Monthly Archives: October 2011

The senses in language and culture

The senses in language and culture: Special issue. Ed. by Asifa Majid and Stephen C. Levinson. (The senses and society 6.1.) London: Berg Publishers, 2011. Pp. 125. ISBN 17458927. $58.50.

Reviewed by Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, Centre for Applied Linguistics

This is the fourth special issue in the short life of a fascinating journal first published in 2006. As stated in the journal’s aims on its web site, ‘[e]very volume contains something for and about each of the senses, both singly and in all sorts of novel configurations’ ( The 2011 special issue concentrates on the connections between language and the senses in a number of original short studies. The introduction by the editors  sets the scene for the following eleven articles, each reporting on the findings of a large crosscultural, crosslinguistic study of the Language of Perception (LoP) hosted at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen, The Netherlands).

The editors remark how the focus on language as text, further exacerbated by a certain postmodernist desensualization of ethnography, had led to a ‘disembodiment’ of the social science inquiry. Through the ‘social sciences of the senses’ movement of the last two decades, the senses have become a popular topic in anthropology, but the study of the connection between language and the senses has lagged behind. While the editors remind us that language as a specifically human capacity expressed in acoustic or visual form appears limited in its capacity to connect us with the remaining senses, language as individual tongues affords new essential insights into the conceptualization of the senses. The restricted or amplified sensoria emerging from ethnographic work on individual languages point to the cultural construction of the senses. Moreover, experimental research has shown that language affects primary perception in its ‘fundamental intermediary role between the subjective, individual nature of sensation and the cultural world that constructs the perceptual field’ (9).

Most of the eleven articles report findings from field experiments and naturalistic observation of small-scale speech communities inhabiting pre-industrialization environments minimally affected by labor division and without literary traditions. Unsurprisingly, a whole gamut of previously unknown sensual categories have rewarded the search of the LoP researchers, and are discussed in fascinating ethnographic detail for the intellectual and sensual delectation of the reader. In fact, each article is a window into an unknown sensual world that re-awakens our Western perception dulled by over-exposure to the social media and to specialist taste and olfactory registers. If a book-sized introduction to the language of the senses is a restrictive task for the time-conscious reader, this slim special issue provides an enticing taster that will no doubt result in a return for a second helping.

Cambridge encyclopedia of language sciences

The Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences. Ed. by Patrick Colm Hogan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. xxiii, 1021. ISBN 9780521866897. $225 (Hb).

Reviewed by Engin Arik, Isik University

This excellent resource book consists of a list of entries, a note, preface, acknowledgements, eight color plates of brain images, seven chapters, around 483 entries, a list of contributors, and a sixty-eight-page index.

In Ch. 1, ‘Language structure in its human context: New directions for the language sciences in the twenty-first century’ (1–11), William Croft proposes that in addition to mainstream linguistic analyses such as phonological, morphological, and syntactic structures, linguistic research will focus on the question of how context constrains language structure and use, which is fostered by theories originating in philosophy, psychology, and sociology, as well as subfields of linguistics.

In the following chapter, ‘The psychology of linguistic form’ (12–22), Lee Osterhout, Richard A. Wright, and Mark D. Allen argue that while most research supports linguistic representations distinct from motor movements, sensation, memory, and conceptual knowledge, some of these play a significant role in language processing at all levels.

In Ch. 3, ‘The structure of meaning’ (23–34), James Pustejovsky focuses on how meaning is carried in linguistic expressions, starting with lexical meaning supplemented by introductions on semantic classes, argument structure, decomposition, noun meaning, and polysemy. He also deals with sentence-level meaning focusing on compositionality and noncompositionality, quantifiers and their scope, semantic modification, arguments versus adjuncts, presupposition, and meaning at discourse level.

Florian Coulmas covers writing in a global context in Ch. 4, ‘Social practices of speech and writing’ (35–45). The author starts with technological aspects of writing from invention to digitization and ends with institutional aspects of literacy such as government, cult, schooling, and economic organization.

In Ch. 5, ‘Explaining language: Neuroscience, genetics, and evolution’ (46–55), Lyle Jenkins reviews research on left-right asymmetries and language areas in the brain, genetics and speech disorders, genetics and evolution, and studies on the DNA of hominids.

Barbara Lust takes on the field of language acquisition in Ch. 6, ‘Acquisition of language’ (56–64), beginning with a discussion on innateness, and provides an overview of the findings on language acquisition, including cross-species comparative methods and future directions.

In the final chapter, ‘Elaborating speech and writing: Verbal art’ (65–74), Patrick Colm Hogan introduces theories of language and of literature, and then focuses on topics such as indirect address, side participation, play, the purposes of verbal art, the maximization of relevance, interpretation and the uses of texts, and Shakespearean indirection.

In addition to providing excellent chapters that include suggestions for further reading, the encyclopedia covers a variety of traditional topics such as aspect, babbling, and conversational implicature; relatively new topics to the language sciences, such as brain and language, genes and language, gesture, and sign languages; subfields of linguistic study, including morphology, phonology, pragmatics, semantics, and syntax; and other subfields such as corpus linguistics, forensic linguistics, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, text linguistics, and typology.

Also included in the encyclopedia are theories such as cognitive linguistics, construction grammars, functional linguistics, generative grammar, head-driven phrase structure grammar, lexical-functional grammar, and usage-based theory; and theory-specific concepts such as blended space, c-command, compositionality, core and periphery, embodiment, metaphor, and representations. Each entry is very helpful because it is detailed enough to provide sufficient information about its topic (approximately 2000 words on average).

Encyclopedia of language and education

Encyclopedia of language and education. Ed. by Patricia A. Duff and Nancy H. Hornberger. Volume 8: Language socialization. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010. Pp. xxiv, 380. ISBN 9789048194667. $79.95.

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas

The general introduction, written by one of the editors, Nancy Hornberger, is followed by an introduction to the volume by Patricia Duff. The book consists of twenty-four chapters, presented in five sections: ‘Language socialization: Theoretical and methodological approaches’, ‘Language socialization at home and in the community’, ‘Language socialization and schooling’, ‘Language socialization among adolescents and adults’, and ‘Language socialization in particular communities of practice’.

In Ch. 1,  Elinor Ochs and Bambi Schieffelin recall that socialization research began as part of developmental psycholinguistic research and mostly constituted a response to Noam Chomsky’s over-emphasis on the linguistic competence of the individual speaker, considered in isolation. Its early beginnings related to work done by Dan Slobin and John Gumperz at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1960s. By the 1980s, the field had consolidated itself and addressed ‘socialization through language and socialization into language’ (5). The remaining chapters in the first section examine language socialization from different perspectives, such as language ecology, linguistic anthropology of education, systemic functional paradigm, and pragmatics.

As their section headings make clear, the eighteen remaining chapters are all concerned with language socialization at work in the different settings in which the child finds itself at different stages in its development from toddler to adult. As Shoshana Blum-Kulka makes clear at the outset of her chapter, ‘[t]he basic tenet of language socialization theory is that children learn language and culture through active engagement in meaningful social interactions with adults and peers’ ( 87). Language learning and enculturation are not separate processes; they are in fact one and the same.

One important setting where socialization takes place early on in the life of a child, especially in Western societies, is the school. As Patricia Baquedano-López and Shlomy Kattan observe, schooling and institutionalized education are seen as ‘the normative activity through which knowledge and mores are passed down to the younger generation’ (161).

No less important in the socialization of a child is the role of ‘learning communities’, which are especially formative for adolescents. In her contribution, Shirley Brice Heath traces the history of learning communities to as far back as the Crusades and argues that children are tutored in important aspects of age-grading and gender differences.

Socialization practices are equally at work in non-Western communities. In their contribution, Diane Pesco and Martha Crago take an in-depth look at how children are socialized in Canadian aboriginal communities, particularly in Inuit families. Haruko Minegishi Cook shows how ‘[s]ocialization starts long before children produce their first word’ (314) and that Japanese mothers talk to their infants significantly less often than their North American counterparts She emphasizes such socially important practices as issuing indirect commands and obeying intricate rules for manifesting empathy and conformity.

Overall, this volume makes an invaluable contribution to the field.

Handbook of Hispanic sociolinguistics

Handbook of Hispanic sociolinguistics. Ed. by Manuel Diaz Campos. Oxford: Blackwell, 2011. Pp. 816. ISBN 9781405195003. $199.95 (Hb).

Reviewed by Carolin Patzelt, University of Bochum

As observed in the introduction, ‘[r]esearch in His­pa­nic Sociolinguistics has grown…to such an extent that it has become an independent subfield’ (1). This volume sets out to pro­vide a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of contemporary Hispanic sociolinguis­tics. It covers an impres­sive range of topics, which are grouped into six main sections.

The first section addressing phonological variation focuses on both linguistic and social fac­tors conditioning variation. Following a comprehensive introduction to laboratory approa­ches to studying sound variation and change (Laura Colantoni), external and internal factors conditioning variation in phonology are discussed (Anto­nio Medina-Rivera and Francisco More­no-Fernández). The contributions by John M. Lipski and José Antonio Sam­per Padilla then focus on sociophonological variation in Latin American and European Spanish.

The second section deals with morphosyntactic variation and is organized similar to the first section. Scott A. Schwen­ter discusses internal and external factors determining variation in Spanish morphosyntax, and Rena Torres Cacoullos shows how the variationist method can help to examine gram­maticalization. Two articles, one by Paola Bentivoglio and Mercedes Sedano and the other by María José Serrano, discuss morphosyntactic variation in Latin American and European Spanish.

Section 3, ‘Language, the individual, and the society’, begins by discussing the impact of various social variables on lan­guage variation (Richard Cameron, Jonathan Holmquist and Diane R. Uber). Donald N. Tuten and Fernando Tejedo-Herrero then present the rather new field of ‘historical socio­linguistics’. Finally, Manuel Díaz-Campos and Kimberly Geeslin deal with variation in language acquisition.

Section 4 is dedicated to Spanish in contact with indigenous languages (Anna María Esco­bar and Shaw N. Gynan), with creoles (Luis A. Ortiz López and Armin Schwegler), with other European languages (José Luis Blas Arroyo as well as J. Clan­cy Clements, Patrícia Amaral, and Ana R. Luís), and with Arabic (Lotfi Sayahi).

Section 5 deals with a variety of aspects concerning Spanish in the United States. Four contributions focus on concrete linguistic outcomes of the contact between Spanish and English (Lourdes Torres, Almeida Jacqueline Toribio, and Jorge Porcel) and intrafamilial contact between different varieties of Spanish (Kim Potowski). Three chapters (Ricardo Otheguy; Norma Mendoza-Denton and Bryan James Gordon; Guadalupe Valdés andMichelle Geoffrion-Vinci) analyze the linguistic behavior of concrete groups of Latinos living in the United States. Finally, the perception of Latinos and their language in the United States is discussed by Adam Schwartz.

Section 6, ‘Language policy/planning, language attitudes and ideolo­gy’, begins with an introductory chapter by Ofelia García discussing the possibilities of language planning for Spanish as both a national and a minority language. The following contributions focus on language planning and policy in Latin America (Serafín M. Coronel-Molina and Megan Solon; Mercedes Niño-Murcia) and Spain (Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy). Finally, Clare Mar-Molinero and Darren Paffey discuss the concept of linguistic imperialism and the question, ‘Who owns global Spanish?’.

The book is an impressive collection of key issues in today’s sociolinguistics. It presents the most researched areas of the field in a comprehensive way and thereby reflects the rich diversity of dialects and varieties spoken across the Americas and Spain. This volume should certainly be compulsory reading for anyone interested in socio­linguistics.

Negation patterns in West African languages

Negation patterns in West African languages and beyond. Ed. by Norbert Cyffer, Erwin Ebermann, and Georg Ziegelmeyer. (Typological studies in language 87.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2009. Pp. 368. ISBN 9789027206688. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Gian Claudio Batic, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’

This volume focuses on the negation strategies and the conceptualization of negative categories in West African languages, with special attention paid to two geolinguistic areas: East Nigeria and the Gur and Mande regions.

The book is comprised of fifteen chapters, each discussing different aspects of and approaches for analyzing negation and its conceptualization. Preceded by an introductory section stating the main goals of the volume (1–6), the contributions cover the following languages and/or group(s) of languages, by chapter: 1. Hausa, Fulfulde, and Kanuri (Georg Ziegelmeyer, 7–20); 2.  Lamang and Hdi (H.Ekkehard Wolff, 21–56); 3. Hausa (Philip J. Jaggar, 57–70); 4. Kanuri (Norbert Cyffer, 71–92); 5. Songhay (Petr Zima, 93–106); 6. Jukun (Anne Storch, 107–20); 7. Igbo (Ozo-mekuri Ndimele, 121–28); 8. Santome (Tjerk Hagemeijer, 139–66); 9. Gur languages (Kerstin Winkelmann and Gudrun Miehe, 167–204); 10. West African languages (Klaus Beyer, 205–22); 11. Southern Mande (Valentin Vydrine, 223–60); 12. Northern Samo (Erwin Ebermann, 261–86); 13. Berber (Amina Mettouchi, 287–306); and 14. central African languages (Matthew S. Dryer, 307–62). Three useful indices complete the volume: a language index (363–64), a name index (365–66), and a subject index (367–68).

As stated in the introduction, ‘the main objective of this volume is to document negation patterns in individual languages or linguistic units’ (6). The underlying hypothesis is that the conceptualization of negative categories may have arisen through an area-oriented process as well as from individual languages. For this reason, language contact areas (and the results of such a contact) are given quite a number of analyses: among others, Georg Ziegelmeyer on Hausa, Fulfulde, and Kanuri (belonging to the Afroasiatic, Niger-Congo, and Nilo-Saharan phyla, respectively) and Erwin Ebermann on North Samo (a Mande language belonging to the Niger-Congo phylum).

The sharing of common features in negation encoding seems to be a proof of the existence of contact-induced phenomena. A better understanding of negation systems in language contact areas can certainly promote further discussion on those topics that have been investigated for individual languages under no comparative and areal perspective. From this point of view, the article by Anne Storch provides an interesting analysis of the distribution of the copy pronoun in negative constructions in Jukunoid languages. The similarity between the intransitive copy pronoun as described for the Chadic Family (a feature thought to be genetically inherited Chadic), and the recapitulating pronoun as individuated in Benue-Congo suggests a borrowing of the feature and consequent areal spread. The book also gives space to articles of a more grammatical orientation: it is the case of Philip J. Jaggar’s contribution on the Hausa negative adverbial intensifier, which is almost neglected in previous grammars of Hausa (including, as admitted by the author, Philip J. Jaggar’s reference grammar).

Well-structured and clear in stating its main purposes, this book brings new insights into the study of negation system, offering at the same time a significant overview of negative categories in a certain number of selected languages. Scholars dealing with West African languages, either at the typological or areally-oriented level, will find in this book a rich set of informative and analytical tools.

Encyclopedia of language and education

Encyclopedia of language and education. Ed. by Jim Cummins and Nancy H. Hornberger. Volume 5: Bilingual education. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010. Pp.  xxviii, 372. ISBN 9780387328751. $79.95.

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas

This book is the fifth volume of the Encyclopedia of language and education. The overall introduction by the series editor, Nancy Hornberger, is followed by an introduction to the volume by Jim Cummins, wherein he outlines the scope of the term ‘bilingual education’: the use of at least two languages of instruction somewhere along a student’s school career. He goes on to discuss some of the extreme negative reactions to it (with figures like former President Reagan and former House Speaker Gingrich joining the chorus) and how such impulsive reactions are belied by recent research.

The volume contains twenty-three chapters, presented under two sections: ‘21st century bilingual education: Advances in understanding and emerging issues’ and ‘Illustrative bilingual education programs and policies’. The latter presents case studies from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Pacific Region and Australia, and South/Central America. The volume is rounded off with a subject index and a name index.

Section 1 contains a wealth of interesting and informative articles on key concepts in the area as well as their many ideological and sociopolitical resonances. There is also some effort to grapple with the identity issues that invariably crop up in bilingual education as well as issues related to differences in the lectal power of the different languages involved. Many authors are also concerned with questions relating to how the students and teachers involved in multilingual education programs face the challenge of straddling the linguistic and cultural interfaces they are called upon to inhabit.

The panoramic views presented by the authors in Section 2 illustrate the complexity as well as the diversity of realities in different parts of the world. While the situation in the continent of Africa is far from homogenous across the board, it is also the case, as Margaret Akinyi Obondo tells us, that ‘the colonial experience continues to influence and define postcolonial issues and practices’ (151). Ajit Mohanty affirms that in India education helped perpetuate, until more recently, the social and linguistic inequalities that date back centuries and were reiterated during different periods in the history of the country when Sanskrit, Persian, and English ruled the roost. Liming Yu suggests that bilingual education in China has much to do with the Westernization Movement willfully started in the second half of the nineteenth century as part of a move to ‘bring […] in techniques of capitalist production already operating in the west’ (175).

Writing about the situation in the United States, Teresa L. McCarty claims that ‘[bilingual education for Native peoples […] is no less fraught with controversy today than it was in the 1960s when indigenous educators such as Agnes Dodge Holm introduced the then-radical notion of schooling in the native language’ (239). Luis Enrique López and Inge Sichra trace the origins of bilingual education for the indigenous populations of Latin America to 1900s, with the natives themselves welcoming the move as counter-hegemonic.

This volume is well-balanced in its theoretical approach and inclusion of facts pertaining to each topic.

History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe

History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and disjunctures in the 19th and 20th centuries. Ed. by Marcel Cornis-Pope and John Neubauer. Volume 4: Types and stereotypes. (Comparative history of literatures in European languages 25.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. xi, 714. ISBN 9789027234582. $297 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ioana-Rucsandra Dascalu, University of Craiova

The four volumes of the History of thelLiterary cultures of East-Central Europe reflect the current tendency in sociohumanistic sciences to highlight countries of the communist bloc. The literatures of these countries originate in terror, suffering, and humility. The fourth volume, and the last in the series, structures the nineteenth and twentieth centuries according to several representative notions, including national poets, the image of family, female identity, the figure of the outlaw, sources of trauma, and examples of mediation.

In the preface, the editors define East-Central Europe as a compromise term, a buffer-zone between the German territories to the west and Russia to the east, an area including the Baltic countries, the South Slavic territories, and Albania (4). The creation of each of these peoples, their artistic expressivity outbursting from the wretched fatality of their destiny, is best characterized by the terms brilliance and tragedy (1).

The national poets in this volume were chosen because their literary contributions provide epic verse narratives as emblems of their nations (12).  . Poland’s national poet is Adam Mickiewicz, with his wish for political liberation and moral regeneration of the people. Sándor Petöfi is the Hungarian national poet, while Karel Hynek Mácha, the author of the Máj verse narrative, is the Czech national poet. France Prešeren is the Slovene national emancipation leader. Petar II Petrović Nejgoš, the ruler of Montenegro, used historic narrative in order to pacify his people. Hristo Botev, the Bulgarian national poet, remains an inseparable part of Bulgarian history, literature, and even geography (117). Mihai Eminescu is an important Romanian poet, and Hayyim Nahman Bialik is considered the most important Hebrew poet.

The chapter ‘Figurations of the family’ contains metaphors of a vision of the country as a close relative. Several subthemes are taken up, such as wife abuse and family violence in Estonian literature, representations of the motherland, the Party Father in Bulgarian literature, and the body of the Lithuanian nation.

Another chapter depicts the importance of women in the literary canon. In the succession of generations in Romanian literature, from Mihai Eminescu’s ‘muses’ to present-day authors, one finds an attempt at redemption by way of the woman’s lyrical voice. In Latvian literature, the editors include Aspazja and Anna Brigadere as examples. Another section focuses on women’s bodies in Croatian theatre and on the feminist dystopias of the Slovenian writer Berta Bojetu-Boeta.

The next section, ‘Figures of the other’, offers insight into the idea of tolerance towards the gypsies and also discusses the Vlad Tepes and Dracula myth in Romania. In the same vein, the editors sketch a figure of the outlaw (regionally known as haiduk) in East-Central Europe. In the twentieth century, the Holocaust, World War II, and totalitarian dictatorships (e.g. the Soviet gulags) caused trauma to manypopulations. . With the term ‘mediation’ the editors want to show international cooperation for stability and inter-ethnic relationships, involving bilingualism and cultural exchanges. The book’s epilogue accounts for the movement of liberation and emancipation of East-Central European literatures after the 1989 revolutions, including reintegration in the circuit of the free Western literature tradition.

Overall, the fourth volume in this collection is a work about writing literary history by integrating literature with political and social events of this region that is very rich in tradition and artistic imagery.

The dynamics of language

The dynamics of language: An introduction. By Ronnie Cann, Ruth Kempson, and Lutz Marten. (Syntax and semantics 35.) San Diego: Academic Press, 2005. Pp. xiii, 440. ISBN 9780126135367. $71.95.

Reviewed by Katrin Hiietam, Manchester, United Kingdom

This book introduces the theoretical framework of dynamic syntax (DS). It is aimed at readers who are at an advanced undergraduate level to those who are professional linguists. The book further develops the framework presented in an article by Ruth Kempson et al. (‘On dialogue modelling, language processing, and linguistic knowledge’, 2001), which states that the knowledge of language comprises the ability to use a language in both speaking and understanding. In order to explain the structural properties of a language, one needs to define a formal model of how interpretation is built up from an utterance. This, according to the authors, is the syntax of a language. The DS approach can be called a modular framework, as every new piece of information connects to previous information and adds something to the context. The authors state that their stance enables a more accurate description of natural languages as it is ‘able to define processes of growth of information across sequences of expressions’ (x). They argue also that ‘natural language grammars, by definition, reflect the dynamics of real time processing in context’ (x).

In contrast to Kempson et al., this book aims to introduce the formal framework of DS to a wider audience and offer ample explanation of its premises; the authors also seek to apply this framework to a wide array of linguistic phenomena, including well-discussed examples from the English language, and, for contrast, examples from other languages. Some languages that pose problems for other theoretical approaches, such as Japanese, a verb-final language, or Bantu for its agreement systems, are analyzed. These languages are found to be as ‘natural as any other languages’ within the DS framework. The book offers several detailed linguistic analyses and illustrates how the novel approach gives old problems new answers. The authors claim that DS is a good starting point for modelling the interchange between speaking and understanding a language.

The content of each chapter is here summarized. Ch. 1 explains the problem around the gap between understanding and producing a language, as it is presented in other theories, and explains the proposed approach. Ch. 2 sketches the apparatus of the DS framework and discusses three linguistic problems: left dislocation structures, anaphora, and well-formedness and ungrammaticality. Ch. 3 deals with the relative clause construal, and Ch. 4 offers a relative clause typology. Ch. 5 discusses the right periphery, and Chs. 6 and 7 present an analysis of Japanese and Swahili agreement and conjunction, respectively. Ch. 8 offers an account of the English copula constructions, and Ch. 9 addresses the interface levels of a language: the correspondence between syntax and semantics, context and parsing, and context and well-formedness; it also looks at dialogue as an instance of production. The final chapter closes with a discussion of three areas that have proved problematic for theoretical linguistics: language acquisition, language change, and language evolution. For each of these areas, the DS model offers a solution by allowing for interaction between various components and mechanisms of language.

The English language in Canada

The English language in Canada: Status, history and comparative analysis. By Charles Boberg.  (Studies in English language.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pp. xviii, 272. ISBN 9780521874328. $110 (Hb).

Reviewed by Susanne Wagner, Chemnitz University of Technology

In six chapters, Charles Boberg discusses some of the key issues involving the English language in Canada. The title of the book may come as a surprise to some readers, who might have expected to see ‘Canadian English’. This terminological shift is in fact one of the hallmarks of B’s book. When discussing varieties of English, many experts make a chronological—developmental—distinction between ‘English in X’ and ‘X-an English’, with the latter generally reflecting a more advanced, homogenized stage, while the former also allows for English as a second language (ESL) or even English as a foreign language (EFL) varieties (e.g. ‘English in China’ but not ‘Chinese English’).

In the Canadian context, however, this perceived step back has its origin elsewhere, namely in the increasing diversity of the English language in Canada, which to a certain extent mirrors changes in American English. We are thus dealing with the third stage in an evolution progressing from dialect mixing (‘English in Canada’)  to dialect levelling (‘Canadian English’, established through contact, spread, and westwards expansion),, and finally to dialect differentiation (‘English in Canada 2.0’, established through the development of new regional, ethnic, and social varieties).

There are other reasons that B prefers ‘English in Canada’ over ‘Canadian English’. First of all, B does not look at English exclusively, which would be impossible in the Canadian context. French and its status in relationship to English in different parts of the country not only plays a historical role, but also has once more come to the forefront of linguistic interest in recent years, primarily because of the language choices of immigrants. It is thus not surprising that B puts English into perspective in the very first chapter of the book; in Canada, English is ‘one of two languages’. The French-English perspective is complemented by the regional perspective, concerning dialects, as well as by the contrastive perspective, concerning North American English, and hinges on the ‘same but different’ concept when relating American English to Canadian varieties.

In over fifty pages, Ch. 2 provides a thorough overview of Canadian settlement history and patterns, making the chapter a good go-to reference for historical facts and their role in the foundation and establishment of Canadian English. Many tables, largely based on census data and earlier publications, help to illustrate the major stages.

Ch. 3 discusses three core areas of variation, namely vocabulary, phonology, and grammar, from a comparative perspective. American English is primarily used for comparison, and occasionally British English, focusing on traditional vocabulary choices. Grammatical (or rather morphosyntactic) differences are few, and on six pages, B only lists some tendencies that for the most part await more detailed analysis.

Based on B’s earlier work, Ch. 4 deals with vocabulary choices as well as ongoing changes in the lexicon. B’s North American Regional Vocabulary Survey (NARVS) project established bundles of lexical isoglosses that help clarify dialect boundaries within Canada. Ch. 5 gives an in-depth overview of current changes not only from the traditional regional perspective, but also with regard to social and ethnic variation.

In the final chapter of the book, B provides concise summaries of the previous chapters and addresses future directions, which are of particular interest and provide ample ground for future research on various levels.

Zialo: The newly-discovered Mande language of Guinea

Zialo: The newly-discovered Mande language of Guinea. By Kirill Babaev. (LINCOM studies in African linguistics 82.)Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2010. Pp. 260. ISBN 9783862880164. $170 (Hb).

Reviewed by Christopher R. Green, University of Maryland

Kirill Babaev’s offering brings to light an incredible degree of detail on Zialo, a Guinean Mande language that has been mentioned only fleetingly in earlier work. The author acknowledges that his work is not exhaustive insofar as it only minimally explores topics in phonology, morphology, semantics, or discourse. The main thrust of the book is to detail many of the complex syntactic structures of the language. B frames his observations on Zialo alongside other closely related Mande languages, thus speaking to the well-known goal of crosslinguistic, comparative, and classificatory research being carried out by him and his cadre of Russian contemporaries working throughout West Africa.

Ch. 1 of the book provides introductory remarks on the state of knowledge of Zialo and its close cousins, among them Mende, Bandi, Loko, Kpelle, and Looma. Chs. 2 and 3 delve into insightful cultural and sociolinguistic information about the Zialo people and their language use, respectively.

Ch. 4 begins the descriptive bulk of the book in its presentation of basic features of the Zialo’s phonetics and phonology. Addressing metrical foot structure and syllable structure. B discusses the presence of foot-like units in Zialo, which are similar to those described by other scholars in work on a number of other Mande languages, such as Bambara, Gouro, and Maninka. B also attends to the language’s consonant and vowel inventories, sound correspondences between Zialo and several of its relatives, and Proto-Southwestern Mande, as well as several tonological processes believed to be under way.

Ch. 5 covers a number of characteristics related to morphology, most provocative of which is the presence of suprasegmental morphemes that provide clues to the underlying tonal structure of an adjacent morpheme and the complex system of initial consonant alternations witnessed in certain constructions and phrases. Ch. 6 through Ch. 9 hold the syntax portion of the book, with individual chapters devoted to the nominal system, the pronominal system, the verbal system, and sentence-level syntax. Topics of particular interest include the exceptional behavior of loanwords into the language; the relationship between predicative person markers, personal pronouns, and bound person markers; and differing means of marking focus, topics, intensity, and emphasis.

The book closes with three appendices. Appendix 1 offers a 100-word Swadesh list comparing Zialo, French, and English. The second appendix provides several collected Zialo texts. The final appendix is a dictionary of Zialo to English and French that is quite extensive and well done for its size.

B’s book is a welcome contribution to ongoing efforts aimed at providing grounded and methodologically informed documentation of languages from the Mande subgroup of the Niger-Congo language family.