Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cognitive systems and the extended mind

Cognitive systems and the extended mind by Robert D. Rupert. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 288. ISBN 9780195379457. $55 (Hb).

Reviewed by Lucas BiettiCenter for Interdisciplinary Memory Research, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen

Robert D. Rupert proposes a system-based theory of cognitive processes to demarcate the boundaries of mental processes and thereby argue against the extended mind theory (EMT). The EMT, which is a relatively new hypothesis about the extended nature of the mind, claims that while some mental states and experiences can be defined internally, there are many in which the meaning attribution processes are highly influenced by external factors. That is, some environmental elements can have a crucial influence on cognitive processes. According to the EMT, cognition depends on multiple connections between the brain, body, and world—both the physical and social world. That is, cognitive processes are no longer simply characterized at an abstract, brain-bound, purely information-processing level, but as sets of interacting networks that integrate and synchronize the brain, body, and world in a functional and goal-oriented way.

R’s book is divided into three main parts. The first part discusses criteria for demarcating those elements causally active in driving cognitive processes and those that may trigger these processes but are not part of such systems. The author makes a clear distinction between the biological mechanisms responsible for cognitive processes and the social and material environments that trigger their activation. This demarcation of cognitive systems leads R to undermine the extended nature of (some) cognitive processes as maintained by advocates of the EMT.

In the second part R continues his attack on the EMT. His system-based theory places cognitive processes within the boundaries of the brain. In doing so, R gives further arguments to set clear boundaries between the causally active biological processes that determine mental states and constitute cognitive systems, and the external environment, which is essential to triggering these biological processes but is not part of our cognitive systems. As the EMT does not account for this distinction, R asserts that it fails to accomplish its main goal of an integrative functionalist account of how the mind works in everyday situations.

In the third part R further explains his system-based approach. He claims that his theory of cognition contributes to the research agenda of the brain-bound approaches in cognitive psychology. R maintains that those approaches have enabled cognitive psychology to become the most progressive discipline in the cognitive sciences.

Overall, this book is a remarkable attempt at developing a system-based theory on cognition that provides solid arguments against the EMT. R’s criticisms are very well elaborated and undoubtedly make an outstanding contribution to the current debates about the embodied and extended nature of the human mind.

The Mehri language of Oman

The Mehri language of Oman. By Aaron Rubin. (Studies in Semitic languages and linguistics 58.) Leiden: Brill, 2010. pp. xx, 364. ISBN 9789004182639. $153 (Hb).

Reviewed by Michael W. Morgan, Indira Gandhi National Open University

Mehri is the largest of six so-called Modern South Arabian Languages (MSAL), and is spoken by well over 100,000 speakers in Yemen and Oman. These languages, although spoken in the Arabian peninsula and heavily influenced by bilingualism and long contact with varieties of Arabic, are in fact either a separate branch of West Semitic or perhaps more closely related to the Semitic languages of Ethiopia.

This book is a corpus-based descriptive grammar of Omani Mehri based on Harry Stroomer’s Mehri texts from Oman: Based on the field materials of T.M. Johnstone (1999), supplemented by T.M. Johnstone’s Mehri lexicon and English-Mehri word-list, (1987). Other published material on Yemeni Mehri dialects, Hasusi, and other related MSALs (especially interesting when the same texts exist in Yemeni Mehri or Hasusi) and comparative material from Arabic are also presented as appropriate. As much of Johnstone’s audio material still exists (albeit often of limited value), in cases of doubt the text versions were checked against the audio, and an appendix of suggested corrections to Stroomer’s edition is given (311–30). All the over 1000 text passages cited in the grammar are also indexed (341–60).

The bulk of the grammar is dedicated to morphology, organized in a traditional manner: pronouns (31–57), nouns (59–75), adjectives (77–88), verbs (stems: 89–120, tenses and forms: 121–71), prepositions (173–208), numerals (209–18), adverbs (219–223), interrogatives (225–233), and particles (235–58). The description of phonology is relatively brief (13–30) and the treatment of syntax, while somewhat longer, is also cursory (259–305). The brevity of the phonology presentation is dictated by the poor quality of the corpus data, and the chapter on syntax, entitled ‘Some syntactic features’ is a syntactic hodgepodge. Fortunately, both phonology and syntax have been treated more extensively in other works. Throughout the grammar all points are accompanied by copious examples from the corpus (Johnstone’s 106 texts).

As the Semitic languages are very similar, there will be few surprises. However, especially to those not familiar with the other literature on MSALs, there will be points of contrast. This volume is of immense value and is sure to be of great use to all Semiticists, as it is the first complete detailed descriptive grammar of a MSAL in any of our lifetimes. One also imagines its value for scholars of the Yemen and Oman dialects of Arabic, as one suspects substratal influence in the opposite direction. It is also a pleasure for those of us, Semiticist or not, who savor a good reference grammar on an unfamiliar language.

Untersuchungen zu den baltischen Sprachen

Untersuchungen zu den baltischen Sprachen. By Daniel Petit. (Brill’s studies in Indo-European languages and linguistics 4.) Leiden: Brill, 2010. Pp. viii, 353. ISBN 9789004178366. $169 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ilya Yakubovich, Moscow State University

The principal representatives of the Baltic group of the Indo-European language family are Lithuanian, Latvian, and the extinct Old Prussian. Although all these languages are attested beginning in the second millennium CE, they display archaic traits that make them almost as useful for the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European as their relatives recorded two or three millennia earlier. In particular, Lithuanian is commonly seen as the most conservative living Indo-European language. An especially well-known feature of Lithuanian and Latvian grammars is the combination of the unpredictable place of accent and phonological tone oppositions in the accented syllable. The closest relatives of the Baltic group within Indo-European are the Slavic languages, but they tend to be phonologically more innovative.

Five chapters of this volume constitute self-contained essays dealing with particular aspects of Baltic historical linguistics that began as lectures at the 2006 Indo-European summer school in Berlin. Ch. 1 is devoted to the dialectal relationships within the Baltic group, and also contains a useful survey of the earliest written texts preserved in individual Baltic languages. Ch. 2 explores the genesis of Baltic tonal oppositions from Proto-Indo-European segmental oppositions. Contrary to the traditional point of view, the author suggests that the tonal opposition between Lith. varnas ‘raven’ and várna ‘crow’ is not rooted in the difference of Indo-European ablaut grades but represents a Balto-Slavic innovation. Ch. 3 discusses the vestiges of the Indo-European neuter gender in Lithuanian and Latvian, which contrast with its apparent full-scale preservation in Old Prussian.

Ch. 4 addresses the origins of the ‘semi-thematic’ verbal stems in Baltic. In my opinion, this is the least successful part of the monograph. The author tells us that he will not fully answer some of the questions he has raised (cf. e.g. 257, 259). When answers are given, they are sometimes problematic: thus the ‘analogical lengthening of the thematic vowel *-a- to *-ā- on the model of the other preterit formation –ē-’ (253) appears to refer to a sort of analogy that is not predicted by general linguistic theory. Ch. 5 discusses Baltic clitics with an emphasis on the evolution of their placement and the chronology of their fusion with accented word forms.

An important positive feature of Daniel Petit’s work is careful attention to primary data. Even scholars not interested in the Indo-European discussion per se can refer to it to learn, for example, about the neuter pronominal forms attested in Lithuanian or the suspect clitics in Old Prussian. Its other commendable trait is honesty toward the reader: if the investigation of a particular chapter does not yield conclusive results, the author informs us accordingly (cf. e.g. 138–39). While P does not claim that his monograph contains groundbreaking discoveries, it does advance our knowledge of Baltic linguistics.

Corpus of Indus seals and inscriptions

Corpus of Indus seals and inscriptions vol. 3: New material, untraced objects, and collections outside India and Pakistan. Part 1: Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in collaboration with Richard H. Meadow and J. Mark Kenoyer and with the assistance of Erja Lahdenperä, Jyrki Lyytikkä, and Arto Vuohelainen. Ed. by Asko Parpola, B. M. Pande, and Petteri Koskikallio. (Annales academiae scientiarum Fennicae humaniora 359/ Memoirs of the archaeological survey of India 96.) Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2010. Pp. lx, 443. ISBN 9789514110405. $418.83 (Hb).

Reviewed by Michael W. Morgan, Indira Gandhi National Open University

The Indus Valley ‘script’ is one of the most interesting of the as-yet-undeciphered scripts, not the least because of the potential political impact of its decipherment. In addition to those who argue for an Indo-Aryan origin (an idea readily exploited by right-wing Hindutva groups) or a Dravidian one, there are also those unconvinced by all proposed decipherments, and those arguing that it is a system of non-linguistic symbols. This volume presents the data without taking a stance on the issue, although, for example, the first editor has elsewhere argued for a Dravidian solution (A Dravidian solution to the Indus script problem, Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Research Endowment Lecture, 25 June 2010, Coimbatore.).

This volume is part of a series publishing all Indus Valley seals and inscriptions. Its material comes from collections in numerous countries outside India and Pakistan (covered in the first two volumes) of seals from the main sites of Mohenjo-daro and Harrappa (the remaining minor sites are covered in Part 2), from seals and inscriptions that have previously been described but that are currently lost or unlocatable, and from excavations since earlier publications, especially the Harappa excavations of 1986–2007, to which an introductory article by J. Mark Kenoyer and Richard H. Meadow is devoted (xliv–lviii). The introductory section also includes Ute Frank’s article on two compartmented seals from Mohenjo-daro by (xvii–xliii) and a short article by Asko Parpola on Major Clark, owner of the first published seal (lix–lx).

The main body and attraction of the current volume consists of photos of 475 seals from Mohenjo-Daro (1–136) and 1571 seals from Harappa (137–363), including 125 in color (365–412). Addenda and corrigenda to previous volumes are also included. Seals without inscription are printed full-size, those with inscriptions are reproduced double-sized, and sketches are included where photos are unavailable. Data on each object (excavation number, museum or owner, source of photograph) are given at the end of the volume (413–43).

The current volume, and indeed the entire series, is and will remain a valuable contribution to Indology whether or not the Indus Valley script is ever deciphered.

Lexicography in the 21st century

Lexicography in the 21st century: In honour of Henning Bergenholtz. Ed. by Sandro Nielsen and Sven Tarp. (Terminology and lexicography research and practice 12.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. xi, 341. ISBN 9789027223364. $149 (Hb).

Reviewed by Niladri Sekhar Dash, Indian Statistical Institute, India

This useful volume offers new avenues for lexicography and touches on many issues vital to it.

In Ch. 1, Rufus H. Gouws shows that neither space-saving nor linguistic motivations suffice as criteria for macrostructural ordering procedures, arguing that the use of nesting and niching is permissible only to satisfy lexicographic functions. Sandro Nielsen, in the following chapter, suggests that reviewers should evaluate dictionaries through lexicographic, factual, and linguistic approaches, keeping in mind the three features of functions, data, and structures.

In Ch. 3, Sven Tarp distinguishes between concrete user needs and needs related to specific situations and shows some of the possibilities made available to lexicography by information technology. Herbert E. Wiegand shows in the following chapter that hybrid text constituent structures of dictionary articles are represented through hybrid article micro- and partial-structures. Explicitness and information value of hybrid textual structures are useful in homogeneous structures.

Addressing user needs, in Ch. 5, Sven-Göran Malmgren argues that information categories in monolingual dictionaries should serve production and reception purposes, and in Ch. 6, Patrick Leroyer describes the use of dictionaries by tourists. Lars S. Vikør presents in Ch. 7 a critical assessment of dictionaries as tools in language planning and analyzes lexicographical means of language standardization. As part of a discussion about specialized lexicographical needs, Bo Svensén argues in Ch. 8 that subject-field classification is necessary for compiling specialized dictionaries and assesses the efforts made for preparing an international edition of a handbook of lexicography in Swedish.

In Ch. 9, Pedro A. Fuertes-Olivera makes some proposals for inclusion in a planned English-Spanish online dictionary of accounting, as systematic introductions are useful in cognitive and communicative situations, such as specialized translation. In Ch. 10, D. J. Prinsloo reflects on the use of corpora and such lexicographic tools in dictionary making as corpus creation, annotation, processing, and dictionary writing, as vital components for future corpus-based lexicography. Franziskus Geeb shows in the chapter that follows that well-formed definitions of lexicographical data are useful for automated chatbot. Contexts, in which lexicographical data are used as the knowledge base for a chatbot, can enhance the rate of success of such data.

Under the premise that description and explanation of collocations make a dictionary more user-friendly, Marie-Claude L’Homme describes in Ch. 12 a methodology for encoding and organizing collocations in a French terminological database. In Ch. 13, Jón H. Jónsson argues for using an onomasiological approach to dictionary description as it focuses more clearly on the entire vocabulary and internal relations between lexical units than has been possible through semasiological description of individual words. Following a corpus-based approach, Thomas Herbst argues for including meaning in monolingual dictionaries. In Ch. 14, he discusses different ways in which information of complementation and valency patterns are represented in dictionaries for foreign learners of English and German.

The volume ends with a biographical sketch of Henning Bergenholtz, in whose honor the book was composed, who believed that a dictionary is a tool that helps users solve problems encountered in communicative, cognitive, and operative situations.

Historical linguistics 2007

Historical linguistics 2007: Selected papers from the 18th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Montreal, 6–11 August 2007. Ed. by Monique Dufresne, Fernande Dupuis, and Etleva Vocaj. (Current issues in linguistic theory 308.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. x, 311. ISBN 9789027248244. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Malcolm Ross, The Australian National University

This volume contains twenty-four articles in four parts. All but three concern Romance or Germanic languages. For reasons of space, the author(s) of each article and a brief indication of its content are given.

Part 1 deals with phonology. Ashley L. Burnett writes on vowel length in French loanwords in Middle English and Laura Catharine Smith on the distribution of allomorphs of the Dutch diminutive -(e)tje. Bridget Smith suggests that variation in the articulation of the dental fricative in American English sheds light on the reflexes of the Proto-Germanic dental fricative.

Part 2 contains twelve articles on morphology, syntax, and semantics. Cynthia L. Allen examines the Middle English demise of the ‘God’s love’ construction. Anne Breitbarth reanalyzes the development of bipartite negation in West Germanic. Mary T. Copple shows that in some Peninsular Spanish varieties the present perfect is being grammaticalized as a perfective. Viviane Déprez presents a minimalist analysis of grammaticalizations in the DPs of French-based creoles. Martin Maiden, Andrew Swearingen, and Paul O’Neill show how imperatives have played a special diachronic role in Romance verbal paradigms. Christiane Marchello-Nizia describes how cohesion between the French verb and the object NP has increased over time.

Chantal Melis and Marcela Flores describe the emergence of the Spanish ‘recipient passive’. Fuyo Osawa argues that English genitive -’s was reanalyzed as a clitic earlier than the loss of other inflectional cases. María Luisa Rivero and Constanta Rodica Diaconscu review the history of dative experiencer constructions in Spanish and Romanian. Ioanna Sitaridou and Marina Terkourafi examine the replacement of the genitive plural ending -ōn by accusative plural -ous in Cypriot Greek masculine nouns. Freek van de Velde looks at the increasing use of pre-determiner modifiers in Dutch and English. Dieter Wanner examines the ordering of infinitive and pronominal clitic in the history of Spanish.

Part 3 contains five articles on sociolinguistics and dialectology. Montserrat Adam-Aulinas examines a century of changes in Girona Catalan verbal morphology. Louise Beaulieu and Wladyslaw Cichocki analyze the distribution of Acadian French third-person plural verbal suffixes. Vicky Tzuyin Lai and Zygmunt Frajzyngier track changes in first-person pronouns from Classical Chinese to Mandarin. The two remaining articles are panel and trend studies of Vinderup Danish by Signe Weden Schøning and Inge Lise Pedersen and of Petrer Catalan by Orland Verdù.

Part 4, ‘Tools and methodology’, has four articles. Mahé Ben Hamed and Sébastien Flavier describe a pilot version of an online database of sound changes. Fernande Dupuis and Ludovic Lebart describe software tools designed to extract generalizations and measures of intra-textual variation from text corpora. Helge Sandoy correlates innovation with community type in Norwegian dialects. Valentyna Skybina and Iryna Galutskikh present a diachronic comparison of English and German lexicons

Many of the articles could have been improved by careful copyediting.

The English language: Opinions and prejudices

The last word: The English language: Opinions and prejudices. By Laurence Urdang. Chicago: KWS Publishers, 2010. Pp. xxi, 281. ISBN 9780780811713. $19.95.

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas, Brazil

A publisher’s note announces this book as a ‘fascinating account of the current state of the English language’ (xxi). The book is indeed entertaining. The overall tone is, however, one of lamentation at how things have come to pass and how the English language is being mauled and mistreated. The avowedly highbrow standpoint is evident in the opening sentence of the introductory chapter: ‘Sometimes, when listening to what people say on radio and television, I get the feeling that the Ministry of Bad Grammar and Pronunciation, courtesy of John Cleese, has taken charge’ (xv).

As a professional lexicographer and founder of the journal Verbatim, U is punctilious, often to the point of sounding nitpicky. The thirteen chapters that make up the book cover a wide range of topics, as their telltale headings reveal: ‘Language change’, ‘Word origins’, ‘Meaning’, ‘Words and expressions’, ‘Language and (sic) culture and language’, ‘Names’, ‘Feminist and politically correct language’, ‘Good English/bad English’, ‘Taboo, slang, informal, and colloquial language’, ‘Bad writing, taste, and discrimination’, ‘Spelling reform’, ‘Controversies and dictionaries’, ‘Computers’, and ‘Pronunciation’. The book is rounded off with an appendix (containing a verse called ‘The chaos’ about English spelling, from an old submission to Verbatim) and a useful index.

The book does not have any pretensions to being a scientifically oriented treatment of the topics it discusses, though in the foreword U laments (or so it would seem) that ‘[a]t present, only a handful of universities offer degrees in linguistics’ ( xi). With reference to the study of names or onomastics, U says that it is undertaken mostly by persons who do not ‘possess a formal education in linguistics’ (89). While discussing ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ in respect of English usage, U begins by referring to the familiar tug-of-war between linguists and the laypeople. Yet, despite all this, U’s own approach to usages such as between he and I (111) or phenomena such as dangling participle is flagrantly prescriptive. U does not resist a jibe at Robert Hall Jr. whose ‘attack on correctness and normative grammar’ was, in his view, ‘somewhat mitigated by his quickness to correct others’ errors’ (227). U does seem to have a bone to pick with professional linguists and their stance against dictating how others should behave linguistically.

The book is mostly anecdotal and, oftentimes, witty. It becomes somewhat tongue-in-cheek when U claims at the end of his introduction: ‘The unfortunate aspect of this book is that it is unlikely to be read by those for whom it might do the most good’ (xix). Such frivolities aside, the book is an enjoyable read, testifying to U’s years of scholarly work. It is replete with tidbits useful for livening up an after-dinner conversation.

Investigations in sociohistorical linguistics

Investigations in sociohistorical linguistics: Colonisation and contact. By Peter Trudgill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp, xiv, 218. ISBN 9780521132930. $29.99.

Reviewed by Sam Zukoff, University of Georgia

This book chronicles some of the most vexed and interesting questions in the history of English, both in its origins in the British Isles and in its subsequent worldwide expansion in the Age of Colonization. Ch. 1 addresses the loss of Old English inflection into Middle English through the lens of language contact. T concludes that this simplification was due to contact with Brittonic (Celtic), not Old Norse as is commonly believed. T makes a brilliant distinction to unify the opposing views of historical linguistics and sociolinguistics, namely that contact-induced complexity is the result of child language-learning abilities, but contact-induced simplification is the result of adult imperfect learning (17–23).

Ch. 2 investigates the unique lack of third singular present -s­ marking in East Anglian English, tracking the complex situation of imperfect immigrant speech varieties with competing dialect feature diffusion. In Ch. 3 T makes use of numerous ‘lesser-known Englishes’ to shed light on the strange situation of apparent /v/ and /w/ merger in certain eighteenth-nineteenth century ‘English English’ dialects and subsequent ‘unmerger’, showing that, contrary to accepted opinion, ‘once a merger’ is not necessarily ‘always a merger’ (91). In Ch. 4 T uses the analysis of recordings of a very special informant from the English language community in the Bonin Islands to trace the origins of that speech variety back to eastern New England English, which is happily supported by the historical record.

In Ch. 5 T conducts a very strong historical syntactic analysis to examine the divergent usages of have in modern standard American and British English. He ascribes the lack of ‘dynamism’ of American have to ‘colonial lag’ and the influences of other immigrant languages in the Americas not present in Britain, i.e. language contact. Ch 6 shows how colonial language varieties tend to be more conservative than the mother tongue, due to the unique speech conditions of colonization, namely intense dialect contact.

Ch. 7 is an attempt to trace the origin of r-lessness in New Zealand English. T uses the Origins of New Zealand English (ONZE) recordings to prove that earlier stages of New Zealand English were in fact rhotic, making the importation of the modern feature from Britain distinctly impossible. This sheds light not only on the original rhoticity of New Zealand English, but also pushes back the date for complete non-rhoticity of English English. This chapter thus shows how detailed sociohistorical analysis can admit insights that are impossible from a strictly historical perspective. Ch. 8 makes further use of the ONZE corpus to attempt to trace the influence or lack of influence of Scots and Scottish English on the development of New Zealand English.

In the epilogue, T relates the general trends identified throughout the work with the biological notion of ‘interactional synchrony’, which states that humans instinctively adapt their behavior to that of their peers (189). T believes that this single idea sits as the underlying motivation of the wide-ranging types of contact-induced change outlined throughout the book.

This book creates a brilliant new paradigm for research in linguistics. Just as the name suggests, the book bridges the heretofore vast divide between sociolinguistic and historical linguistic approaches to language and language change, encapsulating the difference between macrodiachronic linguistics and microdiachronic linguistics. T skillfully navigates the formal and the informal, incorporating aspects of popular history with detailed insights on all levels of linguistic structure, making this a delightful read.

The translator as mediator of cultures

The translator as mediator of cultures. Ed. by Humphrey Tonkin and Maria Esposito Frank. (Studies in world language problems 3.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. x, 201. ISBN 9789027228345. $135 (Hb).

Reviewed by Kelly Dugan, University of Georgia

Globalization is a hot topic today. As the societies of the world continue to interact ever more frequently, effective communication between different cultures becomes increasingly important. The eleven articles in this book offer great insight into this reality, exploring the challenges and responsibilities of translators as well as the complex nature of translation. Included among the topics addressed are the history of translation, the need for translation in South Africa, interpreters in the courtroom, and sign language interpretation and translation. In the preface, the editors state that their intention is not to solve the problems faced by translators but to describe them and offer different points of view.

The introduction, ‘Between temples and templates: History’s claims on the translator’ by Probal Dasgupta, emphasizes the importance of progress in translation theory. Dasgupta investigates how historically significant actions, such as the selection of texts for translation in ancient times, relate to the current global relationship of language and the role of the translator. The following articles form ten chapters divided into three sections. These sections, as indicated in the preface by the editors, are intended to represent the responsibilities of a translator: translation and reconciliation, translation and negotiation, and translation and the interpretation of texts.

Ch. 1, ‘A conversation about politics, translation, and multilingualism in South Africa’, is a fascinating record of dialogue between Antjie Krog, Rosalind C. Morris, and Humphrey Tonkin that offers a worthwhile perspective on the state of translation today. The discussion focuses on the continued domination of English as the prestige language in postapartheid South Africa. Ch. 2, ‘Interpreting at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY): Linguistic and cultural challenges’ by Nancy Schweda Nicholson, offers intriguing insight into multiple issues including the difficulty of intense courtroom situations that cause enormous pressure and stress on translators.

Ch. 3, ‘Translating and interpreting sign language: Mediating the DEAF-WORLD’ by Timothy Reagan, emphasizes the DEAF-WORLD as a distinct culture with a strong identity where sign language interpreters are an integral part of the society. Ch. 4, ‘Translators in a global community’ by Jonathan Pool, offers an innovative suggestion about the direction of translation. He proposes that translators ought to incorporate multiphase translations that separate the cultural from the linguistic.

Ch. 5, ‘The treason translation? Bilingualism, linguistic borders and identity’ by John Edwards, boldly investigates the perplexing issue of translation and the invasion of privacy. Ch. 6, ‘The poetics of experience: Toward a pragmatic understanding of experience, practice, and translation’ by Vincent Colapietro, provides psychological intrigue by exploring the tension between human experience and expression. This is just a sampling of the captivating issues and the unique perspectives that are offered in the text.

Humphrey Tonkin states that ‘when we think of translation as a mode of mediation, we’re also thinking of translation as a means of preserving linguistic distinctiveness’ (33). This comment is echoed throughout all of the chapters. The result is a cohesive text full of insightful perspectives that express the importance of balancing the preservation of every language and culture with the need for effective global communication.

Cognitive linguistics in action

Cognitive linguistics in action: From theory to application and back. Ed. by Elżbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choiński, and Łukasz Wiraszka. (Applications of cognitive linguistics 14.) Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2010. Pp. 411. ISBN 9783110205817. $177 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ioana-Rucsandra Dascalu, University of Craiova

The book is composed of articles presented in Kraków, Poland, at the tenth International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, held from July 15th to July 20th, 2007, about thirty years after cognitive linguistics split as the study of the relation between body and mind. The event, organized by the Polish Cognitive Linguistics Association in cooperation with the Jagiellonian University of Kraków, aimed at reconciling theory and application. The opening chapters of this book are highly theoretical, while the others are concerned with applied information.

In Part 1, René Dirven and Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez present the primary directions of the cognitive movement, connected by the ‘cognitive commitment’ (14) that there be interaction between cognitive faculties: perception, attention, categorization, conceptualization, affect, memory, reasoning, and language. The authors first address the connection between grammar and cognition (15) and then the differences among cognitive grammar, construction grammar, and radical construction grammar.

Dirk Geeraerts describes the distinction between Saussurean linguistics, Chomskyan generative grammar, and cognitive theories. The author also explains four elements of context important for cognitive study: meaning, the lexicon, discourse and use, and social context (81). Evaluating cognitive linguistics from the point of view of its maturity, Geeraerts considers the discipline to have moved beyond the pioneering and building stages, having undergone a period of consolidation in textbooks and reference works (93). Laura Janda discusses in her contribution the application of modern linguistics (generative, cognitive) to the teaching of foreign languages.

Part 2 includes articles that apply prototypes to morphology and to the lexicon. Tore Nesset (123-44) studies the blocking of suffix shift in Russian verbs, while Esa Penttilä deals with idiomatic language. In Part 3, Ronald W. Langacker writes about the effects of the mind and body on language, distinguishing between mental activity and physical activity. Under the premise that physical activity results in effective relationships, while mental activity results in epistemic relationships, the author explores how this difference manifests itself in complementation.

Peter Willemse examines the discourse status of possessee referents, seen from the point of view of reference-point constructions (209-40). Jario Sivonen contributes a study of Finnish motion verbs, focusing on verbs that refer to ‘indirect’ paths (242). In ‘A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech’ (273–89), Jaakko Leino proposes that spoken language be investigated before written language as being naturally transmitted and includes parenthetical expressions as an element of spoken language.

Part 4 introduces pragmatic criteria: Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and José Sanders consider subjectivity in discourse in the concepts of rhetorical structure theory and in conversationalization. Luna Filipović shows ‘how different ways of describing motion events in English and Spanish affect information content in narratives of eyewitnesses and subjects’ (317).

The final part of the book contains studies about metaphor in cognitive linguistics. Diane Ponterotto’s contribution about conceptual metaphor theory looks at the way we can express the same idiomatic meaning in two different languages (English and Italian).  The following two articles focus on metaphors in theological discourse. Małgorzata Pasicka discusses the doctrine known as faith movement, and Aleksander Gomola explains the evolution from the traditional ‘God is a father’ metaphor, which can be qualified as patriarchal and antifeminist to ‘God is a friend’ metaphor.

This volume is highly recommended to all specialists in linguistics.