Monthly Archives: September 2010

The linguistics student’s handbook

The linguistics student’s handbook. By Laurie Bauer. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008. Pp. 387. ISBN 9780748627585. $90 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ashley Lober, The University of Texas at Arlington

Laurie Bauer has produced an easily accessible resource for students of linguistics that introduces the basics of the field. This volume contains six thematically arranged parts. Part 1, ‘Some fundamentals of linguistics’ (1–92), contains fifteen chapters that provide explanations of basic concepts such as ‘Language’, ‘Accent, dialect, variety’, ‘Linguistics’, ‘Grammar’, ‘Parts of speech’, ‘Rules’, ‘The Saussurean dichotomies’, ‘Chomsky’s influence’, ‘Form and function’, ‘Contrast and substitution’, ‘Binarity’, ‘Trees’, ‘State versus process’, ‘Native speaker’, and ‘The data of linguistics’. Each chapter concludes with a list of references.

Part 2, ‘Notation and terminology’ (95–123), contains four chapters. Ch. 16, ‘Notational conventions’, and Ch. 17, ‘Frequent abbreviations and initialisms’, provide an introduction to the most frequent symbols and abbreviations that students are likely to encounter. Ch. 18, ‘Terminology: Ambiguity’, and Ch. 19, ‘Terminology: Synonymy’, discuss terminology that may be ambiguous (i.e. technical terms with different meanings in different subdisciplines of linguistics) and terms that may be synonymous (e.g. coinage and neologism).

Part 3, ‘Reading linguistics’ (127–73), contains nine chapters. Ch. 20, ‘The International Phonetic Association’ (IPA), and Ch. 21, ‘Reading phonetics and phonology’, provide background on IPA and non-IPA phonetic systems. Ch. 22, ‘Foreign expressions’, and Ch. 23, ‘Letters, accents and diacritics’, include definitions and examples of linguistic terms (e.g. ceteris paribus) and symbols (e.g. tilda). Ch. 24, ‘Journals’, Ch. 25, ‘Linguists’ names’, and Ch. 26, ‘Laws and principles’, will be useful references for beginning linguists. Ch. 27, ‘Statistics’, overviews statistical methods that linguists use for data analysis. This part ends with Ch. 28, ‘Some on-line resources for linguists’.

Parts 4 and 5 focus on writing in the field of linguistics. Part 4, ‘Writing and presenting linguistics’, (178–96) contains five chapters. Ch. 29, ‘Essay writing’, focuses on the writing process, while Ch. 30, ‘Glosses’, explores the technical aspects of glossing. Ch. 31, ‘Use versus mention’, and Ch. 32, ‘Reification’, reinforce the importance of clarity in writing. Ch. 33, ‘Spelling’, provides a short list of fundamental terms (e.g. auxiliary) with spelling hints (e.g. ‘one l’). Part 5, ‘Bibliographies’ (199–218), contains two chapters about referencing and documenting sources: Ch. 34, ‘Citation etiquette’, and Ch. 35, ‘Reference lists’.

Part 6, ‘Language file’ (221–381), the largest section of the book, explains the methods used to collect data from 280 languages and presents a table that contains structural information (e.g. word order) and socio-linguistic information (e.g. number of speakers) for each of the languages.

One challenge for constructing a handbook like this is deciding how much (or how little) information to include for each subject; this text provides an excellent introduction to each topic. However, due to its brevity, this handbook is best viewed as a supplement to other texts. With its concise chapters enhanced with tables and examples, this handbook is recommended for students who desire clarification of the basic concepts and the professional requirements of the field of linguistics.

Linguistic theory and South Asian language

Linguistic theory and South Asian language: Essays in honour of K. A. Jayaseelan. Ed. by Josef Bayer, Tanmoy Bhattacharya, and M. T. Hany Babu. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007. Pp. x, 282. ISBN 9789027233660. $173 (Hb).

Reviewed by Tommi Leung, United Arab Emirates University

This edited volume written by syntactians and phonologists of Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages is a Festschrift for K. A. Jayaseelan, one of India’s most influential linguists. Eleven of the fourteen papers focus on issues specific to South Asian linguistics, whereas the other three discuss current linguistic theory in general.

In the introduction, Josef Bayer, Tanmoy Bhattacharya, and M. T. Hany Babu present a detailed report of Jayaseelan’s contributions to modern linguistics. Dorothee Beermann, Kalyanamalini Sahoo, and Lars Hellan discuss serial verb constructions (SVCs) in Oriya (an Eastern Indo-Aryan language) and argue that the notion of ‘token-sharing’, although common in the analysis of SVCs, cannot apply to object sharing in Oriya verb phrase serialization.

Two papers deal with pseudocleft constructions: Cedric Boeckx develops a strictly derivational account of syntactic relations in pseudoclefts that makes use of higher functional projections such as topic phrase, remnant movement, and binding conspire to describe specificational pseudoclefts. P. Madhavan claims that in Malayalam cleft constructions, the cleft constituent is overtly raised to the cleft focus, instead of using empty operator movement.

K. Srikumar studies asymmetry in the movements of complements and noncomplements in Malayalam, paying special attention to how clausal pied-piping rescues subjacency violations. Richard S. Kayne analyzes English quantity words and proposes that adjectival modifiers such as many and few modify an overt or empty number, whereas much and little modify an overt or empty amount.

Three papers focus on binding theory. Jacqueline Guéron investigates inverse copula sentences with regard to the Principle B of binding theory. Eric Reuland reexamines pronouns and anaphors in binding theory. He claims that the complexity of binding systems results from the interaction between binding and properties of standard predicate logic and that traditional binding theory is on the wrong track. Yogendra P. Yadava discusses subject-to-subject raising in Maithili. She claims that while Maithili subject raising happens within a tensed embedded clause, which should be ruled out by the binding principle, raising can be accounted for provided that the notion of ‘governing category’ is redefined.

Three papers look at clausal structure of South Asian languages. Probal Dasgupta analyzes the complementizer in Bangla/Bengali. In a related paper, Alice Davison studies how finite subordinate clauses are marked in Indic languages and the relation between word orders and complementizers. Madhumita Barbora studies the clause-final particle ne in direct yes-no questions in Assamese. She claims that in Assamese yes-no questions an abstract question morpheme is present in the complementizer position and that the particle ne is not a question particle but rather a [+wh] disjunctive marker.

The book closes with three phonology papers. Shyamal Das investigates the optimality-theory constraint ‘No nasal plus voiceless obstruent sequence’ in Malayalam and the theory of underspecification in phonology. K. G. Vijayakrishnan examines the disyllabic minimum requirement of the word in Bangla, Punjabi, and Tamil. Finally, Pingali Sailaja explores how orthography influences phonological awareness in the minds of speakers.

Iñupiatun Eskimo dictionary

Iñupiatun Eskimo dictionary. By Wolf A. Seiler. Kotzebue, Alaska: NANA Regional Corporation, 2005. Pp. 494.

Reviewed by Linda A. Lanz, Rice University

Wolf A. Seiler and a team of native speakers created this dictionary of Iñupiaq (also known as Iñupiatun), an Eskimo-Aleut language of northern Alaska. The product of more than four years of work, this dictionary of the Malimiut dialect—one of two major Iñupiaq dialects—is the most comprehensive Iñupiaq dictionary to date.

The dictionary contains five sections: a lengthy introduction (which includes sections on the orthography and phonological processes critical for word formation); an Iñupiaq-English word list, an index of derivational suffixes (i.e. postbases), an English-Iñupiaq word list, and eight appendices devoted to grammar. S uses the standard Iñupiaq orthography and alphabetical order throughout, which makes the volume useful for speakers and learners as well as linguists. S clearly marks the parts of speech and synonyms and follows the Eskimo-Aleut convention of using verb roots and absolutive nouns as citation forms. Usage examples follow many headwords, particularly in the Iñupiaq-English section. Although some readers may dislike the heavy concentration of examples from religious texts rather than everyday Iñupiaq speech, these examples demonstrate the grammar more than adequately.

The range of lexical entries is both broad and detailed. Although place names are notably absent, S has included standard vocabulary, traditional cultural terms, subsistence terms, and modern coinages. Plant and animal species are included with their scientific names in the Iñupiaq-English section.

In addition to its rich inventory of lexical items, this dictionary contains a wealth of grammatical information on the sparsely described language. In the English-Iñupiaq section, nouns and verbs are marked with numbers that correspond to appendices of noun and verb class paradigms. Other appendices provide detailed paradigms and examples of moods, cases, possessives, pronouns, positional base words (i.e. spatial nouns), and the notoriously complex demonstratives (the volume includes twenty-eight pages of paradigm charts for demonstrative adverbs and pronouns alone).

However, this publication is not without problems: its weak binding and paperback cover are problematic features for a large book likely to receive heavy use. A minor weakness for speakers and local learners is the use of Standard American English instead of Alaskan English (specifically, Village English)—for example, aputikuaġun is translated as ‘snowmobile’ rather than ‘snowmachine’. Furthermore, although unlikely to be critical for most users, the entries do not indicate the source of loan words. Michael Fortescue, Steven Jacobson, and Lawrence Kaplan’s Comparative Eskimo dictionary: With Aleut cognates (Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, 1994) remains the best source for etymological information. More serious are the typographical errors that occur throughout the text. For example, the entry for quyanaq ‘to thank’ crossreferences taikku, which should be spelled taikuu. These issues are minor in comparison to the scope of the work, however, and by far the most serious issue with this dictionary is the difficulty in procuring a copy.

This dictionary is a valuable contribution to Iñupiaq revitalization and documentation as well as an impressive community effort.

An introduction to French pronunciation

An introduction to French pronunciation. 2nd edn. By Glanville Price. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005. Pp. ix, 176. ISBN 9781405132558. $36.95.

Reviewed by Yves Laberge, Université Laval, Canada

In this second edition of a hard-to-find book from 1991, Glanville Price provides countless tips and advice for English-speaking learners of French. P identifies the typical problems English native speakers face when pronouncing French words. The twenty short chapters are all written in English.

This is not a book for beginners but rather for advanced learners of French who can use phonetic symbols to learn the rules of pronunciation and articulation. Every section highlights important considerations and notable exceptions, such as ‘The mute e’ (Ch. 11) and ‘Liaison’ (Ch. 19). Remarks are timely and often intercept possible questions—for example, the discussion of liaison provides examples of words that have no special liaison form (136). P does not reinvent French pronunciation; instead, he humbly relies on previous work and classic references such as Pierre Fouché’s Traité de prononciation française (Paris: Klincksieck, 1969). Unfortunately, no cassette, CD, or CD-ROM accompanies this short text.

Although P includes some examples of French-Canadian pronunciation and briefly mentions some Canadianisms, he does not refer to any books written by Québécois linguists: only Douglas Walker’s The pronunciation of Canadian French (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1984) is referenced. Perhaps P chose to rely solely on sources written in English.

A quite useful index of about 700 entries provides the page number where a specific French word is explained. Because the article le has countless references and explanations, it also has almost a dozen entries. Furthermore, a few difficult French words (e.g. moyen ‘means’) as well as some famous city names such as Rome are also studied. The most interesting examples are often for the many words that are spelled identically in both English and French but are pronounced in different ways (e.g. nuance).

Despite its scholarly tone, this volume remains a useful and inexpensive book for Anglophones who need assistance with the rules of French pronunciation. Linguists and teachers of French will appreciate its precision and conciseness.

Homonymy in the Uralic agreement paradigms

Homonymy in the Uralic two-argument agreement paradigms. By Trond Trosterud. Helsinki: Finno-Ugrian Society, 2006. Pp. 319. ISBN 9789525150902. $29.99.

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, UK

In this extremely thorough and detailed account of homonymy in two-argument agreement paradigms, Trond Trosterud explores languages from three Uralic language families: Mordvin (Erzja, Mokša), Ugric (Hungarian, Mansi), and Samoyedic (Nenets, Selkup, and Kamas). In these languages, the verbal morphology incorporates not only the person and number of the subject but also the person and number of the object. In contrast to more simplex systems, in which there is distinct morphology for each person-number combination, two-argument paradigms often contain verb forms that are ambiguous between several readings. This homonymy, T argues, is typical of object paradigms because it would be difficult to fill each paradigm cell with a distinct form.

In general, T aims ‘to develop a theory that can restrict the set of possible two-argument paradigms’ (11). Because these paradigms inflect for multiple occurrences of the same type of morphosyntactic properties (e.g. person, number, tense, mood, case), T concludes that such complicated subsystems tend to collapse more readily than other parts of the inflectional system.

Within the framework of generative grammar, T explains the modular architecture of grammar and his lexeme-based approach to morphological components. He concludes that homonymy exists in almost all paradigms and that homonymy increases in cases in which more morphosyntactic categories are incorporated and in which properties have more than two values. Moreover, throughout the paradigm, the shape of paradigms is restricted and the homonymy is not randomly distributed: homonymous forms occur in the same paradigmatic positions across multiple languages. Based on these patterns, T proposes a geometrical homonymy condition, which states that homonymy can only occur in neighbouring cells within a multidimensional paradigm.

T illustrates that homonymy is dependent on semantic markedness and usage frequency: more marked forms are systematically used less often than less marked forms (307). Furthermore, T does not exclude the possibility of phonology playing a role in homonymy. He hypothesizes that phonological and morphological changes may work together to facilitate speech production and speech comprehension.

This volume will be a useful tool for Uralists with a special interest in morphology and homonymy. The book includes plenty of graphs, schemas, and tables that contribute to the discussion.

Kabardian (East Circassian)

Kabardian (East Circassian). By John Colarusso. (Languages of the world/materials 200.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2006. Pp. 128. ISBN 9783895862458. $80.

Reviewed by Yury A. Lander, Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow

Kabardian is a polysynthetic Northwest Caucasian language spoken primarily in the North Caucasus, although it is also found throughout the Near East. Throughout his career, John Colarusso has published several monographs devoted to Northwest Caucasian languages and folklore, including A grammar of the Kabardian language (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1992). The new material introduced here ensures that this is not just an abridged version of C’s previous grammar of the language.

Within this sketch, C provides a grammatical introduction to Kabardian. He discusses its rather complex phonetics and phonology as well as its even more tangled morphology, syntax, and discourse patterns. The six chapters are followed by a large sample text and a bibliography that includes publications on Kabardian written both in English and in Russian.

Kabardian is a linguistically complex language that contains as many as forty-nine consonants (and only three vowels) and is able to cross-reference of up to four arguments within the predicate. Here, C does not attempt to describe thoroughly all of Kabardian’s linguistic structures but instead discusses only its most exceptional features.

Although Kabardian is a polysynthetic language, and polysynthetic grammars are often organized differently than nonpolysynthetic grammars, C nonetheless seeks to present a traditional description of the language that distinguishes between inflectional and derivational morphology, and describes syntax in a more or less standard way. In general, the description of morphology and syntax provided in this text is often more readable than the corresponding sections in C’s earlier grammar.

The main shortcomings of this volume perhaps result from the format of the series in which it was published. For instance, the concise format may not have allowed C to detail phenomena as deserved, and thus, C’s explanations are not always well supported. For example, the underlying form of a word is occasionally markedly different from its surface form, which renders C’s analysis doubtable. Additionally, Kabardian is usually described as far more agglutinative than C depicts it.

Although this volume is too brief to be used as a reference grammar of Kabardian, this sketch will stimulate interest in Northwest Caucasian languages and promote a better understanding of their structure.

Narrative interaction

Narrative interaction. Ed. by Uta M. Quasthoff and Tabea Becker. (Studies in narrative 5.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2005. Pp. vi, 306. ISBN 9781588115539. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Yves Laberge, Université Laval, Canada

Narratives are everywhere, from testimonies and therapeutic discourses to fantasy stories and fairy tales for children. Even consultations with the family doctor usually begin with a narrative by the patient. This impressive volume investigates how these narratives are created, negotiated, and understood. Its contributors follow the theoretical trend that originated in Michael Bamberg and Molly Andrews’s excellent volume, Considering counter-narratives: Narrating, resisting, making sense (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004), in which elements from conversation analysis are used to understand everyday narratives and interactions.

In Ch. 1, the editors state that ‘narration is a specific kind of function-bound verbal interaction, governed by contextualizing devices’ (1). In other words, narration is always a matter of context: it emerges from a context and produces its own context while being shaped and retold. After acknowledging that the term narrative has various meanings in the many disciplines in which it is used, the editors remind us that as a dynamic process, narratives often change—that is, ‘retelling a narrative also means reshaping it’ (9).

The contributors often take an interdisciplinary approach to narratives. In ‘The “two-puppies” story: The role of narrative in teaching and learning science’, Richard Sohmer and Sarah Michaels focus on students’ participation in after-school activities related to physics, and Rebecca Branner, in ‘Humorous disaster and success stories among female adolescents in Germany’, takes a sociolinguistic approach to narratives produced by a group of teenage girls. ‘The role of metaphor in the narrative co-construction of collaborative experience’, by Vera John-Steiner, Christopher Shank, and Teresa Meehan, ranks among the most insightful papers. The authors draw from Lev Vygotsky’s (Thought and language, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986) theory of the social grounding of language to define narrative as ‘the culturally given way of organizing and presenting discourse’ (173). Several of the contributors concentrate on the various ways of retelling a narrative. In ‘Interaction in the telling and retelling of interlaced stories: The co-construction of humorous narratives’, Neal R. Norrick explores how some people can create simplified or shorter versions of their personal stories. Additionally, several papers study conversation analysis in foreign languages, including German, Greek, Hungarian, and Italian.

This volume will benefit scholars in various fields, even those outside linguistics: researchers from communication studies to social psychology and education studies will profit from the knowledge in these papers. However, the title of the volume seems a bit vague and a little short. The first words on the back cover would have made an excellent subtitle: ‘Telling stories in conversations’.

Small clauses in Spanish

Small clauses in Spanish: The semantics of transitivity. By Jiyoung Yoon. Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2007. Pp. 177. ISBN 9783895869891. $100.38.

Reviewed by Giorgio Iemmolo, University of Pavia

In this volume, Jiyoung Yoon explores small clauses (SCs) in Spanish using the functional criteria put forward by Paul Hopper and Sandra A. Thompson’s (1980, Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language 56. 251–99) model of transitivity. These criteria include the semantics of the main verb and the SC predicate as well as properties of the subject and the object. This volume is divided into five chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion.

In the introduction (7–11), Y introduces SCs. In Ch. 1, ‘Previous approaches to small clauses’ (12–46), Y sketches two approaches to SCs (SC theory and predication theory) and classifies SCs in complement and noncomplement positions in Spanish. Y also provides syntactic tests to distinguish between the different types of SCs.

In Ch. 2, ‘Theoretical background’ (47–63), Y lays the groundwork for her analysis by introducing the notion of lexical aspect as well as the distinction between stage-level (SL) and individual-level (IL) predicates. Subsequently, she introduces the theoretical basis of the functional approach (i.e. prototype theory) and the transitivity hypothesis.

In Ch. 3, ‘Adjunct predicates and semantic constraints’ (64–96), Y focuses on semantic constraints on SCs in adjunct position. After presenting the theta criterion and subject- and object-oriented adjunct predicates, Y examines adjunct predicates in terms of lexical aspect and suggests a new analysis. She argues that the licensing of SCs in adjunct position is not captured by appealing to lexical aspect or the SL–IL predicate distinction; rather, licensing is better explained by taking into account other semantic properties, such as the animacy and volitionality of the subject, the definiteness and affectedness of the object, and the telicity of the verb.

Ch. 4, ‘Small clauses in complement position’ (97–159) analyzes four types of SCs in complement position: proposition-taking verbs, practition-taking verbs, perception verbs, and causatives. These verbs  allow a number of complements, including verbal SC predicates, such as nouns, adjectives, and prepositions, and nonverbal SC predicates, such as bare infinitives and gerunds (although, Y’s  survey is only devoted to adjectival predicates). After illustrating the distinction between these verb classes, Y demonstrates that, once again, in addition to the covariation of transitivity parameters, the SL–IL distinction plays a crucial role in licensing SCs in complement position. She argues that some verb types that are higher in transitivity, such as declarative verbs, perception verbs with a direct perception, practition-taking verbs, and causative dejar ‘leave, quit’ with animate and definite direct objects, preferably select SL SC predicates. By contrast, both SL and IL SC predicates are permitted with verbs lower in transitivity, such as perception verbs with an indirect perception and practition-taking verbs with inanimate and indefinite objects. One exception is the causative hacer ‘make’, which only allows IL SC predicates.

The last chapter, ‘Conclusion’ (160–65), summarizes the analysis, addresses unanswered questions, and explores directions for future research.

Japanese linguistics

Japanese linguistics: An introduction. By Toshiko Yamaguchi. New York: Continuum, 2007. Pp. 240. ISBN 9780826487902. $49.95.

Reviewed by Mark Irwin, Yamagata University, Japan

As its title suggests, this volume by Toshiko Yamaguchi introduces Japanese linguistics at a comparatively basic level, suitable for higher-level undergraduates or lower-level postgraduates. Its range of content and depth of discussion are, therefore, not on par with Natsuko Tsujimura’s An introduction to Japanese linguistics (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007). Each of its seven chapters contain plentiful activities and exercises (the difference between which is unclear), followed, in some cases, by useful explicatory commentaries.

Ch. 1, ‘Speech sounds’ (1–14), explores Japanese phonetics: a basic explanation of the vocal tract is followed by a classification of Japanese phones. Using the international phonetic alphabet (IPA), Y adheres to norms of phonetic transcription, although what she describes as an alveolo-palatal fricative (IPA [ɕ]), she writes as a post-alveolar fricative (IPA [ʃ]). Ch. 2, ‘Sound structure’ (15–39), which examines phonology, opens with an overview of the Japanese phonemic inventory. Of those phonemes on whose existence academic opinion is divided, Y posits both the moraic consonants /N/ and /Q/ as well as /R/ to include ‘the second part of [a] geminated vowel’ (16). The remainder of Ch. 2 introduces allophonic variation, vowel devoicing, onbin (i.e. sandhi), the mora, and accent. Her claim that sequential voicing ‘does not occur when the second member of [a] compound is […] Sino-Japanese’ (21) is erroneous, as is the contention that what is known as Lyman’s law was first recognized by Benjamin Smith Lyman.

Ch. 3, ‘Vocabulary’ (40–71), contains analyses of native Japanese, foreign loanwords, hybrid vocabulary, mimetics, and Sino-Japanese (that most Chinese characters ‘arrived in Japan [between] 206 BC and AD 9’ (48) is manifestly false, and Y’s explanation for the origin of the term kan-on is infelicitous). Y also examines vocabulary via a range of texts, including newspaper articles, letters, children’s stories, and manga. Ch. 4, ‘The writing system’ (72–97), is perhaps the most valuable chapter. In addition to the obligatory overview of kanji and hiragana, Y offers a thorough presentation of the various uses of katakana, covers punctuation and symbols, briefly examines historical changes in Japanese orthography, and reinforces all of this with copious activities.

Morphology is covered in Ch. 5, ‘Word structure’ (98–132), in which the focus is essentially on compounding and affixation, although many would take issue with Y’s translation of kanji as ‘ideogram’ (99). Y’s treatment of Japanese semantics, introduced in Ch. 6, ‘Word meaning’ (133–56), includes homonymy, synonymy, polysemy, and antonymy. Also discussed are ‘meaning components’, which are accompanied by several activities. The final chapter, Ch. 7, ‘Sentence structure’ (157–207), considers various aspects of Japanese syntax: topic structures, verb types, states and actions, case particles, basic sentence patterns, and noun modification.

This volume offers no introduction to any aspect of Japanese sociolinguistics, language acquisition, pragmatics, or discourse analysis. These are instead treated in the companion volume, Japanese language in use: An introduction (New York: Continuum, 2007), by the same author.

Theory and typology of proper names

Theory and typology of proper names. By Willy Van Langendonck. (Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs 168.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2007. Pp. 378. ISBN 9783110190861. $152 (Hb).

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, UK

A consideration of all types of names, not only first, sur-, or place names, this volume by Willy Van Langendock is a fascinating and extremely detailed interdisciplinary account of proper names. Although primarily a synchronic study, L provides a descriptive and theoretical account of the neuro-, psycho-, and dialinguistics of proper names.

Following Ronald Langacker and William Croft, L works within the framework of radical construction grammar to distinguish between proper names, personal pronouns, and common nouns, and to propose a typology of proper names based on semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic criteria. L’s argumentation is relatively easy to follow, and he provides examples from Dutch, English, German, and French.

Ch. 1 defines proper names and examines their semantics. In Ch. 2, L provides the formal characteristics of proper names. He illustrates that proper names can show the same grammatical features that characterize personal pronouns, such as referentiality, definiteness, number, countability, recursiveness, gender, person, and even partitiveness. Furthermore, like personal pronouns, proper names are inherently referential and definite. In addition to the lack of basic level meaning in pronouns, then, the main difference between personal pronouns and proper names are their different modes of reference.

Ch. 3 investigates the subclasses of proper names and provides a synchronic typology of names (which is a significant contribution to onomastics). Finally, Ch. 4 deals with aspects of name giving and naming systems that are of a dialinguistic nature. L touches upon the name-giving of the nineteenth century foundlings and the use and structure of chat names on the Internet.

In sum, this detailed monograph will be of interest to linguists who work on the semantics, syntax, and origin of names.