Monthly Archives: May 2010

Literacy: An introduction

Literacy: An introduction. By Randal Holme. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004. Pp. xii, 272. ISBN 9780748616893. $34.22.

Reviewed by Bojana Petrić, Eötvös Loránd University

With the proliferation of various kinds of literacies, such as computer or visual literacy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand what constitutes literacy. Aiming to provide a comprehensive introduction, Randal Holme discusses various perspectives on literacy and its numerous facets. He explores four aspects of literacy: its socio-economic nature (Part 1), literacy as a sign system (Part 2), literacy as a particular type of language use (Part 3), and literacy as a mental construct (Part 4).

Part i, ‘The socio-economic nature of literacy’ (11–95), overviews functional and critical models of literacy (Chs. 1 and 2) and the concept of socially embedded literacy practices (Ch. 3). Not subscribing to any single perspective, H explains the foundations, major tenets, and problems associated with each. Ch. 4 focuses on language choice for literacy in multilingual communities and touches, among others, on issues of minority rights, linguistic imperialism, and biliteracy.

Part 2, ‘Sign’ (99–150), starts with a theoretical introduction to the concept of sign, its nature and types (Ch. 5), and goes on to discuss types of writing systems (Ch. 6), the evolution of writing systems (Ch. 7), and the nature of writing (Ch. 8), which addresses controversial issues related to writing, such as to what extent writing derives from speaking.

In Part 3, ‘The language of literacy’ (153–94), H first outlines the differences between speech and writing (Chs. 9 and 10) and then focuses on written language in social context, explaining the concepts of genre, register, and grammatical metaphor (Ch. 11). As in Part 1, here, too, sample text analysis helps clarify the concepts explained.

In Part 4, ‘Literacy as mind’ (198–232), H outlines Vygotsky’s socio-historical theory of mind, explaining concepts such as scaffolding and zone of proximal development (Ch. 12). In Ch. 13, H discusses the ‘great divide’ between literate and illiterate societies, arguing that literacy practice is both a result of cognitive activity and its cause, and is also shaped by other social practices. Ch. 14 brings an overview of cognitive theories, focusing on the concepts of frame, script, and schema, and the ways in which they relate to literacy. In the concluding remarks (Ch. 15), H states that although the different perspectives presented in the book may seem incompatible, it would be wrong to reduce literacy to a single aspect. He concludes that literacy should be viewed as ‘interaction of social practice and mind through the medium of sign’ (239).

Written in accessible language with numerous textual and visual illustrations, and equipped with exercises in each chapter and a glossary, this book is particularly suitable for students and teachers of linguistics. Without presuming previous knowledge, the book provides explanations of not only concepts central to the study of literacy but also terms from other related fields that students are likely to encounter in discussions of literacy, such as postmodernism or social construction. Theoretical explanations are interspersed with numerous historical and cultural references, ranging from modernist architecture to the rise of recreational letter writing in the eighteenth century, which makes the book a goldmine of interesting detail.

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Ket. By Edward J. Vajda. (Languages of the world/materials 204.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2004. Pp. 99. ISBN 9783895862212. €44.

Reviewed by Jason Brown, University of British Columbia

The last remaining member of the Yeneseic family, Ket is a language spoken in north central Siberia. In this volume, Edward Vajda’s grammar examines the phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon of Ket.

Ket has a system of five phonemic tones (glottalized, falling, high-even, rising-falling, and rising-high-falling) that are historically derived from simplified consonant articulations. Phonetically, the tonal prosody of Ket is based on the number of syllables in a word, the tonal melody, the voice quality, the vowel duration, and the vowel quality. Additionally, Ket has seven vowels (after tonal effects are controlled for), twelve consonants, and several active phonological processes such as palatalization, voicing and devoicing, and spirantization.

Ket nominal morphology consists primarily of suffixation. Because the language has few derivational affixes, new nouns are usually formed through compounding. Every noun belongs to a gender (masculine, feminine, neuter) and animacy (animate, inanimate) class. Additionally, Ket has a rich system of twelve cases.

The verbal morphology of Ket can be quite complex. The verbal inflectional categories consist of tense, mood, and agreement marking. Several productive subject-object agreement patterns exist: nouns and verbs are both inflectionally marked. V describes the productive derivational categories including causatives, iteratives (i.e. semelfactives), and inceptives (i.e. inchoatives).

Finite verbal morphemes are made up of bases and incorporates, although there are also lexical affixes such as adpositions and a durative marker. Additionally, there is a class of pseudo-actant markers, which resemble agreement affixes but do not cross-reference an argument. Rather, these affixes mark valency-change (i.e. applicative, an involuntary causative) and heightened intensity (i.e. iterativity). Unproductive uses of pseudo-actant markers also occur in Ket.

V discusses the morphosyntactic properties of verb stems and verbal modifiers. Although the form of some infinitive stems of verbal modifiers can be traced to their finite counterparts, many others are suppletive and differ altogether from the finite forms.

A head-final language, Ket’s word order is subject-object-verb. V outlines both simple and complex sentences (e.g. coordination, subordination) as well as the use of particles and interjections. He also includes a chapter dedicated to the semantics of the lexicon. The book concludes with a Ket text complete with interlinear glosses and a translation.

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How to use corpora in language teaching

How to use corpora in language teaching. Ed. by John McH. Sinclair. (Studies in corpus linguistics 12.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004. Pp. 308. ISBN 1588114910. $54.

Reviewed by David Oakey, University of Birmingham

Language educators often view corpus evidence of language use as having limited applicability to language teaching. The examples presented are often seen as too detailed, too abstract, or just too difficult for language teachers and learners who are not used to encountering natural language out of context. In an attempt to correct this impression, John Sinclair, famous for his lexicographical work with COBUILD and the corpus now known as the Bank of English, has produced a collection of papers that sets out how insights from corpus research can be applied to language teaching.

The first two chapters deal with the use of corpus data to raise language awareness. Silvia Bernardini outlines an inductive approach on a course for student translators that she terms ‘discovery learning’, while Amy Tsui describes a project in which answers to nonnative English speaking teachers’ questions about the English language, such as the difference between tall and high, were provided with reference to a corpus.

The next five chapters mainly contrast new, corpus-derived insights about language with the linguistic items presented to learners in language learning textbooks. Susan Conrad compares the use of though as a linking adverbial in different registers with how it is taught in ‘general’ English textbooks, and then presents a multidimensional comparison of the spoken language of class sessions with a lecture in an EAP textbook. Anna Mauranen notes different formulaic expressions used by native and nonnative speakers of English, and calls for the construction of ‘English as a lingua franca’ corpora, which more accurately reflect the use of English around the world. In contrast, Gyula Tankó presents a comparative study on how the use of adverbial connectors in a corpus of learner argumentative writing ‘deviates’ from the uses found in a corpus of native speaker writing. Nadja Nesselhauf provides an in-depth survey of learner corpora with an example of data-driven learning. Ute Römer also presents a comparative study, this time between how modal auxiliaries are taught in German EFL textbooks and how they are used in British English corpora.

The next three papers concentrate on the technical aspects of retrieving and manipulating electronic corpus data. Michael Barlow shows how software can provide different perspectives from which a corpus can be viewed, while Pernilla Danielsson provides Perl scripts with which to perform simple corpus-tidying operations such as tokenizing and splitting. Pascual Perez-Paredes describes the possibilities offered by making learner oral corpora accessible on networked computers in language laboratories, and finally John Sinclair examines four ‘pseudo-problematic’ areas of language: ambiguity, variation, terminology, and incompleteness of description.

In all, the papers in this collection are relevant and timely, and the book contains much to interest language teachers and researchers alike.

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Timbisha (Panamint)

Timbisha (Panamint). By John E. McLaughlin. (Languages of the world/materials 453.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2006. Pp. 65. ISBN 9783895862427. €39.

Reviewed by Jason Brown, University of British Columbia

Timbisha, a Uto-Aztecan language of the Numic family, is traditionally spoken in the area of Death Valley, California and in adjacent portions of Nevada. It is closely related to Shoshone. This grammar, which focuses primarily on phonology and morphology, represents several years of John E. McLaughlin’s work on the Timbisha language.

Timbisha has a series of voiceless stops in the underlying phonemic inventory that exhibit interesting allophonic alternations. For example, stop, nasal, and affricate segments show allophonic distinctions in spirantized (initial or intervocalic), geminated (intervocalic), preaspirated (between a /h/ and a vowel), and nasalized series (between a homorganic nasal and a vowel). Stem-final segments are restricted to vowels, /n/, /h/, geminates, and glottal stops. Stem-final consonants often delete preceding /s/, /h/, or a vowel.

Timbisha exhibits morphological marking of number (e.g. singular, dual, plural) and case (e.g. nominative, accusative, possessive) on nominals. A set of what are known as absolutive suffixes mark nominals, although these suffixes no longer encode the usual absolutive function discussed in the ergative literature. Nominal predication, the pronominals (e.g. personal, demonstrative, reflexive, interrogative, indefinite), and adjectives are also discussed.

In the chapter on adverbials, M focuses on sentence particles, which are used to express interrogatives, quotatives, and ‘not’. These particles are typically found in the second position of the sentence.

Verbal morphology is perhaps the most morphologically complex domain of Timbisha. This area includes prefixes (e.g. instrumental), noun incorporation, verb stem modifications (e.g. suppletive number forms, gemination for marking duration or habitual activities, and reduplication for expressing repetition), secondary verbs, prefinal suffixes (which differ from secondary verbs in that they are not derived from lexical verbs), and finally, nominalizing, directional, tense and aspect, imperative, and number suffixes.

Although Timbisha word order is relatively free, subject-object-verb order is most common. In subordinate clauses, the subject of the main clause comes first, then the subordinate clause, followed by the object, and finally, the verb of the main clause. Uto-Aztecan languages such as Timbisha often mark switch reference in subordinate clauses. A same-subject marker is used for situations in which the subjects of both clauses refer to the same individual; a different-subject marker is used when the two subjects are different in reference. Switch reference has two different morphological forms that also mark temporality.

Overall, this book provides an excellent overview of Timbisha phonology and morphology.

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Formulaic sequences

Formulaic sequences: Acquisition, processing and use. Ed. by Norbert Schmitt. (Language learning & language teaching 9.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004. Pp. 304. ISBN 1588115003. $54.

Reviewed by David Oakey, University of Birmingham

Formulaic sequences have a precise, if elastic, definition: ‘a sequence, continuous or discontinuous, of words or other meaning elements, which is, or appears to be, prefabricated: that is, stored and retrieved whole from memory at the time of use, rather than being subject to generation or analysis by the language grammar’ (Wray, Alison. 1999: Formulaic language in learners and native speakers. Language teaching 32.4.214). The written and spoken formulaic sequences studied in Formulaic sequences: Acquisition, processing and use range from you know to something like that to I don’t know what to do.

Norbert Schmitt and Robert Carter, in their wide-ranging overview of the field in the introductory chapter to this book, make no claim as to the status of formulaic sequences in any mentalist theories of language, but argue that the ubiquity of these units in language data suggests that their cognitive role—in first and second language acquisition, reception, and production—is an important one. The papers in this collection draw on research methods from the fields of corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics, as discussed in the chapter by John Read and Paul Nation, to add weight to this claim.

The chapter by Schmitt, Zoltán Dörnyei, Svenja Adolphs, and Valerie Durow presents the results of a longitudinal study that measured the acquisition of receptive and productive knowledge of formulaic sequences by second language learners. Martha A. Jones and Sandra Haywood measure in more detail the awareness and production of formulaic sequences by learners of academic English. Two chapters examine the relationship between the acquisition of formulaic sequences and the extent to which learners of English studying in the UK can become socially integrated with the ‘host’ culture. Dörnyei, Durow, and Khawla Zahran describe a qualitative study, while the chapter by Adolphs and Durow uses a more quantitative approach. All these studies conclude that raising learners’ awareness of target formulaic sequences increases their ability to recognize—but not necessarily use—these items.

The next chapters describe attempts to measure the cognitive processing of spoken and written formulaic sequences. For a frequently recurring cluster of words to be termed a formulaic sequence, it needs to be shown that it is ‘stored’ as a holistic unit in the minds of proficient language users. Schmitt, Sarah Grandage, and Adolphs attempt to do this by comparing native and nonnative speakers’ use of formulaic sequences in a dictation recall task, while the chapters by Geoffrey Underwood, Schmitt, and Adam Galpin and by Schmitt and Underwood analyze, using different tools, how readers process a written text ‘seeded’ with target formulaic sequences.

Two chapters look at formulaic sequences in languages other than English. An unusually wide comparison is made by Carol Spöttl and Michael McCarthy, who compare knowledge of formulaic sequences across L1, L2, L3, and L4, while Alison Wray measures the acquisition of Welsh formulaic sequences by a learner of Welsh. The chapter by Koenraad Kuiper sits less well with the others, but provides a detailed account of how ballad singers, auctioneers, and sports commentators use formulaic sequences in the acquisition of their respective oral traditions.

Although slightly repetitive in places—every chapter starts by citing important prior research that has already been introduced in the first chapter—this collection is a valuable addition to the fields of language description, acquisition, and phraseology.

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Diachronic change in Erzya word stress

Diachronic change in Erzya word stress. By Dennis Estill. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society, 2004. Pp. 249. ISBN 9789525150803. $52.99.

Reviewed by Jason Brown, University of British Columbia

This book presents a study of word stress in Erzya, a Mordvin (Finno-Ugric) language. Erzya seems to have a unique stress system, exemplified by features such as doubly-accented words and the variable placement of stress even within the same word. In the related language Moksha, stress is more stable. In this analysis of word stress in Erzya, Dennis Estill compares productions of present-day speakers of the language with data from the eighteenth century-to determine what the word-stress system was like historically, what it is like today, and if the system has changed over time.

An analysis of several eighteenth century documents including the Damaskin dictionaries (1785) and a short catechism from 1788 revealed that the second syllable was stressed fairly consistently and that long words often demonstrated right-headed features. Descriptions of Moksha echo this analysis.

E compared these findings with pronunciations of the same documents by present-day speakers of Erzya as well as some material collected in the 1980s. These productions were analyzed along the same parameters as the eighteenth century data. Additionally, to isolate correlates of word-stress such as fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration, an acoustic analysis was performed. E’s results suggest that, in contrast to the Erzya of 200 years ago, modern Erzya stress tends to be on or near the first, rather than the second, syllable. This tendency was observed in approximately three of four words, although the stress pattern was variable: any lexical item could be pronounced with stress on the first syllable or not, depending on the reading. Additionally, the acoustic analysis demonstrated that, although word stress may be influenced by intensity and duration, sentential stress may be determined by fundamental frequency. Several appendices display the data and the measurements.

E discusses the implications of his analyses on Proto-Uralic word stress. Stress placement in Proto-Mordvin has traditionally been believed to have been on the first syllable. Given the current findings, previous analyses may need revision.

E concludes that Erzya has a type of preferential stress system in which stress assignment is left to the preference of each speaker. Although the sentence stress data is limited, E also speculates about the way sentence stress may affect word stress in the language.

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Voice and grammatical relations

Voice and grammatical relations: In honor of Masayoshi Shibatani. Ed. by Tasaku Tsunoda and Taro Kageyama. (Typological studies in language 65.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. xviii, 342. ISBN 9027229767. $188 (Hb).

Reviewed by Heiko Narrog, Tohoku University

Masayoshi Shibatani is probably the best-known Japanese linguist internationally. He built his reputation in the 1970s mainly with research related to grammatical voice and has continued his investigations in this field. It is thus entirely fitting that a Festschrift dedicated to him should bear the title Voice and grammatical relations. It is also fitting that many of the contributions deal with South, East, and Southeast Asian languages, since these are the language areas on which his typological research has concentrated. The list of contributors contains many familiar names from the fields of functional and typological research.

Kenneth William Cook describes a particle in Hawaiian that can denote both passive and imperative (1–14). Talmy Givón and Boniface Kawasha deal with the Lunda passive, which superficially appears to be a purely promotional passive, but where a deeper analysis reveals subject properties in the nonagent topic (15–41). Peter E. Hook and Omkar N. Koul discuss valency sets in Kashmiri, where morphological causatives behave in similar ways to phrasal causatives in other languages (43–84). In ‘Property description as a voice phenomenon’ (85–114), Taro Kageyama investigates the relation between valence change (voice) and stativization, drawing mainly on data from Japanese and English. Based on his framework of cognitive grammar, Ronald W. Langacker analyzes the parameters along which voice constructions vary and how they relate to one another (115–37).

Randy J. LaPolla focuses on grammatical relations as constraints on referent identification and advances the argument that there is no category of subject across languages (139–51). Christian Lehmann reviews a number of subfields of participation, and shows how languages vary in their choice of which participant roles are coded and privileged in contrast to others (153–74). Elena Maslova investigates case-marking splits conditioned by focus structure in Yukaghir and Dogon (175–94). Marianne Mithun demonstrates how in Mohawk there are a number of robust voice constructions, but no category of ‘subject’ or a grammatically most prominent constituent at all. The notion of voice and grammatical relations such as subject and object is therefore claimed to be nonessential to an understanding of voice (195–216).

Vladimir P. Nedjalkov describes reciprocals in Chukchi, which exhibits the rare phenomenon of having two monosemous productive reciprocal markers, and compares them with Koryak and Itelmen reciprocals (217–46). Frans Plank shows how in German, comitative constructions with intransitive symmetric predicates can be extended to transitive verbs, thereby replacing reflexive or reflexive-reciprocal pronouns (247–70). Vera I. Podlesskaya examines the grammaticalization of ‘give’ verbs in Russian, particularly in hortative and permissive constructions (271–98). The last article of the collection, by Tasaku Tsunoda, deals with reflexive and middle constructions in Warrungu (299–333), relating them to Suzanne Kemmer’s crosslinguistic study of middle constructions and John Haiman’s principle of economic motivation.  Language, name, and subject indices round out the volume.

All articles feature original research and pose some theoretical questions beyond the immediate descriptive concern. The number of typos varies notably by author and article, suggesting a low degree of interference by the editors with the manuscripts. It is said that publishers have become increasingly wary of producing Festschrift-like publications. This one should reward both the publisher and the reader with an interest in the topics covered here.

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Mexican indigenous languages at the dawn of the twenty-first century

Mexican indigenous languages at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Ed. by Maragrita Hidalgo. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006. Pp. xi, 382. ISBN 9783110185973. $132.30 (Hb).

Reviewed by Rusty Barrett, University of Kentucky

A collection of essays that explore the history and current status of the indigenous languages of Mexico, this book begins with a prologue in which Margarita Hidalgo frames the sociopolitical aspects of language maintenance in terms of three points in recent Mexican history: (i) the student movement of 1968, (ii) electoral reform of the late 1980’s, and (iii) the Chiapas insurrection and the assassination of the institutional revolutionary party (PRI) presidential candidate in 1994. Hidalgo argues that these three historical moments are critical in understanding both the state of indigenous languages and changes in language policy.

Section 1 covers history and theory. In Ch. 1, Hidalgo outlines the theoretical framework of the volume: Joshua Fishman’s research on reversing language shift and the graded intergenerational disrupted scale (GIDS) model (Reversing language shift: Theory and practice of assistance to threatened languages. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters, 1991). Hidalgo then extends this analysis, using the three historical events and the GIDS model to frame the remaining chapters.

The next three chapters present historical studies of language issues in Mexico. In Ch. 2, Claudia Parodi discusses colonial policies of Indianization in the colonial period. Parodi uses the GIDS model to analyze language shift during this era, concluding that the GIDS model should be extended to include a substrate stage in which a minority language is no longer spoken but continues to have cultural and linguistic influence. In Ch. 3, Margarita Hidalgo discusses efforts to reverse language shift during the colonial period. Following Fishman’s work, Hidalgo analyzes domains of language use and discusses the ways in which religious conversion contributed to the use of indigenous languages in written domains. In Ch. 4, Margarita Hidalgo discusses socio-historical factors of language maintenance in twentieth century Mexico. She presents demographic data from Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) studies and concludes with a detailed discussion of recent historical events in Chiapas, focusing on how these events lead to the emergence of bilingualism with language maintenance.

Section 2 includes three chapters on language policy. In Ch. 5, Dora Pellicer, Bárbara Cifuentes, and Carmen Herrera discuss the legislation of language policy in contemporary Mexico. F. Daniel Althoff compares language policy in the United States and Mexico in Ch. 6. In Ch. 7, Bárbara Cifuentes and José Luis Moctezuma present census data from 1970–2000 to examine the impact of language policy on indigenous communities.

Section 3 examines bilingualism and bilingual education. In Ch. 8, Jaquline Messing and Elsie Rockwell examine local revitalization efforts among Mexicano (Nahuatl) speakers in the state of Tlaxcala, presenting an interesting update of the region studied by Jane Hill and Kenneth Hill (Speaking Mexicano: Dynamics of syncretic language in Central Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986). Messing and Rockwell argue that, although bilingual education has been quite limited, the use of Mexicano in schools has led to ideological shifts that have assisted in additional revitalization efforts. In Ch. 9, Barbara Pfeiler and Lenka Zámišová compare the effectiveness of various bilingual education programs in Yucatec Maya communities. In Ch. 10, José Antonio Flores Farfán discusses the development of culturally-sensitive educational materials for Nahuatl speakers. Dora Pellicer (Ch. 11) uses both the GIDS model and ethnographic research on language use and language ideology to examine bilingual strategies in speakers of Mazahua. The volume concludes with Margarita Hidalgo’s summary of the history and current state of indigenous languages in Mexico. Additionally, Hidalgo discusses her thoughts on the prospects for language maintenance in the future.

This volume includes a wealth of detailed information on indigenous languages of Mexico and important theoretical examinations of Fishman’s GIDS model. It will be a useful resource for linguists interested in these languages as well as those interested in language maintenance and shift.

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Aspektualität ohne Aspekt?

Aspektualität ohne Aspekt? Progressivität und Imperfektivität im Deutschen und Schwedischen. By Henrik Henriksson. (Lunder germanistische Forschungen 68.) Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2006. Pp. 159. ISBN 9122021507. €24.30.

Reviewed by Heiko Narrog, Tohoku University

It is a well-known fact that among the Germanic languages only English has developed a truly grammaticalized progressive. The other languages have what are sometimes labeled as ‘progressive markers’, as opposed to the ‘progressive form’ of English. Furthermore, aspectual distinctions in the lexicon as systematic as those in Russian are also absent. It is thus generally assumed that the Germanic languages are not ‘aspect languages’, with the possible, but dubious exception of English. Henriksson’s book, originally his doctoral dissertation, deals with aspectual expressions mainly in German, and, for comparative purposes, in Swedish, against the background of the grammatically more developed aspectual systems in Russian and English.

After an introduction, H contrasts the concepts of ‘aspectuality’ and ‘aspect’ in general linguistics in Ch. 2. In Ch. 3, H discusses the internal structure of aspectuality, suggesting a two-dimensional model with four situation types (states, activities, accomplishments, and achievements) and two ‘perspectives’ (Blickwinkel)—the imperfective and the perfective. The ‘progressive’, then, is a subtype of the imperfective perspective.

In Ch. 4, H compares the expression of imperfectivity vs. perfectivity in German and Swedish. The author shows that, while both languages have no grammatical category exclusively dedicated to the expression of aspectual perspective, tense distinctions, temporal adverbs, and sometimes articles and light verb constructions may serve to express aspectual distinctions. Ch. 5 analyzes progressive markers in German and Swedish, showing that markers in both languages are not yet fully grammaticalized, but that the Swedish markers have proceeded further than their German counterparts, as reflected in less grammatical and stylistic constraints of their use, and, consequently, a higher frequency of use. It should be mentioned here that concerning the progressive markers in German, a considerably more detailed study was published in 2002 (Progressiv im Deutschen. Eine empirische Untersuchung im Kontrast mit Niederländisch und Englisch, by Olaf Krause). H’s work nevertheless deserves attention since it manages to frame the issue of grammaticalizing progressive markers in Germanic languages in a broader perspective of aspectuality and imperfectivity. H’s argumentation and style of writing is straightforward and clear, resulting in a contribution to the issue under discussion which is both valid and highly readable.

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Handbook of pragmatics

Handbook of pragmatics: 2006 installment. Ed. by Jeff Verschueren and Jan-Ola Östman. (Handbook of pragmatics 10.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. vi, 500. ISBN 9789027232359. $188.

Reviewed by Eric A. Anchimbe, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Although there are other competing handbooks of pragmatics on the market, this series is unique in that it brings together leading experts in the field and focuses on both traditional and emerging subdisciplines of pragmatics. Published in yearly installments, the Handbook of pragmatics has catered to linguists’ needs by providing a forum for new ideas that may have initially been treated as marginal. An association with the International Pragmatics Association has helped this series maintain a high standard within the field. Now also available online, the accessibility of this series is optimal: the loose-leaf format makes revised versions of older entries, updates, and new entries easier to retain in an organized manner.

The 2006 installment follows the overall purpose of the series, which is to ‘search for coherence, in the sense of cross-disciplinary intelligibility, in this necessarily interdisciplinary field of scholarship’ as described by Jeff Verschueren in the introductory chapter of the Handbook of pragmatics: Manual (Jan Ola Östman & Jan Blommaert [eds.], Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1995). The eighteen contributions in this installment investigate issues that range from traditional pragmatic notions such as speech act theory and conversation analysis to less studied topics such as interjections. Divided into three sections, this installment contains an updated users’ guide that replaces the 2005 version completely, the traditional updates section consisting of revisions of core notions and frameworks in pragmatics, and the handbook A–Z.

There are seven contributions in the traditional updates section: ‘Analytical philosophy’ (Marina Sbisà), ‘Applied linguistics’ (Britt-Louise Gunnarsson), ‘Conversation analysis’ (Rebecca Clift, Paul Drew, and Ian Hutchby), ‘Creole linguistics’ (Pieter Muysken and Genevieve Escure), ‘Critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis’ (Ruth Wodak), ‘Speech act theory’ (Marina Sbisà), and ‘Structuralism’ (Jürgen Van de Walle, Dominique Willems, and Klaas Willems).

The remaining eleven entries are in the handbook proper and include: ‘Communication’ (Peter Harder), ‘Cultural scripts’ (Cliff Goddard), ‘Default interpretations’ (Katarzyna M. Jaszczolt), ‘Gender’ (Robin T. Lakoff), ‘Historical pragmatics’ (Andreas H. Jucker), ‘Interactional linguistics’ (Jan Lindström), ‘Interjections’ (Felix K. Ameka and David P. Wilkins), ‘Negation’ (Matti Miestamo), ‘Repair’ (Jack Sidnell), ‘Sequence’ (Jack Sidnell), and ‘Truthfulness’ (Jocelyne V. Marrelli).

The contributions in this installment present both general overviews of particular fields and detailed discussions of specific topics, which focus on state-of-the-art advances and recently developed areas of research. The combination of expert and introductory knowledge allows specialists in pragmatics as well as students and beginners in the field to be comfortable reading the articles. The contributors seem to keep in mind the Handbook’s definition of pragmatics as ‘the cognitive, social, and cultural study of language and communication’ (Jeff Verschueren, Handbook of pragmatics: Manual). Written in a clear style and with suitable illustrations, the Handbook of pragmatics adds an invaluable wealth of research to the field and should occupy a favored position on syllabi and reading lists for pragmatics courses.

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