Monthly Archives: May 2012

Introducción a la historia de la lengua española

Introducción a la historia de la lengua española. 2nd edn. By Melvyn C. Resnick and Robert M. Hammond. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011. Pp. xx, 490. ISBN 9781589017320. $39.95.

Reviewed by John Ryan, University of Northern Colorado

This book is the long-awaited second edition of Melvyn C. Resnick’s original work from 1981 which, along with the newly added collaboration of Robert Hammond, has been considerably expanded to include additional content and new student material. The book is divided into seven chapters, the first three of which are general and introductory in nature and the last four of which deal more specifically with the diachronicity of Spanish.

Ch. 1 places the development of Spanish within an overall global context, discussing where it is currently spoken in the world as well as historical contact situations that have shaped it over the centuries. Ch. 2 continues the language contact discussion with a sketch of both primitive (e.g. Celtiberian, Celt, and Basque), and later foreign (e.g. Germanic and Arabic), influences on the Spanish lexicon as well as the possibility of substrate influence on Spanish phonology. Ch. 3 serves as a final introductory chapter which provides some additional preliminary details to aid in the understanding of the remainder of the book. Its topics include the pronunciation of Latin, the criteria for establishing genetic relationships between words, and the analysis of cognates.

The first two of the final four chapters deal specifically with internal changes of the language, first in terms of phonology and secondly with regard to grammar. Ch. 4 provides the comprehensive analysis of phonological changes from Classical to Vulgar Latin and then to Early and Modern Spanish. Melvyn C. Resnick’s original and unique student exercises have been included in this new edition and serve to further illustrate the sound changes explained in each section. Ch. 5 shifts the discussion from phonological to grammatical change by posing the question of why Spanish speakers cannot understand Latin; from there ensues an explanation from the authors for the evolution of morphological and syntactic structures over time. In addition to structures that have evolved, the chapter also addresses those which were previously nonexistent in Classical Latin but introduced later, such as definite and indefinite articles and the new compound tenses.

The remaining two chapters of the book turn to more external historical phenomena, namely, dialectology and the expansion of the lexicon over time. Ch. 6 comprises a comprehensive treatment of the different dialects of Spanish placed within a historical framework and includes discussions of variation both within and outside the Peninsula. Topics include the purported influence of the dialects of Andalucía and the Canary Islands on Latin American Spanish, the use of voseo (i.e. the use of the second-person singular pronoun vos), and an explanation of the history of distinction (or not) between /s/ and /θ/. Finally, Ch. 7 concludes the book with a comprehensive account of the different areas in which the lexicon of Spanish has been enhanced from both external contact situations and internal processes. The chapter also treats the notion of semantic change over time.

This newly expanded and comprehensive Introducción a la historia de la lengua española promises to be a useful tool in the Spanish historical linguistics classroom for both undergraduate and graduate students alike.

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Accented America: The cultural politics of multilingual modernism

Accented America: The cultural politics of multilingual modernism. By Joshua L. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. xv, 414. ISBN 9780195336993. $25.

Reviewed by Josep Soler-Carbonell, University of Oxford

This book provides an elegant and in-depth analysis of linguistically experimental modernist novels written between 1898 and 1945. It concentrates on language politics and the multilingual characters portrayed by authors such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, Henry Roth, Nella Larsen, John Dos Passos, Lionel Trilling, Américo Paredes, and Carlos Bulosan. The authors’ lives and biographies are carefully analyzed in combination with their works, which are interpreted as a result of their social, cultural, and political background. In brief, this is not only a very detailed literary critical analysis, but could also be considered an ethnography of modernist and interwar literature.

The primary object of study of this volume is literature, particularly the language politics and linguistic experiments of modernist writers. It also offers insight into important topics such as Americans’ views of English and of languages other than English at that time. Joshua L. Miller’s analysis offers interesting resonances with current debates over identity, culture, and language in the United States, such as the ‘English-only’ movement and its origins.

The book consists of six chapters preceded by an introduction, acknowledgements, and a foreword by the series editors, and followed by a concluding chapter, notes, and an index. The introductory chapter sets down the book’s aims and method. The first two chapters (‘Reinventing vox americana’ and ‘Documenting “American”’) provide a detailed picture of the historical background of the cultural politics of English in the United States. M focuses on two figures: Henry Ford and H. L. Mencken. The Ford English School and its ‘mass-production’ methods of teaching English to immigrants, together with its explicit link to personal hygiene, were important ways of instilling national ideals in the working class. H.L. Mencken’s The American language set another relevant precedent in the English debate in the United States. It described a vernacular language that, because it was so flexible, could always assimilate new forms (e.g. words, accents) without losing its essential shape or its national character.

In the rest of the book, M analyzes how modernist writers responded to debates over culture, politics, and language and how they challenged them by means of hybridism and linguistic experimentation, reflecting traces of the languages and accents on which English had imposed. In Ch. 3 (‘Foreignizing “English”’), M offers a contextualized reading of Gertrude Stein and John Dos Passos. Ch. 4 (‘Vernacularizing silence’) concentrates on Jean Toomer and Nella Larsen, Ch. 5 (‘Translating “Englitch”’) on Henry Roth and Lionel Trilling, and Ch. 6 (‘Spanglicizing modernism’) on Carlos Bulosan and Américo Paredes.

One negative aspect of the book that I would highlight is the referential system that the author has used. Cited material is referred to in the form of endnotes at the end of the book, but there is no separate list of bibliography or cited works, which hinders readers from having an easy access to the author’s sources. The book, however, is a welcome contribution to scholarly debates over language politics, culture, and identity in the interwar United States.

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Identity formation in globalizing contexts

Identity formation in globalizing contexts: Language learning in the new millennium. Ed. by Christina Higgins. (Language and social processes 1.) Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. Pp. xviii, 330. ISBN 9783110266382. $140 (Hb).

Reviewed by Kanavillil Rajagopalan, State University at Campinas

This book results from a colloquium titled ‘Negotiating the self in another language: Discourse approaches to language learning as cross-cultural adaptation’, presented at the International Pragmatics and Language Teaching Conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2007. Six chapters were written specifically for the present volume.

The mind-boggling transformation of the concepts of self and identity has become a pressing issue against the backdrop of growing transnationalism and the proliferation of intercultural global contact zones. Far from presenting a uniform and homogenous picture, transnational realities reveal themselves to be multifarious upon closer inspection. The articles assembled in this volume address these complex realities in terms of their local specificities without losing sight of their overarching commonalities.

The book consists of three parts titled ‘Forming identities within (trans)national ethnoscapes’, ‘Identifying third spaces among ideoscapes’, and ‘Constructing identities in mediascapes’. These are preceded by a preface and an opening chapter titled ‘The formation of L2 selves in a globalizing world’, wherein Christina Higgins presents the basic concepts and also the scope of the field. The book is rounded off with an epilogue, a list of references, and an index.

Thanks to the large-scale movement of peoples across the globe in recent decades, new forms of hybrid and alternative identities are springing up everywhere. This is tied up with increasing interconnectedness of what Arjun Appadurai has called scapes. Thus, ethnoscapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, mediascapes, and ideoscapes crisscross to form new kaleidoscopic possibilities of self and identity.

Not everyone responds in the same way to these radical changes. The chapters in this book thematize different, at times idiosyncratic, responses. Ch. 2, for instance, looks at South Asian immigrants in the United States and Canada in general and focuses on Etienne, a working-class Cambodian-Vietnamese man and his struggles with the all-too-common sensation encapsulated in ‘I’m two pieces inside of me’. Brianna and Olivia, two young undergraduate students from the United States about to spend a spring semester in Montpellier, France, discover to their horror that they ‘have arrived just in time to witness the widespread and vocal outpouring of anti-American sentiment accompanying the onset of the U.S. -led invasion of Iraq’ (148).

In Ch. 11, Yumiko Ohara zeroes in on learners of Japanese as a foreign language at a university in Hawaii and their struggles to create new identities for themselves. Steven L. Thorne and Rebecca Black take a close look at how online digital environments have given rise to new spaces of identity construction thanks to a new set of ‘textual and multimodal tools involving what are arguably new literacies and communicative genres’ (258). Finally, in the epilogue to the volume, Christina Higgins points out some issues for future research among which is the question of how additional language users need to confront new identity formations.

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A German language course on historical and linguistic principles

A German language course on historical and linguistic principles. 2nd edn. By Hermann Bluhme and Dmitri Milinski. (LINCOM coursebooks in linguistics 17.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2011. Pp. 413. ISBN 9783862880423. $74 (Hb).

Reviewed by Mark Irwin, Yamagata University

This is not a ‘language course’, and only a small portion of the material is based on either historical or linguistic principles.

Proportionally, the content of the volume breaks down as follows: ‘Introduction’ (1%); ‘Basic German’ (<1%); ‘Pronunciation’(3%); ‘English words and their German relatives’ (26%); ‘Advanced grammar’ (18%); ‘Particles’ (2%); ‘Conjunctions’ (1%); ‘High frequency words’ (3%); ‘Selected abbreviations’ (1%); ‘Glossary’ (1%); ‘Appendix A: Reading exercises’ (5%); ‘Appendix B: Practical German’ (1%); ‘Appendix C: Further pronunciation exercises’ (3%); ‘Appendix D: The gender, further materials’ (4%); ‘Appendix E: German-English word list’ (24%); and ‘Appendix F: English-German word list’ (3%).

Approximately two-thirds of the book’s content consists of word lists (e.g. the vast bulk, or all, of Ch. 4, Chs. 6–10, and App. C–F). A handful of exercises are scattered sporadically throughout the text. The vast bulk of German example sentences are left untranslated. The volume exhibits no pedagogical structure, and it is often hard to discern for whom the ‘course’ is designed. As a reference work, it is not very useful to the beginner, but it will perhaps be of interest to some learners of a high-intermediate level or above. It is the potential of the longer chapters on which I will concentrate in the remainder of this review.

Ch. 4, ‘English words and their German relatives’, shows the most originality. The section opens with a table of English–German sound correspondences (e.g. p–pf, th–d), then proceeds to give examples of vocabulary items for each (e.g. plough–Pflug, thorn–Dorn). Unfortunately, these are introduced in a different order from the preceding table. They also include correspondences not cited therein, as well as correspondences where both English and German are identical (e.g. b–b: bush–Busch) and whose expository value is thus questionable. By way of word lists, the remainder of the chapter examines word derivation, compounding, and affixes. All of these, while useful references, have no connection with ‘English words and their German relatives’. The chapter also includes a list of loanwords common to German and English, although information on the donor language is unfortunately lacking.

Ch. 5, ‘Advanced grammar’, is not particularly advanced. It includes sections on number and case, adjectival declension, the verb, and the plural and gender of nouns, as well as lists of prepositions, adverbs, and irregular verb declensions. Ch. 8, ‘High frequency words’, contains a list of 280 ‘common German words’; it is unclear why 280 were selected and not more or fewer. With examples such as Annahme ‘assumption’, Hochleistung ‘top performance’, and Tagesschau ‘eight o’clock news’, the authors’ selection process is curious. Appendix A, ‘Reading exercises’, contains a mix of nursery rhymes, poetry, and ‘stories’ (e.g. the Bible stories by Franz Kafka and by the brothers Grimm). Appendix B, ‘Practical German’, gives advice on job application letters and looking for a flat. Probably the most useful of the appendices is Appendix D, on gender, offering guidelines on gender assignment.

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The handbook of computational linguistics and natural language processing

The handbook of computational linguistics and natural language processing. Ed. by Alexander Clark, Chris Fox, and Shalom Lappin. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Pp. 800. ISBN 9781405155816. $209.95 (Hb).

Reviewed by Thomas Hoffmann, University of Osnabrück

Great technological advancements of the past thirty years have led to a significant increase in computational speed and efficiency, and the success of the computer has had an enormous impact on the field of linguistics. The present handbook on computational linguistics (CL) and natural language processing (NLP) should, therefore, be of great interest to a large number of graduate students and researchers.

The volume is divided into four parts and covers all of the main fields of CL and NLP research. Following the editors’ concise introduction (1–8), Part 1 provides the ‘Formal foundations’ of the two disciplines. First, Shuly Wintner gives an overview of the elementary concepts of formal language theory (11–42), which includes a detailed discussion of basic issues such as formal language classes and the Chomsky Hierarchy. Next, Ian Pratt-Hartmann investigates computational resources in time and space in ‘Computational complexity in natural language’ (43–73). Ciprian Chelba’s chapter, ‘Statistical language models’ (74–104), follows and, among other topics, reviews probabilistic n-gram models and their relation to Markov systems, and compares them with models generated by probabilistic context-free grammars. The final chapter of Part 1 by Mark-Jan Nederhof and Giorgio Satta (‘Theory of parsing’, 105–30) focuses on the parsing of several context-free grammars and compares these with dependency grammar parsers and tree adjoining grammars.

Part 2 presents current methods employed in CL and NLP and begins with five chapters on widely used and influential techniques for machine learning, namely, ‘Maximum entropy models’ by Robert Malouf (133–53), ‘Memory-based learning’ by Walter Daelemans and Antal van den Bosch (154–79), ‘Decision trees’ by Helmut Schmid (180–96), ‘Unsupervised learning and grammar induction’ by Alexander Clark and Shalom Lappin (197–220), and ‘Artificial neural networks’ by James B. Henderson (221–37). Following is a chapter by Martha Palmer and Nianwen Xue, ‘Linguistic annotation’ (238–70), which deals with CL and NLP issues of corpus annotation, and a chapter by Philip Resnik and Jimmy Lin, which addresses the issue of evaluation of NLP systems (271–95).

CL and NLP approaches to various linguistic domains comprise the focus of Part 3, ‘Domains of application’: Steve Renals and Thomas Hain concentrate on phonetic issues and acoustic modelling in automatic speech recognition (299–332). This is followed by a chapter on the statistical parsing (333–63) of syntactic corpus data by Stephen Clark, a contribution on segmentation and morphology (364–93) by John A. Goldsmith, and an article by Chris Fox on computational semantics (394–428). ‘Computational models of dialogue’, by Jonathan Ginzburg and Raquel Fernández (429–81), and ‘Computational psycholinguistics’, by Matthew W. Crocker (482–513), round off Part 3.

Finally, Part 4 (‘Applications’) of the book deals with engineering tasks that NLP and CL procedures have been applied to, namely, ‘Information extraction’ (Ralph Grishman, 517–30), ‘Machine translation’ (Andy Way, 531–73), ‘Natural language generation’ (Ehud Reiter, 574–98), ‘Discourse processing’ (Ruslan Mitkov, 599–629) and ‘Question answering’ (Bonnie Webber and Nick Webb, 630–54).

Handbook editors always have the difficult task of deciding which topics to include and which to omit. This task is even more daunting for a handbook on a field as vibrant and dynamic as CL and NLP, which can never be documented exhaustively. Nevertheless, the editors of the present volume have succeeded in compiling a collection of articles that together constitute a state-of-the art introduction to CL and NLP.

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Is that a fish in your ear?

Is that a fish in your ear?: Translation and the meaning of everything. By David Bellos. New York: Faber and Faber, Inc, 2011. Pp. viii, 373. ISBN 9780865478572. $27 (Hb).

Reviewed by Michael Cahill, SIL International

This book represents a popular look at translation, written by David Bellos, who is a professional translator and teacher. A recurring theme is the difficulty in defining translation. Obviously, consistency of meaning must be maintained, but attempts at specific definition of translation lead to complications, such as whether good translation involves maintaining sound symbolism, poetic form, humor, and impact.

In Ch. 7, B tackles meaning, which is not universally connected to language (i.e. the smell of coffee is meaningful), and which is highly context-dependent. The translator must know the context of what he is translating. Ch. 8 speaks of the mismatch between individual words across languages and addresses the idea that translation is just substituting one word for another. ‘Salt’ is not merely NaCl, but has a host of meanings, which do not match across languages. B notes the possibility of using distinctive features to distinguish meanings but shows that doing so bogs down the translation process.

B addresses the myth that culture has a determinative effect on language (e.g. The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax). Another thorny issue is how literal translations should be. B asserts that strictly literal translations do not exist and that ‘few commentators on translation have ever come out in favor of a literal or word-for-word style’ (103). Ch. 11 gives a fascinating historical account of translation practice during the time of the Ottoman Empire. B describes an instance when Sultan Murad II wrote in Turkish to Queen Elizabeth regarding her ‘having demonstrated her subservience and devotion and declared her servitude and attachment’ to him, which was translated for her in many fewer words into Italian.

In Ch. 15, B introduces the useful UP/DOWN terminology. Translation UP is toward a language of greater prestige than the source; DOWN refers to translation into a language with lower prestige. UP translations are more thoroughly adapted to the prestige language, while DOWN translations retain more traces of the source language. In Bible translation into minority languages, one would expect DOWN translation, but this does not happen. B notes the influence of Eugene Nida, who insisted that spiritual truth be accessible in all languages and respected local cultures. Nida-influenced translations tend to use the more adaptive UP approach.

Chs. 20–21 discuss legalities and human rights. Laws are inherently challenges to translate, because ‘legalese’ uses terms in ways that do not reflect normal usage. The result is the rise of ‘lawyer-linguists’ who are legally trained but also are translators. B gives an intriguing look at how this applies in the European Union. B also includes interesting discussion of simultaneous interpretation (originating in the Nuremberg trials), dictionaries, machine translation, and more briefly, humor, style, and literary texts.

B’s audience is not professional translators and linguists but rather the general public. B deserves credit for his accessible style, entertaining examples, and breadth of topics covered. The layman will find a much less mechanical view of what translation is and a debunking of some popular ideas.

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Linguistics. Ed. by Anne E. Baker and Kees Hengeveld. (Introducing linguistics 5.) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Pp. xviii, 449. ISBN 9780631230366. $44.95.

Reviewed by Adam C. McCollum, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

The book under review is the third incarnation, now in English, of a series of chapters in Dutch, introducing basic concepts of linguistics going back to 1992 and revised a decade later. Authors of various chapters changed between 1992 and 2002, and in this version are listed only in a table in the preface. The editors have in mind as their readers ‘first of all students of language, but it is also suitable for others who want to know more about modern linguistics’ (xvii). The chapters comprise six distinct parts, shifting in focus from the general to sentence-level to smaller-level topics, ending with chapters covering questions of language change, variation, and interaction: Part 1, ‘Language and language faculty’ (Chs. 1–3), Part 2, ‘Language and interaction’ (Chs. 4–5), Part 3, ‘Sentences and their meaning’ (Chs. 6–10), Part 4, ‘Words and their meaning’ (Chs. 11–13), Part 5, ‘Speech sounds’ (Chs. 14–16), and Part 6, ‘Languages and communities’ (Chs. 17–20). Each chapter consists of an introduction, including examples that highlight the linguistic topic under discussion, a number of sections covering the aspects of the topic, and a summary concluding the chapter. Each summary is followed by two additional sections: ‘Assignments’ and ‘Test yourself’. References and suggestions for further reading appear at the end of each chapter. Throughout the book, key terms are in bold-faced type. The book is written entirely from the point of view of British English.

This textbook will provide students with a broad initiation into most of the categories of modern linguistics, although a section solely devoted to writing systems, presently discussed only incidentally, would have been welcome. It is doubtful that any first-time linguistics student will finish reading this book without a greater appreciation for the wonder and complexity of the world’s languages present and past, though the latter might have been exemplified more. Some deficiencies deserve mention, including several typos found in the book. Additionally, in the transliterations of examples from various languages, ‘j’ is [j] (i.e. English ‘y’); for example, Samoyedic is spelled with a ‘j’ (348). This fact ought to have been clearly stated, or the practice to have been avoided, especially for English speakers. A glaring error of fact occurs in reference to Samuel Johnson’s dictionary (1755) as ‘one of the first dictionaries’ (227), which ignores the centuries older lexicographical traditions of, for example, the classical and some Near Eastern languages, as well as European vernacular lexicography from the sixteenth century onward. Additionally, there is mention of the Swadesh list (237) but with no indication of some linguists’ criticism of methods associated with it. On page 292, ‘many web sites [sic]’ are referred to for the sounds of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), but none are suggested at the end of the chapter. Finally, an almost naïve Western-centric point of view is palpable in some remarks (e.g. once each on pages 352, 353). Despite these caveats, I expect the book to succeed reasonably well as a first-level meeting between beginning students and linguistics.

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The Lincom guide to materials design in ELT

The Lincom guide to materials design in ELT. Ed. by Handoyo Puji Widodo and Lila Savova. (Lincom studies in second language teaching 12.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2010. Pp. 245. ISBN 9783895862526. $189 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Middle East Technical University

For language teachers, designing and developing materials is one of the most crucial and challenging elements of language curriculum. The process involves taking into consideration students’ needs and the specific teaching context, as well as nationwide goals. With this book, including sixteen chapters and an introduction by the editors, the authors aim to provide insights into materials design and development from a variety of perspectives.

In Ch. 1, the author discusses designing language teaching materials in various stages, such as planning, implementation, and evaluation, highlighting the diverse views of the different stakeholders in various contexts. In Ch. 2, two general principles are discussed in detail, focusing on English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) content and material organization: one is the 80/20 rule, and the other is the Gestalt principle of similarity. Ch. 3 deals with the importance of the use of visual aids in English language teaching (ELT) material, providing hands-on suggestions and pedagogical considerations. Ch. 4 reports on how a corpus linguistics course can help English-major undergraduates with the use of worksheets that are created based on the corpus data.

Ch. 5 provides a discussion of materials design for teaching adults, based on principles, practices, and implications for adult learners, and presents exemplary materials. Ch. 6 introduces and justifies the use of literary texts in communicative language classes. In Ch. 7, materials design is discussed with respect to young learners, considering their cognitive development and the choice of topics and tasks. Ch. 8 sets content-based instruction at the very heart of materials design and adaptation by elaborating on its features.

Ch. 9 discusses the recent development in English use around the word, with a special focus on the relationship between its use as an international lingua franca and materials development. Ch. 10 addresses materials design from a view of English for specific purposes (ESP), discussing approaches and principles that play a role in ESP writing.   In Ch. 11, a school-based curriculum in India is discussed, highlighting the importance of the use of self-access materials to enhance learners’ autonomy in an English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. Ch. 12 deals with three vocabulary learning approaches using corpus-oriented language materials: studying with a textbook providing high- frequency words, a blended approach using word quests, and self-directed or independent learning.

In Ch. 13, materials design for adult English language learners is evaluated with respect to task-based language teaching. Ch. 14 looks at task-based materials design from a sociolinguistic perspective and highlights issues such as identity construction through well-designed tasks. In Ch. 15, how culture can impact ELT materials is discussed using exemplary tasks and materials. The final chapter examines pre-service language teachers and the role of information and communication technology in materials design, with specific reference to the use of e-portfolio.

Overall, this is an invaluable resource book for graduate students, teachers, and teacher-educators on various aspects of materials design and development. However, the inclusion of a concluding section addressing future directions in materials design and development would have been a valuable addition to the book.

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Subordination and coordination strategies in North Asian languages

Subordination and coordination strategies in North Asian languages. (Current issues in linguistic theory 300.) Ed. by Edward J. Vajda. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2008. Pp. xii, 218. ISBN 9789027248169. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by Michael W MorganIGNOU, New Delhi

This book, arising out of the Third International Symposium on Languages Spoken in Europe and North and Central Asia (Tomsk, 2006), deals with a wide variety of subordinate and/or coordinate constructions in a wide variety of North Asian languages. Bernard Comrie’s introduction lays out a typology of complex sentence patterns, focusing on instances where the distinction between subordination and coordination is fuzzy, and taking his illustrations from a distinctly non–North-Asian language, Haruai (Papuan).

Nearly the full range of genetic families found in North Asia is represented in this book. Altaic is represented by (i) Tungusic Udeghe, confusingly also referred to in the running head as Udihe (Maria Tolskaya and Inna Tolskaya, ); (ii) Turkic Kumyk, a European Turkic language analogous to North Asian Turkic (Linda Humnick); and (iii) Korean, together with Russian and English (Elena Rudnitskaya and Elena Uryson). Uralic is represented by Eastern Khanty, with chapters by Andrei Filtchenko and by Olga Potanina, and by two Samoyedic languages, Northern Selkup (Riita-Liisa Valijärvi) and Forest Enets (Olesya Khanina and Andrey Shluinsky). The isolate Ainu is discussed by Anna Bugaeva, and the Yenesei Ostyak language Ket is discussed by Edward J. Vajda and by Marina Zinn. Eskimo-Aleut, represented within North Asia by Siberian Yupik, is dealt with in this book by Osahito Miyaoka‘s discussion of a non-Asian variety, Central Alaskan Yupik.

Two additional chapters cover languages falling outside the scope of the book’s title (but not the symposium generating the book). Sandra Birzer’s chapter deals with Russian, which, while not usually thought of as a North Asian language, has become a dominant (and dominating) language throughout all of Siberia, often to the detriment of many indigenous languages. Finally, Nina Dobrushina’s chapter is more broadly typological, and deals with a number of languages of Eastern Europe: Russian, Aghul, Estonian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Turkish.

As Edward Vajda notes in his foreword (vii–xi), the constructions discussed in this volume divide almost evenly between analytic patterns (used for both coordination and subordination, described in chapters on Ainu, Eastern Khanty, Kumyk, Forest Enets, Korean, and Udeghe), and synthetic patterns of suffixation (for subordination, in all remaining chapters). While there is a distinct focus on the range and use of morphosyntactic forms to express various coordinate and subordinate relations (including at times unexpected forms, like imperative forms discussed by Dobrushina or interrogatives by Tolskaya and Tolskaya), several chapters also bring semantics and pragmatics into the discussion. Filtchenko and Humnick each provide pragmatic motivation for the preference for finite versus non-finite forms to express subordinate adverbial clauses. Similarly, Rudnitskaya and Uryson propose a semantic rather than formal typology of coordination.

Several chapters (both on Eastern Khanty, that on Forest Enets, and Birzer’s chapter on Russian) include a diachronic perspective to explicate the synchronic patterns, with, for example, Khanina and Shluinsky proposing a strong Russian influence as motivating an increased preference for finite structures in Enets.

This book will be primarily of interest to syntacticians (and morphosyntacticians) and to linguists specializing in the languages of North Asia. Individual chapters will also be of interest to specialists in the individual languages.

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Embodied interaction: Language and body in the material world

Embodied interaction: Language and body in the material world. Ed. by Jürgen Streeck, Charles Goodwin, and Curtis LeBaron. (Leaning in doing: Social, cognitive and computational perspectives.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. 308, ISBN 9780521895637. $99 (Hb).

Reviewed by Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, University of Warwick

Readers interested in human interaction analysis will find in this book a highly stimulating and varied sample of essays reporting on the latest advances in the field. The interactional settings included range from the more widely studied, such as family, classroom, and informal conversation, to musical and clinical events, gaming, and auctions. In addition to English, Japanese, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, and American Sign Language are featured in the analyses. In spite of their diverse interactional environments, all essays effectively demonstrate the ‘cooperative semiosis’ (Charles Goodwin, Ch. 13) that characterizes multimodality. Goodwin’s own essay is based on the moving and compelling analysis of an aphasic man with a three-word vocabulary, and shows how human action cannot be understood from within any isolated semiotic modality, or even within the individual actor.

Elizabeth Keating and Chiho Sunakawa in Ch. 14 also illustrate how the distribution of meaning unfolds ‘across multiple modalities simultaneously and sequentially’ (203), especially in virtual environments. Space, whether virtual or not, looms large in this collection. Mapping the topographics of intercorporeality reveals the patterns and rituals of, for example, family routines (Eve Tulbert and Marjorie H. Goodwin, Ch. 6). The subtle choreographic aspect of human interaction is visible even in its most basic, perhaps fundamental, genre, that of the informal conversation (Shimako Iwasaki, Ch. 8), regardless of the language under examination. The expressivity of performance reaches new heights in musical events, where sound, bodies, instruments, and space, among others, synchronize in the materiality of orchestration. In the final chapter, John B. Haviland provocatively concludes his essay on the analysis of musical spaces of interaction with this musing: ‘One wonders how different our view of the world, text, discourse, and conversation might have been had we started not with disembodied wiretaps of telephone conversations but with the richness of a procession of Zinacantec musicians, a string quartet rehearsal, or a jazz jam session’ (304).

This is a pertinent question indeed, addressed not only to interaction analysts, but to all involved in language and communication analysis. How much longer can we ignore the quintessentially embodied nature of most, if not all, of human communication? The discovery of ‘emotions’, another field of multidisciplinary scholarship, is fairly recent. Having left the body behind, as it were, as inessential to a holistic understanding of human communication, for decades we proceeded to analyze language as if affect were tangential or irrelevant. Embodied analyses, such as those in this book, remind us of the integrity of the human interactant as a situated, sensual actor, participating in his or her environment and in the lives of other animate or inanimate entities through a range of modalities, of which language is one, and not always the critical one.

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