time, situation, audience, and genre of speech.

Judith Irvine’s ‘Stance in a colonial encounter: How Mr. Taylor lost his footing’ analyzes archival material from the Church Missionary Society’s nineteenth-century dispute in West Africa (i.e. the Onitsha affair) by stressing stance’s ability to explain how communicative acts are linked to ideologized processes and social structures.

Janet McIntosh’s ‘Stance and distance: Social boundaries, self-lamination, and metalinguistic anxiety in white Kenyan narratives about the African occult’ looks at the complexities of first-person indexicality by white Kenyans in their attitudes toward the African occult and stresses the discrepancy between Kenyans’ ontological and social stances, which result in multiple subjectivities in the process.

Robin Shoaps’s ‘Moral irony and moral personhood in Sakapultek discourse and culture’ delves into moral irony in this Mayan language by demonstrating how ironic stances hinge on indexicality rather than intentionality. Shoaps calls for the need to incorporate ethnographic research, which can elucidate the social functions of stance markers.

Jaffe’s ‘Stance in a Corsican school: Institutional and ideological orders and the production of bilingual subjects’ deals with the ways teachers’ stances delineate bilingual (French-Corsican) practices and identities as well as attribute stances to their students by maintaining that the links between language and wider categories, including ideologies and hierarchies, are themselves stance objects.

Mary Bucholtz’s ‘From stance to style: Gender, interaction, and indexicality in Mexican immigrant youth slang’ taps into the multiple indexicalities of the Spanish slang term güey, stemming from its use in Mexican students’ interactions and its media representations. Bucholtz underlines the need to combine the fleeting peculiarities of interactional context with the more enduring formations that tie stances to styles and identities.

Echoing this position, on the basis of data from the United States and Australia, Scott Kiesling’s ‘Style as stance: Stance as the explanation for patterns of sociolinguistic variation’ makes the important argument that stance can explain intraspeaker variation.

Adam Jaworski and Crispin Thurlow’s ‘Taking an elitist stance: Ideology and the discursive production of social distinction’ investigates how travel writing (i.e. traveloques) in two widespread British newspapers employs stancetaking to construct the writers and readers as socially different and, through the wide accessibility of the newspapers, to ideologize these stances socially.

Finally, Justine Coupland and Nikolas Coupland’s ‘Attributing stance in discourses of body shape and weight loss’ shows how authoritative voices in geriatric doctor-patient encounters and magazines that focus on weight and body shape attribute moral stances to laypeople.

Notwithstanding some dense linguistic anthropological analyses, the volume contains some pioneering chapters that will be of interest to researchers engaged in social pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology.

Multilingualism and minority languages

Multilingualism and minority languages: Achievements and challenges in education. Ed. by Jasone Cenoz and Durk Gorter. (AILA review 21.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. 110. ISBN 9027239932. $135 (Hb).

Reviewed by Iris Potter, University of Georgia

Although research has been done on minority languages and their uses in education, this research can generally be compartmentalized into studies of elite bilingual education and studies of folk bilingual education. In an effort to broaden the implications of such research on the field of applied linguistics, Jasone Cenoz and Durk Gorter compiled this volume, which is comprised of five case studies. The research reported here examines unique minority folk-bilingual education situations in which the speakers do not suffer from the typical economic disadvantages found in most minority language situations, ensuring that the primary motivation for language learning is to enhance one’s identity. These studies of programs of minority language revitalization in Europe illustrate the importance of language policy and planning in bilingual education.

In the introductory chapter, ‘Applied linguistics and the use of minority languages in education’ (5–12), the editors state that the relevancy of this collection of case studies to the field of applied linguistics is not limited to bilingual education but can be extended to such areas as language and identity, second (and additional) language acquisition, first language literacy, and to the general study of bi- and multilingualism.

In the first of two articles from Spain, Ch. 2 ‘Achievements and challenges in bilingual and multilingual education in the Basque Country’ (13–30), Jasone Cenoz examines multiple models of instruction using both Spanish and Basque. She discusses some of the potential advantages of employing more comprehensive methods in multilingual instruction and research.

In Ch. 3, ‘Language-in-education policies in the Catalan language area’ (31–48), F. Xavier Vila i Moreno compares the current models for teaching Catalan and discusses the challenges faced by the educational systems. He summarizes existing research and discusses the impact of these policies on various relevant elements, such as language use and competence, but also on academic results that are not linguistic in nature.

In the first of two articles from Ireland and the United Kingdom, Ch. 4 ‘The declining role of primary schools in the revitalisation of Irish’ (49–68), John Harris discusses the causes of the long-term decline in Irish proficiency in students of mainstream schools. He suggests that teachers and schools develop a plan that would extend the use of Irish beyond language courses to other areas in the schools as well as to the home and community.

In Ch. 5, ‘Current challenges in bilingual education in Wales’ (69–86), W. Gwyn Lewis examines the role of Welsh in the bilingual education system. He then summarizes the current methodologies and the emerging issues and pedagogies.

From the Netherlands, Durk Gorter and Cor van der Meer, ‘Developments in bilingual Frisian-Dutch education in Friesland’ (Ch. 6; 87–103), discuss the weak position of Frisian in society and in the educational system and examine the link between the two. This relationship seems to be reflective of the attitudes toward both Frisian and the educational system, based in part on less than stellar achievements of experimental trilingual schools that incorporate English.

Overall, these five case studies present an encouraging picture of bilingual education aimed at minority language maintenance. The positive results are especially encouraging in Spain and refreshing to hear from all of the other countries.

A grammar of Western Dani

A grammar of Western Dani. By Peter Barclay Munich: Lincom Europa, 2008. Pp. xxiv, 646. ISBN 9783895862977. $187.60 (Hb).

Reviewed by Wolfgang Schulze, University of Munich

The Dani people figure among the most famous ethnic groups in the Indonesian province of Papua. There are some 300,000 Danis, most of whom speak Western Dani (about 200,000 people). Western Danis dwell on the northern slopes of the Star Mountains west of the Baliem Grand Valley and are marked for a well-studied and well-documented cultural tradition that is sometimes erroneously labeled as being especially archaic. The Dani language belongs to the southern division of the Dani-Kwerba stock, itself a part of the Trans-New Guinea Phylum. Today, Western Dani is a written language, as expressed by the fact that the entire Bible has been translated into this language. Although some brief descriptions of Western Dani are available, Peter Barclay’s voluminous grammar sets the knowledge about this language into a new dimension. The author, who has a long experience of living with Danis and who has acquired a profound knowledge of the language based on long-lasting fieldwork, exploits a wide range of (primarily) written sources in order to extract the Dani grammar. These sources include both recorded native texts and translations, mainly from the Bible and related texts.

B applies the standard descriptive tools to access the grammar of Western Dani. The description is theory-neutral to the extent ever possible and is also marked for a wide range of specific—but not to say idiosyncratic—glosses that reflect the categorical and functional specifics of this language.

B’s book, which is framed by four maps, a list of specific glosses, and a helpful bibliography, is divided into eleven sections. Chs. 1 and 11 are more essayistic in nature, discussing the sociolinguistics of the Western Danis as well as some methodological issues and prospects of research. The bulk of the book is made up of chapters that are devoted to the standard domains of linguistic description, namely, phonology, morphology, and syntax. Ch. 2 (13–41) extensively discusses the phonetics and morphophonology of Western Dani. The language is marked for heavy assimilatory processes that are present when lexical stems become suffixed, all of which are thoroughly described here. The brief Ch. 3 (42–49) introduces Dani word classes. Western Dani is marked for the typical features of head marking, attributing only few morphological categories to the nominal domain but making extensive use of morphology within verbs. Additionally, B discusses twelve more or less closed word classes such as adjectives, pronouns, and postpositions. Ch. 4 turns to the grammar of noun phrases (50–181), which includes a discussion of nouns themselves (e.g. cultural context, nominal derivation, possession, and compounding), pronouns and pronominal affixes, adjectives and their morphology, intensifiers, anaphoric references, demonstratives, relative clauses, postpositions, and conjunctions (in this order).

Chs. 5–7 (182–424) represent the heart of the book. Here, B skillfully describes the expressive world of Dani verb morphology. The Dani verb is marked for subject agreement, object agreement (if human), a complex system of modal categories heavily interacting with aspectual distinctions as well as localizing strategies and valency reducing devices. Ch. 5 also conveys information about semantic verb classes and includes the typical set of generic verbs used to derive verbal concepts. B also considers the paradigm of reduplication present not only with verbs but also with nouns. Ch. 6, which concentrates on the multiple techniques of marking objects on the verb, is a highlight of the chapters on verb morphology. Adverbs are discussed in Ch. 7, followed by an extremely useful chapter on expressions of time and place (Ch. 8; 425–64).

The remaining two chapters are devoted to syntax. Ch. 9 (465–86) briefly considers specifics of the simple sentence. However, much of what would be expected to be described in this chapter was already included in the preceding chapters on the verb. B thus confines himself to the presentation of verbless sentences, copula clauses, interrogation, imperatives, negation, and different types of exclamatory sentences, including greetings. Finally, Ch. 10 (487–634) is an impressive elaboration on the make-up of complex sentences, which range from complementation and coordination to clause chaining and subordination.

B’s description of Western Dani is more than just a grammatical description of the language. The author constantly refers to actual language use and frequently includes valuable information about cultural and regional aspects concerning the given usage of a term, construction, or paradigm. The linguistic information is presented in a very readable way, although readers will have to accustom themselves to the way B handles interlinear glosses. The fact that this volume lacks the presentation of a longer sample text does not harm the overall quality of the book. The many lengthy examples given by the author, especially in Chs. 6–10, compensate for this seeming deficiency. The theory-neutral approach guarantees that this book can be used by linguists from various theoretical backgrounds. Additionally, this volume may help to correct some prejudices about Western Dani that falsely relate this language to the notion of primitiveness.

Perspectives on Arabic linguistics

Perspectives on Arabic linguistics: Papers from the annual symposium on Arabic linguistics—Volume XXI: Provo, Utah, March 2007. Ed. by Dilworth B. Parkinson. (Current issues in linguistic theory 301.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2008. Pp. 206. ISBN 9789027248176. $165 (Hb).

Reviewed by Omaima Ayoub, Furqaan Academy

This volume includes nine papers that were presented at the Twenty-First Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics, which was held in 2007 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The papers examine authentic data and cover a variety of topics in Arabic linguistics but have a considerable focus on pragmatics.

Zina Saadi’s contribution entitled ‘Orthographic unicode variations in Arabic: A case study of character occurrences in news corpora’ examines the problem caused by writers of Arabic who choose different Unicode characters to represent a particular Arabic letter, and the impact of this problem on the field of natural language processing. After demonstrating that there are three types of orthographic variations in Arabic Unicode, she calls for normalizing such variations in processed texts to reduce dictionary lookup errors.

In ‘Toward an LFG account of agreement mismatches of numerals within Arabic NPs’ Kamel Elsaadany adopts a lexical functional grammar approach in his investigation and supports the implementation of the INDEX versus CONCORD analysis over the two-tier approach in accounting for agreement mismatches in Standard Arabic noun phrases that contain numerals.

In ‘A text-pragmatic approach to moot questions in Arabic’ Reda Mahmoud analyzes a corpus of more than 400 moot questions collected from thirty-six arguments that took place on Arabic television programs. Mahmoud examines syntactic, lexical, and pragmatic features of these moot questions and concludes that the moderator uses them to stimulate more debate between the two participants on the show.

Mustapha Mughazy’s ‘The pragmatics of denial: An information structure analysis of so-called ‘emphatic negation’ in Egyptian Arabic’ argues that emphatic negation is a pragmatic feature for denial in contrast to plain negation in Egyptian Arabic.

Jonathan Owens and Trent Rockwood’s ‘Yaʕni: What it (really) means’ examines the contextual meanings of the Arabic discourse marker yaʕni in a fairly large corpus of data to determine what it actually means in usage. The authors conclude that the meaning of yaʕni resides in its discourse organizing function.

In ‘Citations in Arabic legal opinion: Iftaa versus qadaaAhmed Fakhry offers a valuable contribution on how cultural, rhetorical, and thought patterns are embedded into Arabic texts through a comparison of the legal language of religious and secular judges in Morocco.

Abderrahmane Zouhir’s ‘Language policy and factors influencing it in some Middle Eastern countries and Morocco’ describes the complex relations between cultural, historical, religious, and political ideologies and language policies in Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco. Zouhir argues that identical policies work out differently according to varying forces in each country.

Selim Ben Said’s ‘The perception of Arab-accented speech by American native speakers and non-native speakers from East and South-East Asia’ examines attitudes to accented speech from a sociolinguistic perspective. The author analyzes data on the perception of Arab-accented speech (compared to Latino, East European, and Asian accented English) by native speakers of American English.

Finally, in ‘Linguistic losses in the translation of Arabic literary texts’, Hanada Al-Masri examines a number of short story translations from a semiotic/pragmatic perspective and illustrates the types of losses that occur in the translated text.

Key terms in syntax and syntactic theory

Key terms in syntax and syntactic theory. By Silvia Luraghi and Claudia Parodi. New York: Continuum, 2008. Pp. 265. ISBN 9780826496553. $120 (Hb).

Reviewed by Omaima Ayoub, Furqaan Academy

In a dictionary-like format, Silvia Luraghi and Claudia Parodi present an easily accessible reference book that can be used for both self-study and supplementary material in syntax courses. Both linguistics scholars and students will find this book to be an accessibly written summary of the history and development of the field of syntax from the seventeenth century through the present day. However, it does not only outline key syntactic theories and supply definitions of key syntactic terms but also provides a brief account of key thinkers in the field of syntax. Divided into five chapters, the book offers an exhaustive survey of the key syntactic theories, terms, thinkers, and texts that readers will encounter in the linguistic literature.

The introduction offers a brief historical sketch that traces the development of syntactic theory through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and surveys the contemporary theories within the field of syntax. Starting with early schools of syntactic thought such as the grammaire general of Port-Royal, the Prague School, glossematics, and then moving to American structuralism, transformational generative grammar, systemic grammar, functional grammar, and generative semantics, the authors briefly discuss the current approaches to syntax such as cognitive grammar, systemic functional grammar, West Coast functionalism, and the functional-typological approach. L&P conclude their introduction by saying that cognitive grammar and functionalism together provide the most complete theoretical alternative to transformational generative grammar.

In the next two chapters, ‘Key theories’ and ‘Key thinkers’, L&P offer more details about these theories. Alphabetically—not chronologically—ordered, ‘Key theories’ briefly outlines twenty six syntactic theories through the use of tables, diagrams, trees, and examples in English as well as several other languages (accompanied by word-for-word translations and grammatical glosses). Some of the theories included in this chapter are: case grammar, dependency grammar, the minimalist program, and optimality theory. The chapter on ‘Key thinkers’ provides profiles of pioneer linguists in both historical and contemporary theories of syntax, including Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky, Joseph Greenberg, Michael Halliday, and George Lakoff. Each entry in this chapter concludes with a list of relevant texts intended for further reading.

‘Key Terms’, which occupies over half of the book’s pages, offers a comprehensive survey of 250 key terms that are currently being used in syntax, including clitic, auxiliary, anaphora, oblique, modification, wh-movement, dislocation, ellipsis, node, voice, and so on. Once again, these terms are alphabetically ordered and illustrated by tables, diagrams, trees, and examples in English as well as several other languages (and are also accompanied by word-for-word translations and grammatical glosses). The complicated terms covered in this chapter are presented with an accessible approach that should appeal to both scholars and students within the field of linguistics. The book concludes with a list of key readings that is intended to direct readers towards further study.

Overall, Key terms in syntax and syntactic theory is a valuable contribution to readers interested in linguistics in general and syntax in particular.

Advanced media Arabic

Advanced media Arabic. By El Mustapha Lahlali. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008. Pp. 292. ISBN 9781589012202. $34.95.

Reviewed by Omaima Ayoub, Furqaan Academy

Advanced media Arabic is a textbook to be used in advanced Arabic as a second language courses. Through its extensive use of authentic Arabic media materials, it will help learners to sharpen their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, with a focus on analytical and translation skills. By introducing recent authentic texts and audio files, this textbook not only eliminates the need for any auxiliary material but also enables advanced learners of Arabic to learn about the Arab world through the lens of the Arabic media. Thus, students are able to enhance their knowledge of Arabic language and culture in addition to their critical thinking and language learning skills.

This textbook is organized into ten modules: ‘Diplomacy’, ‘Elections’, ‘Violence and anarchy’, ‘War and military action’, ‘Economy’, ‘Law and order’, ‘Trade and industry’, ‘Natural disasters’, ‘War on terrorism’, and ‘Arabic TV extracts’. Each module includes reading texts, vocabulary lists, comprehension questions, examples of language in context, and discussion and debate prompts as well as writing, listening, and translation exercises. Within each module, students are provided with a variety of drills and exercises that are intended to develop confidence in practicing basic language skills thus promoting mastery of Arabic media language.

Divided into a number of smaller units, each module offers learners a glossary for each media text as well as a supplementary glossary at the end of the book. These glossaries should prove to be invaluable in expanding learners’ word repertoires. Moreover, learners’ vocabulary building skills can be polished through the multiple translation and writing exercises provided with each text. Similarly, students’ speaking skills can be enhanced by the discussion and debate prompts that allow an examination of current affairs. In this way, this textbook meets the current call for a closer look into the troubled area of the Middle East. Additionally, intensive 60-minute listening materials from prominent Arabic channels (e.g. BBC Arabic, Aljazeera) are made available for free to teachers and students on the website of Georgetown University Press. These up-to-date authentic materials are intended to familiarize students with Arabic talk shows and the latest news items.

Advanced media Arabic is a valuable textbook that provides advanced learners of Arabic as a second language with a wide array of authentic media Arabic texts and audio files that should not only educate learners about the Arab world media but also enhance their Arabic reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Lexical cohesion and corpus linguistics

Lexical cohesion and corpus linguistics. Ed. by John Flowerdew and Michaela Mahlberg. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. 124. ISBN 9789027222312. $120 (Hb).

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, Sabanci University Writing Center, Turkey

This volume is a compilation of six papers originally published in the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics in 2006, which had been presented previously at the conference Teaching and Language Corpora in Spain in 2004. These papers cover a diverse field of spoken and written language, with a preponderance of academic language and newspaper language corpora.

In the first paper, John Morely shows in his newspaper corpus study how lexical cohesion can help structure discourse. He begins by illustrating how headlines can indicate lexical fields—and occasionally even the argumentation—that the following article will contain. He then moves on to lexical phrases in the body of the text, such as in theory and in the past, and illustrates how these phrases function as discourse markers, or predictors, providing potentially useful clues to the reader regarding how the text will unfold.

Hilary Nesi and Helen Basturkmen examine how the use of four-word lexical bundles (e.g. what I want to, a little bit of, in terms of the) in university lectures differs from other registers. The authors discuss their contribution to discourse cohesion and illustrate the discourse signaling role these bundles play in lectures. While it may be true, as the authors maintain, that these bundles constitute features that may warrant greater attention in didactic materials, it is questionable as to whether learners are necessarily likely to be without implicit knowledge of the function of such bundles. Allowing for cross-linguistic differences, learners arguably may well transfer their comprehension of such structures from other languages they may use. Nevertheless, much is still to be learned with regard to how learners identify and process such bundles.

Martin Warren investigates the communicative role of prominence using a spoken corpus of job placement interviews. His analysis reveals that the usual prominence given to lexical items may on occasion be transferred to function words in certain contexts of interaction, highlighting the context-dependent nature of prominence. Winnie Cheng discusses a corpus-driven approach to describing lexical items. By looking at patterns of coselection in the most frequently occurring words in a corpus of speeches relating to the SARS crisis, she demonstrates the dynamic and genre-specific nature of semantic prosody.

Using a written corpus of second language learning students’ texts, John Flowerdew demonstrates how signaling (or shell) nouns contribute to textual coherence. He also shows that students who made accurate use of such nouns tended to achieve a higher grade on their papers. The examples of student work illuminate the problems second language learning writers have in grappling with this means of discourse signaling in complex sentences. Finally, Michaela Mahlberg reflects on the interface between lexical and grammatical cohesion and how cohesion may be approached in the context of classroom language teaching.

The studies in this text support the application of corpus-driven research to language acquisition contexts. The broad selection of topics and the variety of corpora used in the studies constitute an additional feature of interest. It is a text that will respond to the needs of postgraduate students and scholars.