Monthly Archives: September 2010

Morphosyntactic features in Uralic languages

Historically problematic morphosyntactic features in Uralic languages. By Ago Künnap. (LINCOM studies in Uralic linguistics 01.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2006. Pp. 96. ISBN 9783895864933. $72.66.

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, UK

Throughout history, the study of morphosyntactic features of Uralic languages has proven to be problematic. In this volume, Ago Künnap explores some features that have been especially challenging. In contrast to traditional methods that study a language in isolation, K argues that it is important to consider archaeology, genetics, and language contact to research the history of a language.

Ch. 1 explores the origin of the Finno-Ugric-speaking population. K challenges the view that Finno-Ugrians came from the East, and instead proposes that their ancestry is primarily European: the Altaic-speaking migration, which left traces of Mongoloid features within the Finno-Ugric area, is a relatively recent phenomenon (9). Here, K also argues that some of the structural features characteristic of the proposed Proto-Uralic are found not only in the present day Finno-Ugric languages but also in non-Uralic languages.

In Ch. 2, K examines the *n genitive as the object case marker, verbal personal markers –s and   –k, and possessive suffixes in Uralic. He argues that the suffix –n marked one of the earliest Finnic object cases (18). In Ch. 3, K proposes a link between Livonian and Eastern Uralic languages based on several linguistic features, such as their similar formation of the negative, which he argues cannot be mere coincidence. Finally, in Ch. 4, K investigates the origin of the Ugric t-locative and l-ablative as well as the Hungarian k-plural. Reluctant to assign all these phenomena a common Finno-Ugric background, K admits that their origin is unknown.

This book is full of insight into the history and development of various Uralic languages. Although K provides his explanation of the facts, he remains modest as to whether his view represents the ultimate truth. This volume will be worthwhile reading for any Uralist.

Grammar from the human perspective

Grammar from the human perspective: Case, space and person in Finnish. Ed. by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Lyle Campbell. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. 280. ISBN 9789027247926. $165 (Hb).

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, UK

This collection of papers investigates the linguistic manifestation of space and location, the human perspective, and person in Finnish, a language with extremely rich resources for linguistic inquiry. The contributions are written mainly within the frameworks of cognitive grammar and functional typology.

The papers in Part 1, ‘Space and location’, are exclusively within the framework of cognitive grammar. In ‘Spatial axes in language and conceptualisation: The case of bidirectional constructions’, Krista Ojutkangas describes spatial relations in which opposing roles of a spatial axis are explicitly mentioned in a single sentence, such as The bride and the groom were sitting behind the table and the guests were sitting in front of the table. She demonstrates that bidirectional constructions elaborate the spatial description and function as a tool for tracking figure and ground referents through discourse.

Tuomas Huumo investigates how fictive motion (i.e. directional cases that indicate movement towards, or away from, something) is expressed using the Finnish case system in ‘“I woke up from the sofa”: Subjective directionality in Finnish expressions of a spatio-cognitive transfer’. He concludes that the use of directional cases reflects fictive motion between different cognitive domains and a direct interaction between a cognitive domain and space.

In ‘Metonymy in locatives of state’, Tiina Onikki-Rantajääskö examines abstract uses of locative case expressions, in particular, locatives of state, which include expressions of posture and facial expressions. She illustrates that the polysemy of locative expressions is based on cultural models.

Part 2 investigates ‘The human perspective’ of linguistic expression. In ‘Body part names and grammaticalization’, Toni Suutari argues that, in addition to standard cases of grammaticalization, there may be instances in which an abstract relational expression acquires a concrete meaning, which, in turn, grammaticalizes.

In ‘On distinguishing between “recipient” and “beneficiary” in Finnish’, Seppo Kittilä demonstrates how these two semantic roles are manifested by case marking. According to Kittilä, recipients are marked by the allative case only if an event involves someone who directly receives something as a result of the activity (i.e. typically, give). If this condition is not met, the argument is marked as a beneficiary.

Oblique mentions of human referents in Finnish conversation: The effects of prominence in discourse and grammar’, by Ritva Laury, explores human referents that do not occur with core argument case marking. Typologically, human referents are prominent and thus frequently occur in the roles of subject and object. She concludes that even in oblique cases, human referents are central in grammar and discourse and mainly occur in constructions with grammatical, rather than local, meaning.

The three papers contained in Part 3 examine the morphological encoding of ‘Person’. Marja-Liisa Helasvou and Lea Laitinen, ‘Person in Finnish: Paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations in interaction’, present a thorough study of person marking. They show that the predicate verb agrees with the subject in number and person, and therefore, traditionally, both the nominal subject and the verbal person marking are considered to be the same. However, the authors show that in colloquial varieties, the situation is more complex. Their paradigm of person marking includes two constructions—the zero person construction and the passive—that create open reference that must be construed from the context. Lea Laitinen continues this theme in ‘Zero person in Finnish: A grammatical resource for construing human reference’. Finally, in ‘Passive—personal or impersonal? A Finnish perspective’, Marja-Liisa Helasvuo asks whether the Finnish passive is a personal or impersonal construction. She concludes that the Finnish passive is a part of the person marking system and thus is by no means an impersonal construction.

Phraseology and culture in English

Phraseology and culture in English. Ed. by Paul Skandera. (Topics in English linguistics 54.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2007. Pp. 511. ISBN 9783110197860. $168 (Hb).

Reviewed by Michael Haugh, Griffith University

Interest in formulaic language, which encompasses preconstructed or semipreconstructed word combinations such as collocations, similes, and proverbs, has grown steadily in the past thirty years. Yet, although there has been a long tradition of exploring links between culture and language—famously expounded in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—the interface between formulaic language and culture-specific ways of thinking has remained relatively unexplored territory. In this edited collection, Paul Skandera brings together a diverse range of approaches to explore the interface between phraseology and culture in English.

The volume is divided into four sections and includes a prologue by Andrew Pawley, who masterfully outlines developments in the study of formulaic language over the past thirty years, and an epilogue by Penny Lee that carefully unites the chapters within the theme of a cultural perspective on formulaic language.

In Section 1, ‘Focus on particular lexemes’, the cultural connotations that relate to particular word combinations in English are discussed. Anna Wierzbicka examines how different senses of the collocation reasonably well have evolved, while Bert Peeters argues that weekend can be considered a key cultural word in Australian English. Monika Bednarek and Wolfram Bublitz examine collocations in corpora that contain enjoy as a directive and argue that the use of such collocations is a reflection of consumerism. Finally, Doris Schönefeld compares collocations using hot in English, German, and Russian, building evidence that formulaic language reflects underlying ways of interpreting experience that may be culture-specific.

In Section 2, ‘Focus on types of idioms’, the papers focus on the cultural connotations associated with idiomatic word combinations. Charles Clay Doyle examines how proverbs became a part of the linguistic and cultural fabric of English, while Wolfgang Mieder analyzes the historical roots of proverbs particular to English in New England. Pam Peters focuses on similes and evaluative idioms in Australian English, which she argues reflect themes prominent in Australian society. This section concludes with a collocational analysis of modality and related politeness implications by Svenja Adolphs.

In Section 3, ‘Focus on use-related varieties: Registers’, the papers investigate how formulaic language is used in particular registers or discourses. Melina Magdalena and Peter Mühlhäusler examine greenspeak (i.e. environmental discourse), Andrea Gerbig and Angela Shek explore tourism discourse, and Karin Aijmer discusses answering machine messages. From these three chapters a common theme emerges: the analysis of formulaic language can be used to understand shifts in cultural values.

In the final section, ‘Focus on user-related varieties: Dialects and ethnolects’, the analytical lens moves to dialects or ethnolects. Daniel Schreier examines greetings in Tristan de Cunhan English, while Ian G. Malcolm and Farzad Sharifian discuss the use of formulaic language in Australian Aboriginal English. Hans-Georg Wolf and Frank Polzenhagen use a similar approach in their analysis of formulaic language in African English. This section concludes with a corpus study of formulaic sequences used on the Internet across a variety of Englishes by Christian Mair.

The variety of approaches represented is one of its strengths of this volume. It gives credibility to the claim that there is indeed a substantive link between culture and formulaic language.

Redesigning English

Redesigning English. 2nd edn. Ed. by Sharon Goodman, David Graddol, and Theresa Lillis. New York: Routledge, 2007. Pp. 328. ISBN 9780415376891. $39.95.

Reviewed by Michael Haugh, Griffith University

The focus of the second edition of Redesigning English is how innovation in verbal and visual aspects of the language has resulted in changes in the way English has been used in different genres over time. The contributors explore the interaction of English, identity, and politics as well as how the evolution of English has been affected by both technological developments and its status as an international lingua franca.

The book consists of seven chapters preceded by a brief introduction. In addition to the essay, each chapter includes activities and one or two readings. Four chapters are new to this edition (Chs. 1, 2, 5, and 6), three chapters that appeared in the first edition have been substantially revised (Chs. 3, 4, and 7), and two chapters from the first edition have been omitted (‘Market forces speak English’ and ‘English in cyberspace’).

The first two chapters focus on literature. Ch. 1, ‘What makes English into art?’, presents an analysis of how writers use stylistic features and linguistic variation to create literature, and Ch. 2, ‘A tongue, for sighting’, explores how English, due to its prominence internationally, has become a global resource in the creation of literature. Ch. 3, ‘Text, time and technology in news English’, examines changes in the structure of news articles in the print media. Ch. 4, ‘Visual English’, focuses on contemporary visual aspects of English. The theme of the multimodal nature of English language is continued in Ch. 5, ‘English manuscripts: The emergence of a visual identity’, in which the historical development of visual aspects (e.g. illustrations and orthography) of English is traced. How new technologies lead to changing practices is examined in Ch. 6, ‘English and new media’. Finally, Ch. 7, ‘Global English, global culture?’, presents an essay on the prospect of a global culture developing in conjunction with the rise of English as a global language.

Although this volume is aimed at students of English language and linguistics, it will also be a useful resource for all those interested in the ways in which the English language is used.

Postcolonial English

Postcolonial English: Varieties around the world. By Edgar W. Schneider. (Cambridge approaches to language contact.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. xvi, 367. ISBN 9780521539012. $45.99.

Reviewed by Richard W. Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University

Edgar Schneider designed this volume to provide an account of the evolutionary factors involved in the spread of the English language around the world and to offer a new model for analyzing postcolonial varieties of English (PCEs). In Ch. 1, ‘Introduction’ (1–7), S outlines his thesis and provides the underlying assumption for his new model. He states,

It is posited that evolving new varieties of English go through a cyclic series of characteristic phases, determined by extralinguistic conditions. Individual countries in which PCEs are spoken are regarded as positioned at different phases along this cycle, an explanation which accounts for some of the differences observed in the shapes and roles of PCEs (5).

The examples in the following chapters support this assumption.

In Ch. 2, ‘Charting the territory: Postcolonial Englishes as a field of linguistic investigation’ (8–20), S summarizes two existing models of PCEs. After ruling both models ‘rather superficial and fuzzy’ (14), S outlines his own model in Ch. 3, ‘The evolution of postcolonial Englishes: The dynamic model’ (21–70). S’s dynamic model posits five progressive stages of PCEs: foundation, exonormative stabilization, nativization, endonormative stabilization, and differentiation. Each of these stages is to be examined according to four parameters: sociopolitical background, identity construction, sociolinguistic conditions, and linguistic effects. In Ch. 4, ‘Linguistic aspects of nativization’ (71–112), S explores the process of nativization of PCEs in terms of phonology, lexis, and grammar.

In Ch. 5, ‘Countries along the cycle: Case studies’ (113–250), S applies his dynamic model to PCEs spoken in sixteen different countries. In Ch. 6, ‘The cycle in hindsight: The emergence of American English’ (251–308), S provides an extensive analysis of American English, a PCE that is currently in the fifth progressive stage of the dynamic model. He concludes this chapter with brief discussions of various PCEs found in the American context (e.g. African-American English, Chicano English, Cajun English, Hawaiian English). In Ch. 7, ‘Conclusion’ (309–17), S concludes that the dynamic model works because it ‘is grounded in and grasps important facets of sociopsychological, sociolinguistic, and structural reality in language evolution’ (310).

This book is an excellent addition to the growing number of titles in the areas of World Englishes and language contact phenomena. It can easily be used as the primary text in a World Englishes course.

Varieties of modern English

Varieties of modern English: An introduction. By Diane Davies. (Learning about language.) London: Pearson Longman, 2005. Pp. xi, 172. ISBN 9780582369962. $52.33.

Reviewed by Richard W. Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University

This book is intended as a general text for an introductory course in English language studies or sociolinguistics. Each chapter ends with a short summary, a list of activities for students, and suggested further readings.

Ch. 1, ‘Setting out’ (1–13), introduces readers to the ways in which the English language varies depending on the user, the setting, and the purpose. Diane Davies discusses language variation in individuals and among groups and defines key terms such as idiolect, codeswitching, speech community, dialect, accent, and solidarity. In Ch. 2, ‘Studying varieties’ (14–27), D presents an overview of the phonetic inventory of English consonants, vowels, and diphthongs, although it should be noted that most of the examples are the received pronunciation. Following a discussion of syllable structure, elision, and assimilation, D discusses word formation and the basic syntactic categories. She concludes this chapter with a brief discussion of English text and discourse. Ch. 3, ‘The march of modern English’ (28–44), provides an overview of the proliferation of English since the fifteenth century, beginning with the establishment of William Caxton’s printing press in 1476. This chapter moves on to discuss the growth of international English and attitudes toward the changing nature of the language.

Ch. 4, ‘English from a global perspective’ (45–59), discusses Braj Kachru’s (1989) concentric circles model of World Englishes. D examines American English from the inner circle, South Asian English from the outer circle, and English in Japan in the expanding circle. Ch. 5, ‘Ethnicity and varieties of English (60–75), begins with an exploration of pidgins and creoles and moves on to examine African-American Vernacular English and Chicano English.

Beginning with grammatical gender and the generic sense often associated with masculine terms, Ch. 6, ‘Gender, sexuality and English’ (76–90), focuses on gender performativity. Ch. 7, ‘Speech, writing and the new media’ (91–107), discusses the interrelatedness of these three types of communication. Building on the discussions in the previous chapter, Ch. 8, ‘English in context’ (108–21), presents register variation in English based on social setting.

Ch. 9, ‘English and power’ (122–40), investigates hegemonic and powerful varieties of English by asking two questions: ‘What do we mean by “power” in language?’ (122) and ‘Are there powerful varieties?’ (122). Ch. 10, ‘The future of English as an international language’ (141–58), revisits the discussion of Kachru’s (1989) model from Ch. 4, examining the shifting status of expanding circle English(es).

This short book contains numerous examples and should spark interesting classroom discussions. It could easily serve as the main text in an undergraduate World Englishes course or a supplementary text in a sociolinguistics class.


KACHRU, BRAJ B. 1989. Teaching World Englishes. Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics 15.1.85–95.

Thou and you in Early Modern English dialogues

Thou and you in Early Modern English dialogues: Trials, depositions, and drama comedy. By Terry Walker. (Pragmatics & beyond new series 158.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007. Pp. xx, 339. ISBN 9789027254016. $165 (Hb).

Reviewed by Martina Häcker, University of Paderborn

A revised version of Terry Walker’s doctoral dissertation, this volume consists of nine chapters, an appendix, references, and an index. It is thoroughly edited and contains numerous tables and three maps.

Ch. 1, ‘Introduction’ (1–8), introduces corpus linguistics, historical pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics, and the theoretical framework of the study. Ch. 2, ‘Corpus and genre overview’ (9–20), describes the database; Ch. 3, ‘Data classification’ (21–38), details the sociolinguistic parameters used in the analysis; and Ch. 4, ‘Previous research on thou and you in Early Modern English’ (39–64), explores previous research. A sociolinguistic and pragmatic analysis of the data is provided in Ch. 5, ‘Thou and you in trials 1560–1760’ (65–92); Ch. 6, ‘Thou and you in depositions 1560–1760’(93–170); and Ch. 7, ‘Thou and you in drama comedy 1560–1760’ (171–236), followed by a syntactic and morphological analysis in Ch. 8, ‘The role of selected linguistic factors in thou and you usage’ (237–86). The ‘Summary and conclusion’ completes the volume in Ch. 9 (287–96).

W’s database consists of a subset of texts from A corpus of English dialogues 1560–1760. Within the categories ‘Trials’, ‘Depositions’, and ‘Drama comedy’, W includes three texts for each of the five forty-year periods. These texts are analyzed on two levels: a macro analysis, in which W presents a quantitative analysis within each genre according to the speakers’ age, sex, and rank; and a micro analysis, in which W evaluates and interprets each occurrence of thou and you in the context of the surrounding text. The micro analysis intends to discover who uses which pronoun to whom in which context and why. W finds that rank plays an important role, while age and gender are of less importance, and that thou is predominantly used to express intimacy, in-group membership among young males, and anger. Her study largely confirms the findings of previous research.

Some interesting questions could have been pursued further. Although she establishes that the regional background of the speakers and authors is an important factor in ‘Depositions’, the role of region is not explored for the other genres. The rise of thou in the period from 1600 to 1640 should also have received greater attention. Moreover, across the texts, the uneven distribution of speakers from different social categories is also a source of concern. W states ‘in my data, non-commoners are represented mainly by men, women address other women of this group only in period 1’ (166) and ‘age difference between characters is unlikely to play much of a role in the data for this period, simply because it is predominantly young characters who are represented in the data’ (224). This unevenness raises questions about the representativeness of her findings. W is aware of this and draws on the work of others to support her arguments. However, it may have been more appropriate to restrict the analysis to one genre or time period for which sufficient data is available.

Nineteenth-century English

Nineteenth-century English: Stability and change. Ed. by Merja Kytö, Mats Rydén, and Erik Smitterberg. (Studies in English language.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pp. xx, 295. ISBN 9780521117241. $43.

Reviewed by Martina Häcker, University of Paderborn

This volume highlights the considerable changes that occurred within the English language throughout the nineteenth century. It consists of an introduction by the editors (1–16) and ten papers, followed by an appendix, a bibliography, and an index.

Gender issues and the use of adjectives are the topics of the contributions by Ingegerd Bäcklund, ‘Modifiers describing women and men in nineteenth-century English’ (17–55), and Merja Kytö and Suzanne Romaine, ‘Adjective comparison in nineteenth-century English’ (194–214). Questions of grammatical change are treated by Christian Mair, ‘Nonfinite complement clauses in the nineteenth century: The case of remember’ (215–28), and Juhani Rudanko, ‘The in –ing construction in British English, 1800-2000’ (229–41). The use of constructions across one or more genres is the focus of Peter Grund and Terry Walker, ‘The subjunctive in adverbial clauses in nineteenth-century English’ (110–35); Christine Johansson, ‘Relativizers in nineteenth-century English’ (136–82); and Mark Kaunisto, ‘Anaphoric reference in the nineteenth century: That/those + of constructions’ (183–93). Finally, Tony Fairman, ‘Words in English Record Office documents of the early 1800s’ (56–88), investigates variant spellings and spelling strategies used by people with different degrees of schooling.

The papers illustrate both the potential and the dangers of corpus research. One of the dangers lies in failing to conduct a detailed analysis. Carefully avoiding this trap, Kytö and Romaine show how the frequency of a single word (e.g. dearest) is responsible for the observed rise in inflectional superlatives. Another danger is that parameters not built into the corpus may be neglected. That is, unlike the parameters of genre and gender, which are inherent categories, the parameters of social and regional variation often receive little attention (with the notable exception of Fairman, for whom social variation is central). Yet these parameters are important, and, in the cases of Bäcklund and Johansson, disregarding them diminishes the value of the investigation. The strength of the majority of the papers lies in highlighting differences between genres and showing the presence or absence of linguistic change.

The volume is carefully edited, with the exception of the paper by Kaunisto, whose reference to a ‘previous research chapter’ (189) and the ‘present chapter’ (189) indicates that his contribution is an unrevised chapter of a thesis. In their introduction, the editors state their aim ‘to provide an overview of nineteenth-century English’, but this somewhat ambitious goal is certainly beyond the scope of ten papers. What they have done instead, and quite successfully, is show how corpus research can complement other research of nineteenth-century English.

Segmental and prosodic issues in Romance phonology

Segmental and prosodic issues in Romance phonology. Ed. by Pilar Prieto, Joan Mascaró, and Maria-Josep Solé. (Current issues in linguistic theory 282.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007. Pp. xvi, 262. ISBN 9789027247971. $165 (Hb).

Reviewed by Carolina González, Florida State University

This volume presents a selection of papers from the second meeting of the Phonetics and Phonology in Iberia conference, which took place in June 2005 at the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona. Most of the contributions explore the relationship between phonetics and phonology in one or more Romance languages or dialects. The emphasis is both descriptive and theoretical, and although many theoretical approaches are represented, most contributions follow a laboratory phonology approach.

This book is divided into three sections. In Part 1, ‘Segments and processes’, Noël Nguyen, Sophie Wauquier, Leonardo Lancia, and Betty Tuller explore the mechanisms involved in the perception of liaison consonants in French. Daniel Recasens focuses on coarticulation in Catalan and Spanish vowel-consonant-vowel sequences. Maria-Josep Solé discusses the effect of feature stability on coarticulation in fricative-nasal clusters. Francisco Torreira provides instrumental evidence that /s/ aspiration in Andalusian Spanish results in postaspiration of an immediately following voiceless stop.

In Part 2, ‘Prosodic structure’, Lluïsa Astruc-Aguilera and Francis Nolan examine phrasing and accentuation in various types of extrasentential elements in English and Catalan. Laura Colantoni and Jeffrey Steele explore asymmetries in assimilation and dissimilation in stop-liquid clusters in Argentinean and Chilean Spanish as well as in European and Quebec French. Sónia Frota, Mariapaola D’Imperio, Gorka Elordieta, Pilar Prieto, and Marina Vigário examine the phonetic and phonological characteristics of intonational boundaries in five Romance languages. Marta Ortega-Llebaria and Pilar Prieto investigate the correlates of stress independent of accent in Barcelona Spanish.

In Part 3, ‘Acquisition of segmental contrasts and prosody’, M. João Freitas explores the acquisition of vowel reduction in European Portuguese. Ferran Pons and Laura Bosch consider a number of experiments on infant perception of iambic and trochaic rhythm in Catalan and Spanish. Geoffrey-Stewart Morrison contributes a tutorial on the application of logistic regression in speech perception research on first and second language learners. In the final paper, Laurence White and Sven L. Mattys focus on the best acoustic correlates to account for isochrony-based rhythmic classes (i.e. stress-time vs. syllable-time).

This collection provides a good overview of current research in Romance phonetics and phonology. The papers explore differences and similarities among Romance languages and dialects, and in many occasions, between Romance and other language families (most notably Germanic). Phonologists and phoneticians, specifically those interested in Romance languages, will benefit from this work.

Key terms in linguistics

Key terms in linguistics. By Howard Jackson. London: Continuum, 2007. Pp. 192. ISBN 9780826487421. $29.95.

Reviewed by Martin R. Gitterman, Lehman College and The City University of New York

This book provides clear explanations of terms used in linguistics. Each chapter is devoted to the terminology of a particular subdivision of linguistics, including ‘Phonetics and phonology’, ‘Grammar: Morphology and syntax’, ‘Semantics and pragmatics’, ‘Discourse and text analysis’, ‘Sociolinguistics’, ‘Psycholinguistics’, ‘Historical linguistics’, ‘Applied linguistics’, ‘Stylistics’, ‘Corpus linguistics’, and ‘Schools of linguistics’. Howard Jackson also includes an extensive list of readings, which explores beyond the references noted in the text. An index provides a list of all the terms contained in the volume. J’s primary target audience is beginning students of linguistics and language.

Because J provides explanations that are relatively brief, yet substantive, this volume will serve as a useful reference for students of linguistics and related areas. In general, the entries contain sufficient—and appropriate—examples to facilitate comprehension, and the inclusion of numerous subfields of linguistics adds to the usefulness of the book as a reference. For example, in ‘Schools of linguistics’, J provides a needed (albeit appropriately introductory) historical perspective that highlights the evolving nature of the discipline. Additionally, the inclusion of numerous references as well as relevant websites will enable the inquisitive reader to surpass the basic explanations and develop an in-depth understanding of the field.

Selecting entries to incorporate in a work of this type is extremely difficult. J correctly asserts, ‘A reference work of this kind cannot expect to be comprehensive’ (ix). He is to be commended for inviting readers to suggest additional terms for inclusion in future editions. One notable omission is truth value, which should be added to ‘Semantics and pragmatics’, especially because proposition and presupposition are currently included. Future editions would also benefit from diagrams or illustrations to help clarify explanations. The entry ‘Phrase structure rules’ would profit from a basic constituent structure tree as well as a short sample of phrase structure rules. Similarly, a diagram of the vocal tract would help clarify the various places of articulation. Moreover, although a number of the most prominent names in the field of linguistics (e.g. Noam Chomsky, Leonard Bloomfield, B. F. Skinner) are incorporated into the explanations of other entries, the only name of a person that stands alone as an official entry is  ‘Jones’ (a reference to Sir William Jones). Future editions should include a separate chapter that lists leading figures along with their contributions to the field of linguistics (even if those names appear elsewhere in the book).

In sum, this helpful book will be a valuable reference to its readers.