Monthly Archives: October 2010

Annual review of cognitive linguistics

Annual review of cognitive linguistics: Volume 4. Ed. by Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. iv, 287. ISBN 9789027254849. $150.

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University, Ukraine

The Annual review of cognitive linguistics has been published under the patronage of the Spanish Cognitive Linguistics Association since 2003. The fourth collection contains eight articles, two interviews, and one review.

On the basis of an in-depth analysis of eleven functionalist, cognitive, and constructionist models, Francisco Gonzálvez-García and Christopher S. Butler, ‘Mapping functional-cognitive space’ (39–96), attempt to clarify the ontological correlation between functionalism and cognitivism. In ‘Introspection and cognitive linguistics: Should we trust our own intuitions?’ (135–51), Raymond W. Gibbs verifies how introspective analyses of language and thought reflect the ways ordinary people think and use language.

In Honesto Herrera-Soler’s ‘Conceptual metaphor in press headlines on globalisation’ (1–20), conceptual metaphors and metonymies of the globalization discourse are explored in headlines of Spanish and British newspapers. Marisol Velasco-Sacristán and Pedro A. Fuertes-Olivera, ‘Olfactory and olfactory-mixed metaphors in print ads of perfume’ (217–52), concentrate on nonverbal manifestations of metaphors, uncovering the covert communication of advertising.

In ‘Constructions with get: How to get the picture without getting confused’ (21–37), Stéphanie Bonnefille shows how language and action are interrelated and to what extent syntax is constrained by kinesthetic scenarios and force dynamics. Cristiano Broccias, ‘The construal of simultaneity in English with special reference to as-clauses’ (97–133), focuses on as-clauses (in contrast to while-clauses), investigating how simultaneity between two events—a main clause event and a subordinate clause event—is encoded in English.

Seana Coulson and Esther Pascual, ‘For the sake of argument: Mourning the unborn and reviving the dead through conceptual blending’ (153–81), study how framing in situated persuasive discourse interacts with conceptual integration (i.e. blending) on the samples of prenatal and postmortem blends in pro-life rhetoric and judicial argumentation. Teresa Cadierno and Lucas Ruiz’s ‘Motion events in Spanish L2 acquisition’ (183–216) discusses the methods of researching how adult language learners express motion events in a foreign language. They hypothesize that the influence of the native-tongue thinking for speaking patterns might be stronger at the initial and intermediate stages but gradually disappears as the acquisition process advances.

Each paper contains its own rich bibliography. The volume also contains interviews in which Leonard Talmy (questioned by Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano) and John Taylor (questioned by Nick Ascroft) discuss controversial ideas of cognitive linguistics. Finally, Joseph Hilferty’s review of Teresa Vallès’s monograph ‘La creativitat lèxica en un model basat en l’ús (Una aproximació cognitiva a la neologia i la productivitat)’  (Barcelona: Publicacions de l’Abadia Montserrat, 2004) closes the book.

Literary translation quality assessment

Literary translation quality assessment. By Beatriz Ma. Rodríguez Rodríguez. (LINCOM studies in translation 03.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2007. Pp. 190. ISBN 9783895861826. $94.78.

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University, Ukraine

This contribution to translation criticism describes a systematic and objective approach to the contrastive analysis of source and target texts. Leaving aside the translator’s competence, method, and system, the author focuses on the assessment of translation quality. Stated in Ch. 1, the main objective of this study is to establish a broad and flexible model of evaluation and assessment criteria that allows for slight modifications in each specific case to account for a variety of texts and their characteristics.

Ch. 2 discusses the ontological fundamentals of translation criticism, such as contacts with language- and literature-oriented disciplines and the principles of a macroevaluation of a translation as a whole. A model of analysis and evaluation should include four phases: (i) a study of the target text; (ii) a study of the source text; (iii) comparing and contrasting the texts; and (iv) the evaluation, which should implement criteria to assess the texts from an objective viewpoint. Comparative stylistics provides criteria for uncovering shifts and deviations that are obligatory (i.e. rule-governed or influenced by the target-text culture) or nonobligatory (i.e. norm-governed or decided by a translator). The evaluation is intended to define the degree of necessity of these deviations on the structural (i.e microtextual) and sequential (i.e macrotextual) levels. The approach to resolve the dichotomy between the subjectivity of judgement and the need for objectivity includes the principle that axiological criteria must be formulated empirically in the analysis of a particular text, covering all its characteristics. The author suggests that the assessment of literary texts should be grounded on the consideration of their text-types, functions, historical factors, coherence, and cohesion as well as the purpose, acceptability, and intertextuality of target texts.

Ch. 3 focuses on the corpus selection and examination. The study covers seventeen translations of the Spanish picaresque novel El Lazarillo de Tormes, published from the sixteenth through the twenty-first century. Particular attention is paid to the first English translation by David Rowland in 1586. Translation shifts or units for analysis are summarized in ten categories: expansion, reduction, modulation, calque, adaptation, transposition, paronomasia (puns), antithesis, idioms and sayings, and mistakes.

Ch. 4 is dedicated to the analysis of Rowland’s translation following the elaborated scheme. Ch. 5 summarizes this translation with elements of statistical analysis and theoretical interpretation. The author also exemplifies the development of translation practice and norms from the sixteenth through the twenty-first century through the comparison of other English translations of El Lazarillo de Tormes.

This book closes with references and two appendices (footnotes from Rowland’s translation and graphical statistical schemes). It will be a good resource for those interested in translation criticism.

Translation studies at the interface of disciplines

Translation studies at the interface of disciplines. Ed. by João Ferreira Duarte, Alexandra Assis Rosa, and Teresa Seruya. (Benjamins translation library 68.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. Pp. vi, 207. ISBN 9789027216762. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Taras Shmiher, Ivan Franko National University, Ukraine

The papers in this collection, originally presented at a conference at the University of Lisbon in 2002, explore the interdisciplinary nature of translation studies, the transfer and adaptation of contemporary theories for translation research, and the complex interplay of text and context in translation.

Part 1 examines the interdisciplinary nature of translation studies. In ‘Questions in the sociology of translation’ (9–27), Andrew Chesterman sketches translation sociology, which researches the issues of translations-as-products, translators, and the translation process by applying theoretical approaches such as polysytem theory, translation historiography, and critical discourse analysis. Yves Gambier, ‘Pour une socio-traduction’ (29–42), develops the interdisciplinary essence of translation studies and elaborates the fundamentals of translation sociology from translation- and translator-oriented perspectives. In ‘Conciliation of disciplines and paradigms: A challenge and a barrier for future directions in translation studies’ (43–53), M. Rosario Martín Ruano surveys how translation studies can benefit from theoretical integration, despite fears of notional profusion and in‑depth contradictions. Gideon Toury, ‘Conducting research on a “wish-to-understand” basis’ (55–66), reveals the necessity of differentiating knowledge that one  allegedly already has  from knowledge that is still sought. Having analyzed a series of assumptions about textuality, Toury justifies the desiderata for scholarly ethics and research behavior. In ‘Translation as dialogue’ (67–81), Annjo Jorid Klungervik Greenall applies Mikhail Bakhtin’s (The dialogic imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981) dialogism theory to language- and culture-motivated research in translation studies.

Part 2 covers the practical implementation of theoretical models. Reine Meylaerts, ‘Literary heteroglossia in translation: When the language of translation is the locus of ideological struggle’ (85–98), investigates the idea of heteroglossia (i.e. literary language plurality) in French-language translations from 1920s and 1930s Flemish in Belgium. In ‘Defining target text reader: Translation studies and literary theory’ (99–109), Alexandra Assis Rosa examines the functionality of the actual and implied reader for studying translation norms. In ‘Critical language study and translation: The case of academic discourse’ (111–27), Karen Bennett contrasts English and Portuguese discourses of humanities and their different worldviews. She explores the translator’s role from the viewpoint of different ways of configuring knowledge. Matthew Wing-Kwong Leung, ‘The ideological turn in translation studies’ (129–44), examines the renewed focus on the ideological significance of translation and the relevance of critical discourse analysis.

The final part consists of case studies. Li Xia, ‘Institutionalising Buddhism: The role of the translator in Chinese society’ (147–60), overviews early translation activities that influenced the spread of Buddhism in China and accentuates the significance of Xuan Zang’s activities. Concentrated on Portuguese subtitling, in ‘Subtitling reading practices’ (161–68), Maria José Alves Veiga emphasizes the importance, current problematic issues, and required protection of audiovisual translation in European context. Alexandra Lopes’s ‘An Englishman in Alentejo: Crimes, misdemeanours & the mystery of overtranslatability’ (169–84) is dedicated to the phenomenon of overtranslatability. Dionisio Martínez Soler,‘Lembranças e Deslembranças: A case study on pseudo-originals’ (185–96) studies the posthumous collection by the Spanish poet and translator Gabino-Alejandro Carriedo, in which the text cannot hide the truth of lingual origin.

Languages of the greater Himalayan region

Languages of the greater Himalayan region, Volume 1: Rabha. By U. V. Joseph. (Brill’s Tibetan studies library 1.) Leiden: Brill, 2007. Pp. xxxii, 864. ISBN 9789004133211. $310 (Hb).

Reviewed by Wolfgang Schulze, University of Munich.

This grammatical description explores the Róngdani dialect of Rabha (Rabatang), a Sino-Tibetan language spoken by roughly 70,000 people living in and around the Goalpara District in Assam, Eastern India. U. V. Joseph’s opulent book, which is based on extensive fieldwork, is the first comprehensive exploration of Rabha. This volume not only provides a grammatical sketch of the language but also includes eleven fully glossed texts (from both speech recordings and written texts) and a Rabha dictionary. Four maps help to locate the language geographically.

In the introduction (1–17), J describes the Rabha speakers and carefully discusses how the language fits into in the Tibeto-Burman taxonomy. The grammar is organized according to both standard descriptive patterns (e.g. J begins by discussing phonetics and phonology) and idiosyncratic features that stem from the grammatical architecture of Rabha. Ch. 1, ‘Sound level analysis’ (18–114), is an excellent presentation of Rabha phonetics and phonology. This analysis is extended in Ch. 2, ‘Phonological processes and morphemics’ (115–32).

Chs. 3–6 turn to grammatical and lexical issues. The lexical level is addressed in Ch. 3, ‘Lexical analysis’ (133–215). Here, J illustrates the formation of Rabha nouns and verbs using derivation and compounding. J’s lexical approach classifies causativization and passivization as derivational processes rather than as morphosyntactic issues. Ch. 4 presents a ‘Phrase level analysis’ (219–445). J begins by describing the Rabha verb system and then moves to an exhaustive presentation of Rabha pronouns and nouns (e.g. number and case marking). Classifier constructions are discussed at the end of this chapter. Ch. 5 concerns ‘Adjectives, adverbs, indeclinables’ (446–78), and syntactic issues are briefly addressed in Ch. 6 (479–88).

Ch. 7, ‘Correlative analysis of Bodo, Garo, and Rabha’ (489–663), compares Rabha with Bodo and Garo. J concentrates on phonetic and phonological issues but also examines nominal and verbal morphology. This section is useful not only because it presents a compelling argument for grouping Bodo and Garo but also because it illustrates the usefulness of the correlative method.

Ch. 8, ‘Sample Rabha texts’ (664–704), presents a collection of spoken and written texts in Rabha. Although interlinear glosses are provided with the translations, a morphological analysis is not included. Finally, the ‘Rabha vocabulary’ (705–843), which covers roughly 4,000 entries, often includes grammatical and cultural peculiarities.

J has produced a well-written and careful documentation of Rabha. His easy-to-read style avoids lengthy theoretical elaborations. This Rabha grammar will be appreciated by researchers from many fields of linguistics.

Morphosemantic number

Morphosemantic number: From Kiowa noun classes to UG number features. By Daniel Harbour. (Studies in natural language and linguistic theory 69.) Dordrecht: Springer, 2007. Pp. xvi, 216. ISBN 9781402050374. $139.

Reviewed by Wolfgang Schulze, University of Munich

In this volume, Daniel Harbour aims to provide a unified theory of number that uses syntax to link morphology and semantics. H’s volume is both an impressive treatise on the theoretical issues concerning number and a rich empirical study that takes its data from Kiowa, an indigenous and highly endangered Kiowa-Tanoan language spoken in Oklahoma.

Kiowa is famous for its so-called inverse number system. Each of Kiowa’s nine noun classes— which are identified by the interaction of number markers and agreement patterns of the corresponding verb—is associated with an inherent number feature. Atypical instances of number are marked by the inverse number morpheme. The corresponding analyses are based on morphology (i.e. number and agreement marking), semantics (i.e. number features), and syntax (i.e. agreement constraints). Such an analysis is not unique to Kiowa; it is also used for a number of languages that are sensitive to noun classification and agreement. However, specific to Kiowa is that most of the agreement markers are packed into a portmanteau morpheme that includes the values of both person and number.

H begins with an introductory chapter, ‘Framework’ (1–20), which provides both the theoretical and the empirical background, including helpful data on Kiowa. In Ch. 2, ‘Kiowa’s noun classes’ (21–59), H carefully describes the nine number-agreement classes of Kiowa, using mnemonic terminology. Accordingly, Kiowa nouns are classified morphosyntactically based on the threefold distinction of referential cardinality (i.e. one, two, three, and more). H argues that the individual classes are marked for strong semantic values such as humanness, animateness, and different types of inanimateness (e.g. self-propulsion, body parts, vegetal classes).

Ch. 3, ‘Number features’ (61–115), presents ‘an inventory of number features, properly semantically defined, together with a theory of their distribution and interaction in the syntax and their treatment in the morphology’ (61). In Ch. 4, ‘Agreement and suppletion’ (117–55), H turns to a second system of classificatory effects—namely, verbal suppletion, which usually operates in cooperation with the corresponding agreement pattern. Agreement markers are discussed in more detail in Ch. 5, ‘The agreement prefix’ (137–91). Here, H illustrates his micromorphology analysis: the large world of Kiowa agreement prefixes can be reduced semantically—and, considering allomorphic variation, formally—to basic features that are motivated by a unified morphosemantic theory of number.

The final chapter, ‘Conclusions and consequences’ (193–200), briefly evaluates the analyses and explores to what extent Kiowa is marked for a gender or a gender-number system. H compares the morphosemantics of Kiowa noun classes to the system of noun classification in Bantu. A full analysis of a Kiowa short story, ‘A Hunting Story’, is provided in the appendix. The volume closes with a bibliography and a name and subject index.

H’s book is an impressive investigation of the complex world of morphosemantics. However, the reader must be acquainted with the central claims and descriptive techniques of formal grammar to fully enjoy both the careful analyses and the Kiowa data.

Essentials of Georgian grammar

Essentials of Georgian grammar: With conjugation tables of 250 most commonly used verbs. By Shorena Kurtsikidze. (LINCOM student grammars 02.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2006. Pp. xiii, 443. ISBN 9783895869976. $123.62.

Reviewed by Wolfgang Schulze, University of Munich

Designed to be used both in Georgian language classes and for self-study, this volume offers a grammar of Georgian, a South Caucasian (Kartvelian) language spoken by roughly four million people. The material has been tested in Georgian language classes taught by the author, Shorena Kurtsikidze, at the University of California, Berkeley.

The book consists of three parts: Part 1 (4–194) includes fifty lessons; Part 2 (195–208) consists of Georgian texts with English translations; and nearly half of the book is contained in Part 3, (209–439), which provides conjugation tables for the inflectional paradigms of 250 common Georgian verbs. These verbs often cause difficulty for learners of Georgian. Whereas case marking is rather straightforward, verbs are marked with interacting and frequently lexicalized morphological forms, including locational preverbs, personal prefixes, and so-called version vowels (which indicate transitivity gradience) as well as derivational suffixes and tense, aspect, and mood morphemes. Although the tables can be helpful when analyzing written Georgian texts, students may not be willing to memorize the paradigms. Therefore, the tables should be considered checklists rather than tools for language production. Students may have profited from a more structural—historically and typologically oriented—presentation of Georgian verbs.

From the very beginning, K introduces the Modern Georgian script, Mkhedruli. All examples are provided in Mkhedruli and lack a transliteration. Although this convention forces students to learn the Georgian script, it makes the volume less accessible to researchers.

The grammar uses a theory-neutral approach and standard, in parts even school-grammar, terminology. Although this will fit the needs of nonlinguist learners of the language, linguists may occasionally question the adequacy of a given term or analysis. Each of the fifty lessons is accompanied by exercises and readings that frequently refer to a specific text genre (e.g. recipes). The vocabulary is not enlarged lesson by lesson but rather is summarized less systematically in some of the lessons according to thematic fields, such as sports, body, family, and time.

As is common with many grammars of this type, the lessons begin with a presentation of the nominal domain, including pronouns. Here, the formation of case and number is followed by sections on adjectives, numerals, postpositions, pronouns, particles, conjunctions, and interjections. Lessons also address the formation of Georgian verbs, starting with the tense and aspect system before turning to the complex world of passives and medio-passives. Notably, this grammar lacks a section on Georgian syntax. The relevant data are incorporated in the sections on morphology and are thus less accessible to the reader. Syntactic features are also obscured by the fact that K rarely provides interlinear glosses with the sample sentences.

This volume may be a helpful tool for nonlinguist students who want to learn Georgian in a traditional way.

Structural-functional studies in English grammar

Structural-functional studies in English grammar: In honour of Lachlan Mackenzie. Ed. by Mike Hannay and Gerard J. Steen. (Studies in language companion series 83.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007. Pp. vi, 393. ISBN 9789027230935. $188 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ahmad M. Saidat, Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan

Mike Hannay and Gerard J. Steen present this collection of studies on the lexico-grammar of English. The contributors, who focus on current functional-theoretical concerns, put forward functional, functional discourse, systemic functional, role and reference, cognitive, and construction models of grammar.

Part 1 focuses on ‘Corpus-based studies’. Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen’s ‘No doubt and related expressions: A functional account’ concludes that the relationship between the meaning and the pragmatic use of such expressions should be rhetorically exploited. In ‘On certainly and zeker’, Pieter Byloo, Richard Kastein, and Jan Nuyts explain the flexible use of British certainly and Dutch zeker using data from the well-known Harry Potter books (New York: Arthur A. Levine). Evelien Keizer, ‘Prenominal possessives in English: Function and use’, investigates the circumstances that favor the use of pronominal possessives over postnominal possessives in English. She proposes a cognitive-pragmatic principle to account for their distribution. Anna Siewierska and Willem Hollmann analyze ‘Ditransitive clauses in English with special reference to Lancashire dialect’. They show that the order of the theme and the recipient can be pragmatically determined.

In ‘“It was you that told me that, wasn’t it?” It-clefts revisited in discourse’, María de los Ángeles Gómez-González discusses the use of it-clefts. Dik Bakker and Anna Siewierska, ‘Another take on the notion subject’, explain that the choice of the subject is pragmatically and semantically determined. They claim that the subject is never a free choice of the speaker. In ‘The modal auxiliaries of English, π-operators in functional grammar and “grounding”’, Louis Goossens argues that there are compelling motivations to semantically discriminate between modal auxiliaries with respect to grammaticalization. Casper de Groot’s ‘The king is on huntunge: On the relation between progressive and absentive in Old and Early Modern English’ shows that the transition from Old English to Middle English was marked by a construction that had the properties of the absentive.

Part 2, ‘The architecture of functional models’, begins with John H. Connolly’s ‘Mental context and the expression of terms within the English clause: An approach based on functional discourse grammar’, which argues that including a contextual level within the functional discourse grammar (FDG) framework should resolve some problems of linguistic description. In ‘Adverbial conjunctions in functional discourse grammar’, Kees Hengeveld and Gerry Wanders explore adverbial conjunctions in FDG, focusing on the units joined in the underlying structure. Matthew Anstey, ‘Tree tigers and tree elephants: A constructional account of English nominal compounds’, discusses English nominal compounds from the reader and the listener’s perspectives. He concludes that the use of an extended construction grammar approach is necessary. In ‘English constructions from a Dutch perspective: Where are the differences?’, Arie Verhagen shows that languages involve lower and higher levels of generality. Christopher S. Butler’s ‘Notes towards an incremental implementation of the role and reference grammar semantics-to-syntax linking algorithm for English’ paves the way for further research in the field. In ‘Grammar, flow and procedural knowledge: Structure and function at the interface between grammar and discourse’, Peter Harder argues for distinguishing between the cognitive representation of grammar and discourse. Michael Fortescue, ‘The non-linearity of speech production’, proposes that most speech processing must be nonlinear. Finally, in ‘A speaker/hearer-based grammar: The case of possessives and compounds’, Theo Janssen argues for a set of procedures and elements that clarify how interlocutors communicate.

The editors have collected an informative set of papers that enrich the field of functional grammar. This volume will be an invaluable resource for students interested in the field.

English intonation: An introduction

English intonation: An introduction. By J. C. Wells. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Pp. ix, 276. ISBN 9780521683807. $44.99.

Reviewed by Malcolm Ross, The Australian National University

In this volume, J. C. Wells presents a professional, yet nontechnical, account of English intonation that will be both comprehensible and useful to advanced learners of English. The text is written in relatively nontechnical English, uses an easily readable notation in examples, and pays attention to meaning as well as form. Most of the short sections end with numerous exercises, and the accompanying CD includes an audio presentation of a selection of the examples (a few of which, however, sound somewhat unnatural to this native speaker of British English).

Ch. 1 (1–14) introduces the key concepts of tone, tonicity, and tonality; summarizes the functions of intonation in English; explains stress and tone; contrasts English tone with tone in other languages; and explores difficulties that adult learners may experience in acquiring English intonation.

Ch. 2 (15–92) discusses the forms and meanings of three pitch movement patterns (i.e. fall, rise, and fall-rise). W associates tones—and the relationships between tones—with grammatical constructions as well as with a variety of discourse-related functions. The chapter closes with a brief summary of previous interpretations of tonal meanings.

Ch. 3 (93–186) focuses on tonicity, which involves the placement of both the nuclear (intonation phrase final) and prenuclear accents. W’s discussion of nuclear accent deals not only with focus but also with the details of accent placement in relation to function words, adverbials, and phrasal verbs. Although W concludes that tonicity needs more research, he clearly accounts for prenuclear accent placement and demonstrates that intonation and grammatical constructions are related.

Ch. 4 (187–206), on tonality, is much shorter and deals with how speakers chunk speech into intonation phrases, a process that W claims ‘function[s] in much the same way in all languages’ (187) and thus should not be difficult to learners of English. Chunking is inextricably bound to tonicity because focus choices simultaneously determine both nuclear accent placement and chunking.

Ch. 5 (207–45) builds on the previous chapters. W expands his discussion of the three tones introduced in Ch. 2, exploring their variants and their meanings. The description of prenuclear accents from Ch. 3 is extended to include their placement, their pitch, and their relationship to lexical stress as well as the information-bearing and focus functions of these choices.

In Ch. 6 (246–58), W explores pedagogical issues, including questions about intonation in oral examinations and four passages for analysis accompanied by model answers.

The appendix (259–62), which summarizes and compares the intonation notation used in this volume to other systems (e.g. tones and break indices [ToBI]), is followed by a key to the exercises, the references, and an index.

Intended for language learners, this text avoids phonological technicalities but is sufficiently detailed, systematic, and explicit in its coverage of English intonation to serve as an introduction for linguists whose training has not covered this area. However, W has decided—understandably for a language teaching textbook—not to clutter his prose with references: although the bibliography covers the major works on English intonation, W does not indicate to whom he owes the various features of his account, nor the points at which he makes an original contribution or differs from other analysts.

Germanic tone accents

Germanic tone accents: Proceedings of the first international workshop on Franconian tone accents, Leiden, 13–14 June 2003. Ed. by Michiel de Vaan. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2006. Pp. 167. ISBN 9783515088770. $63 (Hb).

Reviewed by Malcolm Ross, The Australian National University

Earlier versions of these ten papers were presented at the First International Workshop on Franconian Tone Accents, Leiden, 13–14 June 2003. Despite the conference title, only six of the papers discuss Franconian word accents: Scandinavian word accents are explored in three of the papers, and one paper compares Franconian and Scandinavian word accents.

The Franconian word accent area embraces most of Dutch and Belgian Limburg, all of Luxemburg, and an adjacent portion of Germany from Krefeld southward to the Mosel Valley and eastward to the Rhine Valley. The accent distinction affects words whose stressed syllable has a rhyme of two or more sonorant moras. In ‘Das Rätsel löst sich: Phonetik und sprachhistorische Genese der Tonakzente im Regelumkehrgebiet (Regel B)’ (135–63), Jürgen Erich Schmidt and Hermann J. Künzel contrast a Central Franconian and a South Mosel Franconian dialect of German. They show that the accents are distinguished by length and pitch movement. In ‘Die Tonakzente in der Mundart von Beuren/Hochwald’ (85–90), Anna Peetz’ summarizes the phonology of a Beuren/Hochwald dialect.

In ‘The Cologne word accent revisited’ (107–33), Jörg Peters analyzes the complex phonetic manifestations of the Cologne accent distinction. He shows that pitch is not the most distinctive feature. José Cajot argues in ‘Phonologisch bedingter Polytonieverlust—eine tonlose Enklave südlich vom Maastricht’ (11–23), that in some Limburg dialects, one accent has undergone changes in vowel quality. Furthermore, because tone has become redundant, it has been lost in the dialects in which changes have affected the largest number of eligible lexical items. In ‘Eine vergleichende diachrone Untersuchung zum Tonverlust südwestlich der Stadt Maastricht’ (51–61), Ronny Keulen reconstructs changes that have affected Early West Germanic vowels in the toneless area. Jan Goosens, ‘Historische und geographische Randbedingungen des Genker Tonakzentsystems’ (35–49), describes a number of isoglosses that occur in association with the accent distinction in Limburg dialects to the west and north of the tone loss area.

Harry Perridon’s ‘On the origin of the Scandinavian word accents’ (91–105) provides a summary of Scandinavian accents and proposes a new interpretation of their history. Gjert Kristoffersen, ‘Is 1 always less than 2 in Norwegian tonal accents?’ (63–71), argues that the difference between the two tones in West Norwegian dialects can be characterized as differential timing of a single high-low melody. Inger Ejskjær, ‘Glottal stop (stød, parasitic plosive) and (distinctive) tonal accents in the Danish dialects’ (25–33), surveys dialectal manifestations of these phenomena. Ejskjær concludes that many of their details are attributable to changes internal to Danish and postdate common Scandinavian.

In ‘Epenthetic consonants and the accentuation of words with old closed vowels in Low German, Dutch, and Danish dialects’ (73–83), Anatoly Liberman argues that epenthetic -k- in words such as dialectal German huks (< hūs ‘house’) postdates word accents and is not a reflex of stød. However, Liberman’s analysis must be viewed in context of a controversial claim that Scandinavian and Franconian word accents reflect a common inheritance from Proto-Germanic, a position not accepted by some of the other contributors (e.g. Schmidt & Künzel, Keulen, Perridon, and Ejskjær) who argue that word accent contrasts have arisen much more recently from allophonic contrasts in which changes in canonic word forms would otherwise have resulted in homophony.

This volume is not an introduction to Germanic word accents; most of the papers presuppose substantial knowledge of the topic.

Trask’s historical linguistics

Trask’s historical linguistics. Revised by Robert McColl Millar. London: Hodder Arnold, 2007. Pp. 514. ISBN 9780340927656. $49.95.

Reviewed by Nikolai Penner, University of Waterloo

This introductory textbook of historical linguistics is a revised edition of Robert Lawrence Trask’s well-known text, Historical linguistics (London: Hodder Arnold, 1996). Revised by Robert McColl Millar, this volume retains to a great extent the structure of the original (including Trask’s innovative use of Basque examples), while also incorporating some notable changes, such as an extended discussion of sociolinguistics and examples from Scots dialects (M’s area of expertise).

Designed as a text for a university course on historical linguistics, this volume is aimed at undergraduate students with little or no background in descriptive linguistics. It consists of twelve chapters, each followed by a case study, recommendations for further reading, and a set of original exercises.

Ch. 1, ‘The fact of language change’ (1–20), demonstrates that the processes of language change are operating now just as they were millennia ago. With a pinch of dry humor, M demonstrates that, contrary to the opinion of language conservatives and purists, language change is not negative or perverse but rather is a natural and necessary phenomenon.

Chs. 2–6 explore various types of linguistic change—specifically, ‘Lexical and semantic change’ (21–64), ‘Phonological change I: Change in pronunciation’ (65–96), ‘Phonological change II: Change in phonological systems’ (97–130), ‘Morphological change’ (131–70), and ‘Syntactic change’ (171–206). A range of examples from several languages and M’s anecdotal style make these chapters an entertaining read that introduces the concepts in a clear and logical way.

In Ch. 7, ‘Relatedness between languages’ (207–52), M discusses the consequences of language change and explores dialect geography, genetic relationships between languages, several models of language classification, and the origin of regional dialects and accents. This chapter also contains a brief description of the major language families.

Ch. 8, ‘The comparative method’ (253–310), introduces a method of reconstructing earlier stages of languages. M discusses its limitations, provides background on the neogrammarian hypothesis and on semantic reconstruction, and introduces language typology and universals. Ch. 9, ‘Internal reconstruction’ (311–32), explores the internal method of reconstruction.

Ch. 10, ‘The origin and propagation of change’ (333–86), tackles the Saussurean paradox, language variation, and lexical diffusion. M provides examples of studies by William Labov, Jim and Leslie Milroy, Peter Trudgill, and Matthew Chen and William Wang.

Finally, Ch. 11, ‘Social and historical pressures upon language: Contact, planning and the birth and death of languages’ (387–448), provides further discussion of language contact, language planning, and language birth and death. Ch. 12, ‘Language and prehistory’ (449–82), which concentrates on the history of languages, discusses linguistics in connection with paleontology and archeology and presents statistical methods for establishing the relatedness of languages in the distant past.

Overall, this book is a solid introduction to the discipline of historical linguistics. M presents the information in a lively and entertaining atheoretical way. He brilliantly demonstrates that historical linguistics is not a study of dry facts that have no relevance to the modern world but instead is a field that investigates live processes operating on languages today.