Monthly Archives: June 2011

A grammar of Teiwa

A grammar of Teiwa. By Marian Klamer. (Mouton grammar library 49.) Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2010. Pp. xviii, 540. ISBN 9783110226065. $225 (Hb).

Reviewed by Elly van Gelderen, Arizona State University

Teiwa is an endangered language spoken on the island of Pantar in Eastern Indonesia, just North of Timor. Though still spoken by 4,000 people, it is being replaced by Malay and Standard Indonesian in the schools and churches so that most children no longer speak it. Since it and some of its neighbors are Papuan and not Austronesian languages, the question arises how the over twenty Alor-Pantar outlier languages are related to each other and possibly to the other Papuan languages some 1,000 kilometers away.

The book provides a very rich description of Teiwa in Ch. 1, ‘Introduction’. Marian Klamer presents an excellent description of the history, geology, linguistic situation and affiliations, and a typological sketch of Teiwa and its speakers. K discusses two main views on the genetic affiliation of the Alor-Pantar languages to the other Papuan ones: (i) originating from a Trans New Guinea family and moving further West, and (ii) assuming the languages on Alor and Pantar are ‘stay-behind’ descendants.

K shows that Teiwa is head-final with the verbs, conjunctions, and negatives occurring finally (the verb preceding the negative and conjunction). It has an accusative alignment but no Case. Additionally, it lacks adpositions but uses serial verb constructions. Teiwa has few affixes, realis and applicative markers on the verb, and it marks the person and number of animate objects. K concludes that the ‘phonology, morphology and syntax are relatively simple’ (30). K shows that Teiwa shares the head-final characteristic and the frequent use of serial verb constructions with other Papuan languages, but she also chronicles many differences, e.g. no gender, no bound subject, and no contrast between medial and final verbs, that make it ‘morpho-syntactically simpler than many other Papuan languages’ (31).

Ch. 2 ‘Phonology’ provides the phonemic inventory, the syllable structure, and stress assignment. Teiwa has eight vowels, eight stops (including a uvular and glottal stop), five fricatives (including a pharyngeal and glottal), two liquids, three nasals, and two glides.

Other aspects of the Teiwa grammar are presented in the following chapters: Ch. 3 ‘Word classes’, Ch. 4 ‘Grammatical relations’, Ch. 5 ‘The noun phrase’, Ch. 6 ‘Non-verbal clauses’, Ch. 7 ‘Verbal clauses: The marking of reality status, modality, and aspect’, Ch. 8 ‘Negative, interrogative, and imperative clauses’, Ch. 9 ‘Serial verb constructions’, Ch. 10 ‘Clause combinations’, and Ch. 11 ‘Information structure’.  Each chapter has a wonderful synopsis at the end. Anyone working on serial verbs, negatives, or interrogatives will benefit immensely from these chapters.

The grammar is based on primary field data, collected by K between 2003 and 2007. There are some glossed and translated Teiwa texts of various genres included, as well as a word list. It is another outstanding volume in the Mouton Grammar Library series, and will be extremely helpful to Papuan scholars, typologists, and general linguists.

The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics

The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics. 2nd edn. Ed. by Robert B. Kaplan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. xxviii, 641. ISBN 9780195384253. $60.

Reviewed by Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, University of Warwick, UK

With its two prefaces, an extended introduction, thirty-eight chapters, and a concluding essay that bravely seeks to predict possible future developments, The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics re-confirms its credentials as a respected and distinctive presence in the expanding linguistics handbook genre. Especially new to this second edition are parts of the introduction that presents an authoritative yet concise guide to applied linguistics and the addition of three new chapters.

Part 1 ‘Introduction’ was particularly useful as a reminder of the history and the trends of an eclectic field which, in the time between the two editions, has confirmed its inherent multidisciplinarity. Scholars who for various reasons have been concerned with presenting and defending applied linguistics (AL) as a unified endeavour will be at least partially reassured by the space that this volume devotes to traditional areas of enquiry that represent the backbone of AL, such as the four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) (Part 2), second language learning and teaching (Parts 4 and 5), and bilingualism and multilingualism (Parts 7 and 8).

In some regards, the volume is too reliant on a conservative approach to the field, but it does do well in presenting some recent and exciting developments in AL: e.g. language for specific purposes (LSP), such as in Ch. 22, ‘Language uses in professional contexts’ (318–32), by Mary McGroarty. Other aspects of the field, such as English for specific purposes, particularly current empirical research on Business English as a Lingua Franca, or, more generally, business communication in its US and European manifestations were omitted from this current volume.

As the editor mentions in the Preface to the second edition, the book ‘is not intended to represent all areas of applied linguistics, nor is it intended to cover the entire global geography’ (xi). The result of a necessary selection process means that Anglophone countries dominate the geographic distribution of contributors. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why topics such as computer mediated communication, critical approaches to AL, qualitative and quantitative methodologies in and for AL, as well as non-western contributions to AL have not found a place in the current edition. I trust that the third edition, hopefully compiled again under Robert Kaplan’s direction, will consider reflecting the expanded scope of what remains a fast-growing and increasingly varied field of academic enterprise.

Introducción a la lingüística hispánica

Introducción a la lingüística hispánica. 2nd edn. By José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, Anna María Escobar, and Catherine E. Travis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. xiv, 554. ISBN 9780521513982. $63.97 (Hb).

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, Sabanci University Writing Center, Turkey

This is the second edition of a university textbook for advanced students of Spanish in the US originally published in 2001. Changes include two new chapters, an extensive revision of other sections, and the incorporation of new exercises. It comprises eight chapters that range from a general introduction to linguistics as a cognitive science to dialectal aspects of Spanish. It does not assume prior knowledge of linguistics. Only two sections, the first introductory chapter and the section on pragmatics, are not specifically related to Spanish; otherwise, all chapters provide insights into varieties of Spanish, as well as such contact languages as Catalan, Basque, and Amerindian languages. In most chapters, examples of contemporary language use are provided that contrast different dialect forms (or different languages).

Each chapter begins with a statement of objectives and ends with a series of exercises (often recommending the use of the internet), a summary, and a brief bibliography. Short comprehension exercises also appear in the course of each chapter. A glossary, a bibliography for each chapter, and an index are provided at the end.

Ch.2, on phonetics and phonology (45–122), introduces the International Phonetic Alphabet with a focus on Spanish phonemes, allophones, and suprasegmentals (e.g. word stress and intonation). Variations in pronunciation are discussed with examples from a wide range of dialects, and reference is also made to current changes in pronunciation as evidenced by the speech of the youth in particular regions. The third chapter, on morphology (123–200), has a rich discussion of word derivation and compound word formation, in addition to the general overview of Spanish conjugation and gender systems. The fourth chapter, on syntax (201–78), covers simple and complex sentences in Spanish with occasional contrasts with aspects of English and Basque syntax.

The following chapter on the history of Spanish (279–339) focuses primarily on the evolution of Spanish from Latin, but includes a mention of pre-Roman languages, such as Iberian Celtic and Basque. Consideration is given to phonological, morphological, and semantic changes. After a brief discussion of the standardization of Spanish, culminating in the establishment of the Real Academía Española in the eighteenth century, and an overview of the lexical contributions from Arab and Amerindian languages, the chapter closes with a discussion of the main dialectal features of Peninsular and Latin American Spanish and a brief look at Judeo-Spanish and the Aragonese dialect.

After a general chapter on semantics and pragmatics (340–90), the penultimate chapter on variation in Spanish (391–444) covers phonological and morphosyntactic features of the more well known sociolects and diatopic variants of Spanish, and some less well documented variants such as Judeo or African Spanish. The final chapter, Ch. 8 (445–503), provides a detailed overview of phonological, morphosyntactic, and sociolinguistic features of Spanish spoken in the US. Of particular interest is the description of different Spanish dialects in contact.

This is an outstanding, professionally produced publication that students will find absorbing and motivating. A comprehensive work of this type offering such balanced and up-to-date coverage of the Spanish-speaking world is a rare find.

Speaking Sitimaxa

Speaking Sitimaxa: A learner’s grammar and reader. By Julien Granberry. Vol. 3: Dictionary. (LINCOM language coursebooks 12/3.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2009. Pp. 622. ISBN 9783929075885. $123.20.

Reviewed by Elly van Gelderen, Arizona State University

The third volume of Speaking Sitimaxa: A learner’s grammar and reader contains a Sitimaxa-English (10–188) and English-Sitimaxa (189–618) lexicon. The last speakers of Sitimaxa died over seventy years ago and the grammar, reader, and dictionary will help members of the tribe in Southern Louisiana relearn the language.

The story of the re-emergence of Sitimaxa is fascinating. Morris Swadesh and Mary Haas worked with the last speakers and gathered material on Sitimaxa in the 1930s. These data, some of which were spoken records, were then given to Julian Granberry by Swadesh and Haas in 1943 with a suggested orthography. The materials were meant to be developed into a dictionary and grammar for the non-linguist language learner. G did this, while adding eighteenth and early nineteenth century material, to develop the dictionary as part of his undergraduate work at Yale. The present edition is a reprint of the 1949 edition prepared by G.

The volume starts with an introduction to the alphabet used. There are five vowels (i, e, a, o, u) and each has a short and long form. They are represented in an International Phonetic Alphabet fashion, e.g. the i in kica ‘woman’ sounds ‘like e in English Pete’ (6). Sitimaxa has six stops (p, t, k, b, d, g), two nasals (m, n), two glides (w, y), a glottal stop and glottal fricative (q, h), two fricatives (s, x), and two affricates (c, j). Compared to other languages, liquids are absent and there are fewer fricatives.

Entries in the Sitimaxa-English part list the word in the standard orthography, followed by part of speech, syllable structure, phonemic transcription, and meaning with etymology. Sources are also given, to the 1802 Duralde, the 1880s Gatschet, and the twentieth century Swanton and Swadesh work. Their orthographic convention is also provided. An example of a simple entry is ‘gan part (gan) /kʔãn/ not’ (24) with the negative labeled a particle. Additional detail on negatives in Sitimaxa is provided in the English-Sitimaxa part. In this section, there are multiple entries on negatives that might require a closer linguistic analysis. A slightly more complex dictionary entry is ‘nenwivt (nen·wi-) /ne͂n-w-i-/ 1. remove from a container; 2. take out of a container (nen– ‘out of water’ + –w < –wa singular action + –i verbalizer) [Swd (47) nenwi-].

According to the Ethnologue, Sitimaxa is sometimes classified as an isolate but is listed as part of the Gulf language family alongside other extinct languages Tunica, Atakapa, and Natchez ( Having access to a good dictionary might also help shed light on the genetic relationships.

South Slavic discourse particles

South Slavic discourse particles. Ed. by Mirjana N. Dedaić and Mirjana Mišković-Luković. (Pragmatics and beyond new series 197.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. ix, 166. ISBN 9789027256010. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by Biljana Radić Bojanić, University of Novi Sad

This much needed book in the field of discourse analysis comprises the results of research on discourse particles, which has been increasingly interesting for linguists in the past few decades. The reason for choosing South Slavic languages as the sources of material and field of investigation rests in their abundance of discourse particles.

The volume consists of seven chapters, the first of which is ‘South Slavic discourse particles: Introduction’ (1–22), written by Mirjana Mišković-Luković and Mirjana N. Dedaić. This chapter provides a general introduction to the field of discourse particles on the one hand and to South Slavic languages on the other. It intends to demarcate the terms discourse particle, discourse marker, pragmatic marker, and discourse connective and explain the choice of the term discourse particle from the title of the book. Additionally, this chapter explicates the linguistic and political situation concerning the South Slavic languages by illustrating both historical and linguistic factors that have influenced the present-day status of Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian.

Ch. 2, ‘Ama, a Bulgarian adversative connective’ (23–44) by Grace E. Fielder, integrates relevance theory and discourse analysis to scrutinize the Bulgarian adversative connective ama. The research relies on the data from spoken discourse and a nineteenth century novel with a variety of registers, aiming to establish if the status of ama has changed with the passage of time. The author ascertains that ama has an interactional function in present-day colloquial speech because it expresses the adversative reaction of the speaker towards the preceding discourse or an extralinguistic element.

Alexandre Sévigny relies on relevance theory to focus on the Macedonian kamo in Ch. 3, ‘Kamo, an attitudinal pragmatic marker of Macedonian’ (45–63). The author analyzes the material collected in the Macedonian speech community in Canada composed of second and third generation speakers and establishes that kamo, a seemingly polysemous word, marks the speaker’s attitudes of disbelief towards an attributed utterance.

Ch. 4, ‘Markers of conceptual adjustment: Serbian baš and kao’ (65–89) by Mirjana Mišković-Luković, also couches her account of Serbian particles baš and kao in the relevance-theoretic framework, showing that both function as semantic constraints on the explicit content of an utterance but in different ways. While baš encodes either literalness or pragmatic strengthening, kao signals a weak pragmatic loosening. Her examples are either constructed or taken from naturally occurring discourse recorded in Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia.

Using relevance theory, Aida Premilovac analyzes Bosnian informal discourse as the context of occurrence of ono in ‘The Bosnian discourse particle ono’ (91–108). Shedding light on the fact that there are certain problems with the traditional approach to the analysis of ono, she suggests that it is a non-truth-conditional and procedural linguistic device, similar to English like, which signals loose interpretation of the utterance.

Ch. 6, ‘Reformulating and concluding: The pragmatics of the Croatian discourse marker dakle’ (109–31) by Mirjana N. Dedaić, concentrates on the analysis of the Croatian dakle (‘consequently’, ‘then’, ‘so’), using examples from conversations, media talk shows and reports, written material, and the Croatian National Corpus. After setting the scene in the account of dakle as a discourse marker, the author provides a detailed description of a number of different meanings of dakle, including reformulation, its most prominent function.

The last chapter, ‘Pa, a modifier of connectives: An argumentative analysis’ (133–62) by Igor Ž. Žagar, analyzes data from contemporary press in order to investigate the meaning of the Slovenian connective pa, especially in the phrases ker pa ‘but since’ and sicer pa ‘anyway’. The results of his analysis show that pa in the mentioned compound connectives invokes either background knowledge or discursive information, which without pa remains unavailable.

This book, whose contributions follow the dialectal continuum of South Slavic languages from South to North, thus covering an impressive number of languages, is an extremely valuable resource for everyone interested in discourse particles as it provides authoritative data on the semantic and pragmatic aspects of a number of discourse particles.

Unconscious memory representations in perception

Unconscious memory representations in perception: Processes and mechanisms in the brain. Ed. by István Czigler and István Winkler. (Advances in consciousness research 78.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. x, 274. ISBN 9789027252142. $149 (Hb).

Reviewed by Svetlana Pashneva, Kursk State University

This book is an edited collection of papers focusing on the role non-conscious processes and memory representations play in perception. The book provides both a theoretical and empirical overview of the various topics of and approaches to the question in focus. A number of studies of implicit memory representations, employing various methods (e.g. psychologi­cal, neuroscience, and computational modeling) are presented. The results reviewed in this book were mostly obtained through recording event-related brain potentials (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The volume consists of nine chapters, each addressing a different topic from the same approach.  Empirical evidence is evaluated in terms of its importance to models of the processes underlying conscious perception.

In ‘Conscious and unconscious aspects of working memory’ (1–35), Amanda L. Gilchrist and Nelson Cowan review the role working memory plays in conscious and non-conscious cognitive processing. The discussion of the various models of working memory is followed by the suggestion that activation-based models, particularly those that include nested processes are at an advantage in delineating conscious, preconscious, and subliminal processing. In ‘Markers of awareness? EEG potentials evoked by faint and masked events, with special reference to the “attentional blink”’ (37–70), Rolf Verleger discusses ERP components related to subjective experience and non-conscious processes. István Winkler proposes a conceptual model of auditory object formation in ‘In search for auditory object representations’ (71–106), and discusses in a common framework such important functions of the auditory system as the separation of auditory streams and auditory deviance detection. He shows that predictive sound representations exist in the human auditory system and suggests that such representations form the basis of auditory objects in the brain.

István Czigler focuses on the role sensory memory plays in au­tomatic visual change detection and perception in ‘Representation of regularities in visual stimulation: Event-related potentials reveal the automatic acquisition’ (107–31). Minna Huotilainen and Tuomas Teinonen’s chapter,‘Auditory learning in the developing brain’ (133–46), discusses the role learning and implicit memory play in perceptual development. Susan L. Denham, Salvador Dura-Bernal, Martin Coath, and Emili Balaguer-Ballester present a neurocomputational approach to model the processes underlying perceptual objects. They review models of perceptual organization in the vi­sual and auditory modalities and argue for an interpretation of perception as a process of inference. They suggest that making predictions is an effective strategy for dis­covering what’s out there, and for refining and verifying the accuracy of repre­sentations of the world.

Yury Shtyrov and Friedemann Pulvermüller in ‘Are you listening? Language outside the focus of attention’ (179–207) review and evaluate the theories of memory representations involved in speech percep­tion. They provide new insights into the non-conscious processes underlying speech perception and propose a new study paradigm. Stefan Koelsch proposes a theory of the perception of musical structure in ‘Unconscious memory representations underlying music-syntactic processing and processing of auditory oddballs’ (209–44), and emphasizes the role of non-conscious processes and implicit memory representations. Finally, in ‘On the psychophysiology of aesthetics: Automatic and controlled processes of aesthetic appreciation’ (245–57), Thomas Jacobsen reviews memory systems that operate at different levels of processing in aesthetic appreciation, demonstrating that aesthetic judgment of graphic patterns, faces, and musical cadences is preceded by the construction of information based on various memory systems operation unconsciously.

There is an appendix by Alexandra Bendixen, ‘Using electrophysiology to study unconscious memory represenations’ (259–71), which helps non-expert readers to understand the ERP method and assess the data reviewed in the various chapters of the book.

Clinical pragmatics

Clinical pragmatics. By Louise Cummings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. xii, 305. ISBN 9780521888455. $ 118 (Hb).

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas, Brazil

In her introduction, Louise Cummings claims her task is ‘in part a critical one—a critical examination of our current state of knowledge in clinical pragmatics as well as of the application of this knowledge to the assessment and treatment of pragmatic disorders in children and adults’ (1). The field itself is relatively new, as C concedes, but she claims it is ‘a field of study in its own right’ (1).

The volume is made up of seven chapters: ‘Clinical pragmatics: Theory and practice’ (1–39), ‘A survey of developmental pragmatic disorders’ (40–87), ‘A survey of acquired pragmatic disorders’ (88–117), ‘The contribution of pragmatics to cognitive theories of autism’ (118–38), ‘The cognitive substrates of acquired pragmatic disorders’ (139–76), ‘The assessment and treatment of pragmatic disorders’ (177–215), and ‘A critical evaluation of pragmatic assessment and treatment techniques’ (216–55). This is followed by an up-to-date and fairly comprehensive forty-two page bibliography as well as an index of key terms and topics.

As is clear from the chapter headings, C considers it important to maintain the distinction between developmental and acquired pragmatic disorders. Symptoms can be confusing. Confusions arise from ‘describing as pragmatic, behaviors that are not pragmatic in any reasonable interpretation of [the] term’ just as much as ‘a failure to capture the essential pragmatic character of behaviors that are genuinely pragmatic in nature’ (218). Also, C readily dismisses the idea of ‘linking developmental and acquired pragmatic disorders to specific chronological periods’ (8) because the whole issue is yet to be further investigated.

But C also credits a good deal of the confusion in clinical pragmatics to the existence of multifarious approaches to the very question of what pragmatics is all about. Unlike their fellow researchers in syntax and semantics, ‘theorists in pragmatics lack even [the] the most basic consensus on what constitutes their domain of study’ (216).

C, however, does take a firm stand on certain crucial issues. Against what she sees as a pervasive trend of equating pragmatics with communication, effectively leaving nothing as off-limits for it, C invokes the authority of John Searle in order to ‘reverse the tendency set in motion by Chomsky’s famous competence/performance distinction by arguing for the integration of pragmatics within our linguistic competence’ (7).

The book presents the reader with a wide, panoramic view of the very young field of clinical pragmatics. For instance, the opening chapter presents ten items under the subsection title ‘Concepts and theories in pragmatics’. In the subsequent chapters, various mental disorders, both developmental and acquired, are discussed alongside useful insights into how knowledge gathered in the field of pragmatics might help understand what is going on and how best to address the problem clinically.

This book should attend to the needs of a newcomer to the field, but also has the potential to prod other researchers to divert their thoughts in directions hitherto not contemplated.

The King James Bible and the English language

Begat: The King James Bible and the English language. By David Crystal. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. viii, 327. ISBN 9780199585854. $24.95.

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas, Brazil

In this delightful book, David Crystal takes a look at the influence of the Holy Bible on the English language principally (though not exclusively) thanks to its King James’ or so-called Authorized Version. Referring to ‘the myriad contributions of Wycliffe, Tyndale, and many others’ and their ‘linguistic fingerprints’, C says in the closing sentence that ‘they are an essential element in the story of how the English language was “begat”’ (262).

The book has two prologues (the first focusing on the influence of the Bible on the English language and the second alerting the reader as to some problems inherent in the very enterprise and some minor caveats) and an interlude that divides its content chapters into two equal halves. It ends with an epilogue, two appendices, a brief note on the New Testament sources, three indices (expressions, Bible translations, and Books of the Bible), and finally a general index.

Despite this formidable overall design, the book is extremely user-friendly and a veritable delight to read. In forty-two short chapters roughly averaging five pages each, C entertains the reader with a wealth of interesting (and often curious) information on how deeply ingrained many of the expressions from the Bible are in the day-to-day use of the English language by its speakers right across the world. Even more impressive is the fact that many users of the Biblical idiom seldom, if ever, realize that they are indebted to the book every time they resort to an expression like a fly in the ointment or kick the bucket.

The content chapters all have as their headings expressions and English phrases whose origins lie in the Bible, to wit ‘The skin of one’s teeth’ (83–85) and ‘Nothing new under the sun’ (101–09). C points out that some expressions such as two by two (from the Genesis account of Noah and the Flood) have ‘minimal or moderate influence’ (39), others like a coat of many colors have a much wider currency perhaps because people feel attracted to the concept rather than the language per se. Other expressions like fire and brimstone occupy a middle rank in terms of their applicability to new contexts of use.

C conducts his discussion in a captivating and most enjoyable manner. It is both informative and witty. In the chapter titled ‘Begat’ (42–44), this is what he has to say: ‘This archaic past-tense form of beget carries a phonetic punch which has made it a popular stylistic choice among present-day writers commenting on how one thing has led to another. It has even become a book title’ (43).

News talk: Investigating the language of journalism

News talk: Investigating the language of journalism. By Colleen Cotter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. xiii, 280. ISBN 9780521525657. $32.99.

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, Sabanci University Writing Center, Turkey

This text offers an introduction to journalism and addresses how media practice influences the discourse and language of the news. Colleen Cotter adopts an approach that is informed by the traditions of sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and linguistic anthropology. The research is based on C’s previous experience as a journalist in the US and on a broad array of data gathered from fieldwork, text analysis, and interviews with practitioners.

The book’s ten chapters are arranged in four sections (‘The process and practice of everyday journalism’, ‘Conceptualizing the news’, ‘Constructing the story: Texts and contexts’, and ‘Decoding the discourse’), a division which reflects the news gathering and production process. Each chapter contains numerous examples from interviews or journalistic texts, begins with a list of key points, and ends with a summary. A final conclusion is followed by a glossary and an index.

Ch. 1, ‘An interactional and ethnographic approach to news media language’ (15–29), situates the author’s approach within previous research on media studies and briefly describes factors that affect news discourse. In Ch. 2, ‘Craft and community: Reading the ways of journalists’ (30–48), C discusses journalism as a craft involving intersecting communities of journalists and recipients (readers or listeners), and journalists’ conceptualization of their craft. Ch. 3, ‘The ways reporters learn to report and editors learn to edit’ (49–64), explores how the skills developed as journalists are socialized into the profession, ranging from reporting, news writing, and editing, to issues concerning reporting ethics.

Ch. 4, ‘News values and their significance in text and practice’ (67–87), analyzes the treatment of newsworthiness in textbooks and by journalists. Ch. 5, ‘The “story meeting”: Deciding what’s fit to print’ (88–109), provides a detailed ethnographic description of the speech event of a story meeting (i.e. daily meetings between editors to discuss the news format of the subsequent day’s paper). Ch. 6, ‘The interaction-based nature of journalism’ (110–32), examines the interactive nature of journalistic practice, in terms of the journalist’s relationship as a participant in a community, with the audience, and the influence this has on evaluations of newsworthiness.

Ch. 7, ‘Story design and the dictates of the “lead”’ (135–70), discusses the design of a good news story, focusing on the ingredients of journalistic writing such as attribution, background, and crafting the lead. Ch. 8, ‘”Boilerplate”: Simplifying stories, anchoring text, altering meaning’ (171–86), explores the contextualization of news through the boilerplate technique, involving the repetition of certain material in stories that run for more than a day. A description of the features and the implications of choices made in the boilerplate is provided. Ch. 9, ‘Style and standardization in news language’ (187–214), examines the style and standardization of written and spoken news language, and news media’s insider attitudes towards language usage. In addition to the conservative and prescriptive approach to language use enforced by news editors, C also discusses language standardization as an opportunity for interaction with the audience (e.g. letters to the editor and language mavens), and as a means of forging links with the audience through using marked linguistic choices.

The final chapter, ‘The impact of the news process on media language’ (217–29), briefly outlines aspects of the news delivery process and discusses insights that a linguist may bring to the field of journalism.

News talk is suited to undergraduate students with some linguistic training, but with little or no background in media operations. Those with an understanding of the media world, but with little knowledge of how linguistics can contribute to the description of journalistic practice, may also be interested in the role that language plays in this profession.

Where prosody meets pragmatics

Where prosody meets pragmatics. Ed. by Dagmar Barth-Weingarten, Nicole Dehé, and Anne Wichmann. (Studies in pragmatics 8.) Bingley, UK: Emerald, 2009. Pp. xii, 302. ISBN 9781849506311. $113.47 (Hb).

Reviewed by Thomas Hoffmann, University of Osnabrück

Prosody plays a crucial role for the pragmatic interpretation of spoken utterances. The present volume, which explores the interface between prosody and pragmatics, is therefore a welcome contribution to this new but growing research field.

In addition to the editors’ introduction, ‘Where prosody meets pragmatics: Research at the interface’ (1–20), the volume contains three sections. Part 1, ‘Referential and discourse/textual meaning’, examines the prosodic cues to referential and discourse/textual meaning, while Part 2, ‘Organizing and maintaining interaction’, focuses on speaker change in conversational interaction. Finally, Part 3, ‘Style, stance and interpersonal meaning’, is concerned with various aspects of interpersonal meaning.

Part 1 starts off with a paper by Joe Blythe (23–52) in which he looks at the relationship of prosodic means and referential meaning. In particular, he investigates person reference in Murriny Patha, an Australian Aboriginal language, and shows the importance of global pitch characteristics (i.e. pitch register, tempo, loudness, isochronic timing) as well as paralinguistic features (such as creaky or excited voice). Sasha Calhoun (53–77) addresses the role of probabilistic prosodic prominence marking of ‘kontrasts’ (vs. background) in the Switchboard corpus. Liesbeth Degand and Anne Catherine Simon (79–105) examine different discourse genres with respect to the mapping of syntactic structure and prosodic structure in order to unearth so-called basic discourse units. This part ends with Phoenix Lam’s contribution (107–26) on the prosodic realization of the discourse particle well in the Hong Kong Corpus of Spoken English.

The first paper in Part 2 by Jill House (129–42) takes a relevance theory perspective on turn-taking and investigates the effects of prosody for coherent intonation phrase chunking. In contrast to this, Dagmar Barth-Weingarten (143–81) focuses on the prosodic-phonetic cues on non-floor claiming responses in American telephone conversation and discusses the clusters of prosodic-phonetic features that separate response-blocking from response-allowing cues. Emina Kurtic, Guy J. Brown, and Bill Wells (183–203) study how speakers exploit pitch manipulation for the management of overlapping talk and negation of competing turns. The role of prosodic patterns for the negation of first and second turn in the opening sequences in two-party telephone conversations of radio phone-in programs is surveyed by Beatrice Szczepek Reed (205–22).

In Part 3, Leendert Plug (225–56) investigates the temporal characteristics of turns implementing disagreement or a problematic answer in Dutch corpus data and finds a clear trend for such turns to be produced more slowly. The timing of turn-constructional units and the issue of relatedness of two consecutive turns is explored by Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (257–76), who postulates that timing-norms are not so much iconic in nature but much more governed by pragmatic, context-sensitive constraints. Finally, Merle Horne (277–88) surveys apparent disfluencies (i.e. filled pauses with a marked voice quality) in spontaneous Swedish speech and shows that these have a pragmatic hedging function (e.g. signalling uncertainty/indecisiveness).

Despite its strong focus on English (with only four out of eleven papers covering languages other than English), this volume is a collection of papers that should be of great interest to anyone working on prosody and/or pragmatics and will surely help inspire much future research in the field.