Monthly Archives: August 2012

English around the world

English around the world: An introduction. By Edgar W. Schneider. (Cambridge introductions to the English language.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. xx, 258. ISBN 9780521888462. $77 (Hb).

Reviewed by Abby Forster, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

In this book, Edgar W. Schneider presents an overview of World Englishes and many of the key issues involved in the global spread of English. S covers the reasons why English has spread globally, the processes by which spread occurs, the results of the spread of English, the linguistic properties of English varieties, and the social consequences of this phenomenon. The book also includes text samples of major varieties of English around the world.

Ch. 1 begins the book with a brief introduction and overview. Ch. 2 provides a strong theoretical base for newcomers to the topic. It introduces basic linguistic principles, including language variation (and a brief overview of lexical variation, phonetics, syntax, and pragmatics), language change, and language contact. In this chapter, S argues that extralinguistic conditions such as identity and politics have greater influence on language change than internal language processes. Ch. 3 provides a brief historical background pertinent to the topic, covering European colonization, British colonization, American expansion and colonization, and post-independence issues related to the spread of English.

Chs. 4–6 are roughly divided into major steps in the spread of English. Ch. 4 focuses on processes of linguistic contact and the role of colonization and the slave trade in developing varieties of English, such as Northern (British) English, English in the Southern United States, and Jamaican Patois (Creole). Ch. 5 more deeply examines language contact between colonizers and indigenous peoples, including discussions of Australian English and South African Black English. Ch. 6 describes English varieties that have relatively recently increased in prominence through both grassroots movements and formal education in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. Cases include Nigeria, Singapore, Tok Pisin in Papau New Guinea, and English learning in China.

Ch. 7 offers a broad analysis of the linguistic processes in the spread of English. S argues that while linguistic processes may contribute to which features and forms are selected in a language variety, extralinguistic factors always play a more determinate role. Additionally, S identifies a few linguistic features of World Englishes that seem to be widespread, such as the omission of inflectional endings and the progressive use of stative verbs. Moving away from linguistic analysis, Ch. 8 offers a discussion of some of the major social and political issues involved in the spread of English, including the tension between English dominance and language death, and the politics of teaching English worldwide.

This book sacrifices depth for breadth and assumes readers have little to no knowledge of linguistics, making it ideal for use in introductory courses. At the same time, there is enough detailed linguistic analysis of particular language features that advanced students and graduate students who want a quick primer on the topic of World Englishes may find this text useful. Teachers may appreciate the numerous activities and exercises at the end of each chapter intended to reinforce and apply the concepts discussed. A standout feature is that audio files for eight of the thirteen text samples are accessible through the publisher’s website.

Experimental phonetics and sound change

Experimental phonetics and sound change. Ed. by Daniel Recasens, Fernando Sánchez Miret, and Kenneth J. Wireback. (LINCOM studies in phonetics 5.) Munich: LINCOM Europa, 2010. Pp. 138. ISBN 9783862880003. $144.99 (Hb).

Reviewed by Joseph F. Eska, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The articles included in this book were originally presented at a workshop on sound change held at the University of Salamanca in May 2009. The foreword informs readers that ‘[a]ll papers in this book share the common belief that progress in the understanding of the causes of sound change can only be achieved through analysis and evaluation of articulatory, acoustic and perceptual data’ (5).

In their article, ‘Speech rate and articulatory reduction in Italian alveolar and velar nasal + stop clusters’ (7–33), Silvia Calamai and Irene Ricci investigate the temporal and articulatory aspects of the production of nasal + alveolar plosive and nasal + velar plosive groups as a function of speech rate. They find that the articulation of the nasal changes with the place of the plosive and that the plosives reduced in faster speech. They note that assimilation of the nasal occurred even in slower speech and that careful articulation could occur in faster speech. Chiara Celata, in ‘Rhotic retroflexion in Romance: Acoustic data for an articulation-driven sound change’ (35–60), examines the retroflection of /t(ː)r/ groups in the Sicilian dialect of Italian. She says that this group is realized as [ʈ(ː)ʂ] by some speakers and that this is the result of a diachronic process whereby the rhotic could be realized as retroflex [ɽ] followed by articulatory blending and affrication which led to [ʈʂ].

In his article, ‘Experimental analysis of some acoustically driven phonetic changes in Medieval Spanish’ (61–70), Juan Felipe García Santos argues that the sixteenth-century change of /b/ > /v/ in Castilian Spanish was due to lenition and that the currently ongoing change of /j/ > /x/ is a manifestation of the same diachronic process. In their article, ‘A perceptual study of the articulatory and acoustic factors triggering dark /l/ vocalization’ (71–82), Daniel Recasens and Aina Espinosa argue that the realization of dark /l/ as /w/ in Majorcan Catalan may be triggered both by alveolar contact loss and acoustic equivalence in F2, and suggest that both articulatory and acoustic cues play a role in sound change.

Fernando Sánchez Miret, in ‘The effect of word final unstressed high vowels on stressed vowel duration and its consequences for metaphonic diphthongization in Southern Italian’ (83–97), presents preliminary evidence that mid open [ɛ] and [ɔ] undergo dipthongization when they co-occur with final high vowels in Northern Calabrian Italian. In his article, ‘A reexamination of the palatalization of Latin /kt/ in the light of phonetic research’ (99–114), Kenneth J. Wireback argues that the palatalization of Latin /kt/ in the Romance languages is the result of gestural blending and regressive assimilation. Finally, Marzena Żygis demonstrates, in ‘On changes in Slavic sibilant systems and their perceptual motivation’ (115–38), that acoustics and perceptual cues play a large role in determining the configuration of sibilants in some Slavic languages.

This book should be read by all historical linguistics, phoneticians, and phonologists interested in the mechanics of sound change. It does an excellent job of demonstrating how experimental data can be employed for evaluating analyses of sound change.

Studies on German-language islands

Studies on German-language islands. Ed. by Michael Putnam. (Studies in language companion series 123.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011. Pp. xii, 477. ISBN 9789027205902. $158 (Hb).

Reviewed by I.M. Laversuch Nick, University of Cologne

This book is the latest in John Benjamin’s Studies in language companion series and contributes to the body of literature on German-language islands or Sprachinseln. What makes this particular collection stand out, however, is its novel approach. Rather than adopting a traditional ethnolinguistic investigation, this work explores several different colonial German varieties from a generative perspective. Accordingly, the book is divided into four basic sections:  phonetics and phonology, morphology and lexis, pragmatics, and syntax. Of these sections, the lion’s share is devoted to syntax. In fact, of the 475 pages found in this work, no less than 250 pages focus on syntactic phenomena. An examination of the chapters to be found in this section reveals different yet complementary thematic sub-sections. While the first of these three compares and contrasts verb clusters among Pennsylvania Dutch and Mennonite Low German, the remaining two sub-sections focus on a single variety: Cimbrian German. Therein lies another asset of this book: in addition to prominent American varieties like Texas German, other varieties that have taken seed in South America and Southern Europe are also featured.

Aside from this geolinguistic panorama, the book also scores highly in the multiplicity of questions it presents and the thought-provoking answers it suggests. For example, in the chapter, ‘Spoken syntax in Cimbrian of the linguistic islands in Northern Italy’ (233–79), Werner Abraham asserts that ‘autonomous linguistic change of an exclusively oral preserved dialect code’ has primarily yielded the typological features observed in this variety and not, as is so often claimed, in prolonged language contact with Italian (260). A similarly intriguing chapter is Michael T. Putnam’s ‘Anaphors in contact: The distribution of intensifiers and reflexives in Amana German’ (111–28).  Putnam resists the temptation to place his investigatory focus on morpho-syntax and examines instead the morpho-semantic properties of this contact language. His conclusion is that Amana German ‘seems to have adopted a reflexive system that is more similar to modern Dutch and English than what is found in modern German’ (112).  Thus, Putnam effectively demonstrates the ways in which diachronic change is a simultaneous process of attrition and innovation.

Although the focus of all of the research in this collection is firmly centered in a generative analysis of colonial German varieties, sociolinguists interested in other languages will also discover many familiar topics (e.g. multilingualism, dialectology, and ethnolinguistic identity). Additionally, detailed historical descriptions are given about the immigration patterns of each dialect group. Taken all together, this book is to be highly and widely recommended, and the authors and the editor are to be most highly commended. From the first two chapters on phonetics and phonology to final two on pragmatics and conversation analysis, all sixteen chapters of this book make a substantive contribution to German language research in particular and language variation studies in general.

Understanding English grammar

Understanding English grammar: A linguistic introduction. By Thomas E. Payne. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Pp. xvii, 433. ISBN 9780521757119. $39.99.

Reviewed by Janne Skaffari, University of Turku

There is a huge market for textbooks on English grammar, in Anglophone countries and elsewhere, to which the main title of this book undoubtedly refers. However, anyone reading this book will soon realize that it is not so much a grammar in the traditional sense as a linguistics textbook with a focus on syntax. The author aims at combining language learning and current linguistic ideas, not prescribing ‘good English’.

The book contains an introduction and fifteen chapters, the majority of them 20–26 pages long. Each chapter concludes with a summary, a short further reading section, and some exercises. The topics range from the history of English (Ch. 1) to pragmatically marked constructions (Ch. 15). The historical overview is followed by chapters on linguistic typology, word classes, morphology and word-formation, and the semantics of ‘participants’ and ‘actions’ in clauses. Chs. 7 and 8, discussing such syntactic concepts as constituency and determiner phrases, start the more demanding second half of the book, covering complementation and modification, characteristics of English verb structures, and patterns of clause combination. Finally, the glossary gives brief definitions of some 400 terms, followed by endnotes and a lengthy bibliography.

The references section contains about 170 entries, some forty percent of them from after 2000. The sources cover a broad range of linguistic topics. Although a number of grammars have been consulted, it is surprising that some recent corpus-based descriptions of English, most notably the Longman grammar of spoken and written English (1999), are missing from the bibliography. P does use material from large corpora and the Internet, thus avoiding the problems arising from the traditional armchair grammarians’ invented examples.

An experienced teacher, P regularly takes up the pedagogical concerns involved in describing English grammatical structures to non-native speakers of the language. Indeed, most academics teaching English in non-Anglophone countries probably have to use textbooks primarily intended for the United Kingdom or United States market and cannot but deplore the native-speaker proficiency often assumed by such books. P has actually dedicated this volume to his former students in South Korea. What remains an unsolvable problem in textbooks is that students with different linguistic and educational backgrounds may require different solutions to the problems they face when learning grammar: for instance, not everyone finds motion verbs difficult, or benefits from a discussion of fifteen aspectual categories.

The linguistic approach to grammar is commendable but makes the textbook quite complicated in places. Moreover, several topics or concepts appear as if from nowhere: for example, generative grammar appears in Ch. 7 with little explanation. It is, thus, evident that this book is best read with a teacher who can clarify the linguistic analyses and classifications. This book on understanding the structures of English will certainly give many new ideas not only to the student but also to the teacher.

Talk as therapy

Talk as therapy: Psychotherapy in a linguistic perspective. By Joanna Pawelczyk. (Trends in applied linguistics 7.) Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. Pp. 254. ISBN 9781934078662. $98 (Hb).

Reviewed by I.M. Laversuch Nick, University of Cologne

A recent addition to the Trends in applied linguistics series, the book under review presents an insightful look into language use in psychotherapeutic settings. Contrary to the author’s description, however, this work is not empirically based. Instead, it is a qualitative analysis of sixty-five hours of discourse recorded between a single therapist and his clients.  Complementing these audio-recordings are the ‘thick notes’ which the author took before, after, and during each session.

According to the author, her attendance did not lead to observer’s paradox, as the clients were exceedingly comfortable with the researcher, for two reasons: (i) the researcher lived with the clients and the therapist during the workshop and was, therefore, able to establish an uncommon level of trust and respect; and (ii) all of the clients participating in these sessions were therapists themselves who would not have been intimidated by the presence of a colleague. While these points are not to be completely discounted, it must nevertheless be stated that for these very reasons, the sessions were far from being representative. It would only stand to reason that the normal distribution and manifestation of power found in a counseling session would differ somewhat in a context where both the client and therapist are experts. It is worth noting the author’s cognizance of this potential confound.

An issue that the author fails to address, however, is the clients’ ethnolinguistic diversity.  The fact, for example, that many of the clients did not share a native language or national variety with the therapist might well have had a significant effect on the communication process in general and the use of discourse markers in particular. Aside from the failure to address this variable, the results presented would seem to be buttressed by a fairly robust methodological foundation.

The findings are reported in four separate chapters, divided according to the functional psychotherapeutic purpose of the linguistic data analyzed: (i) ‘The transparency of meaning’ in Ch. 2 (51–96); (ii) ‘Self-disclosure’ in Ch. 3 (97–150); (iii) ‘Communication of emotion’ in Ch. 4 (151–84); and (iv) ‘Emotional support’ in Ch. 5 (185–204). Within each chapter, there are the sub-sections divided according to discursive feature. For example, in Ch. 3, the author describes the many ways in which patients use ‘you know’. In some instances, it elicited confirmation from the psychotherapist; and in others, in combination with ‘I don’t know’, it was used to signal patient vulnerability and self-disclosure.

For linguists primarily interested in discourse analysis, this work may at times be somewhat frustrating in that the depth of the analyses offered is often sacrificed for the breadth of the observations made. However, for those whose interests encompass counseling psychology, the book will be not only thought-provoking but also deeply moving. More than anything else, this work gives powerful evidence for the deep healing which a talented, compassionate psychotherapist can offer.

Spanish in New York

Spanish in New York: Language contact, dialectal leveling, and structural continuity. By Ricardo Otheguy and Ana Celia Zentella. (Oxford studies in sociolinguistics.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. xix, 299. ISBN 9780199737406. $35.

Reviewed by Natalie Operstein, California State University Fullerton

This book is a study in urban sociolinguistics, focusing on the evolving Spanish of Latino New Yorkers. Based on Spanish-language interviews with 140 consultants from six countries (namely, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, and Mexico), the authors employ the methods of quantitative sociolinguistics to investigate the variable realization of subject personal pronouns with finite verbs (e.g. yo canto versus canto ‘I sing’). They use information about the rate of use of these pronouns to draw conclusions about the extent of continuity between Latin American and New York City Spanish, as well as the extent to which Spanish in New York is being transformed under the influence of dialect leveling and contact with English.

The authors find that of the two types of contact phenomena, contact with English has a greater and more uniform impact on Spanish in New York than interdialectal contact. The overall direction of change is toward the rise in pronominal rates for all the groups examined; specifically, the authors note that established immigrants use more subject pronouns than immigrant newcomers; second-generation speakers use more pronouns than first-generation speakers; and, for some subgroups, higher pronoun rates can be linked to higher proficiency in English.

In the case of dialect leveling, the outcome is found to be more selective and dependent on in- versus out-group orientation with respect to the observed regional divisions. On the basis of their pronominal use, the authors identify two such divisions: Caribbeans (consisting of Cubans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans) and Mainlanders (consisting of Mexicans, Colombians, and Ecuadorians). The Caribbean group, characterized by higher pronominal use, is homogeneous in its pronoun rates across all demographic strata, while Mainlanders are found to be internally differentiated according to gender, education, class, and socio-economic status.

A major theme stressed throughout the book is that of a balance between continuity with Latin American linguistic patterns and change due to language and dialect contact. The authors expressly contradict the claim that the simplification frequently observed in the grammar of second-generation Spanish speakers, including higher subject pronoun rates, is due to incomplete acquisition. Instead, they take the alternative view that simplification in bilingual lects is internal to the system and represents a systematically coherent grammar. The authors briefly discuss a connection between the simplification patterns observed in the data and previous episodes of simplification in the history of Spanish, making their study relevant for diachronic Spanish linguistics.

The book’s major research themes are spread over its ten chapters, and detailed descriptions of the experimental procedures are interspersed with theoretical discussions. The book is enhanced by two appendixes, which provide the questionnaire and coding manual used in the study. Although technically sophisticated, the book is written accessibly and provides details that are relevant to the study of Spanish in New York and also to theoretical questions related to language contact, dialect leveling, and linguistic variation. The book will be of particular interest to sociolinguists, dialectologists, and those interested in bilingualism, urban linguistics, and the history of Spanish.

Expressing opinions in French and Australian English discourse

Expressing opinions in French and Australian English discourse: A semantic and interactional analysis. By Kerry Mullan. (Pragmatics and beyond new series 200.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010. Pp. xvii, 282. ISBN 9789027256041. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by James Murphy, University of Manchester

In this adaptation of her 2007 doctoral thesis, Mullan provides a thorough account of how native French and Australian English (AE) speakers express their opinions. To do this, M analyzes a ten-hour corpus of spoken dyadic interaction of native French and AE speakers, and does so using a variety of complementary approaches, including interactional sociolinguistics, politeness theory, and conversation analysis.

The first two chapters are introductory in nature, exploring the aims of the study and the methodology employed. M also outlines how the data was collected (i.e. how native speakers of the two languages were selected, but how age/gender/social class was not controlled for in these selections). The transcription methods are also outlined here. Ch. 3 discusses the theory behind the study and starts with a discussion of French and AE interactional style and is based on the reflections and comments made by her informants as well as previous research on cultural scripts. M then explores how ‘I think’ and its three French equivalents ‘je pense’, ‘je crois’, and ‘je trouve’ can be thought of as discourse markers and are on the way to being grammaticalized.

Ch. 4 explores the function of ‘I think’ in AE (and English more generally). M discusses previous studies into hedging in English and explores cultural scripts involving ‘I think’. M then turns to occurrences found in her corpus and outlines where ‘I think’ is positioned within turns and intonation units. A detailed discussion of the functions of ‘I think’ in all possible discourse positions then follows with the phrase found to have either organizational, primarily semantic, or primarily pragmatic roles. ‘I think’ is found to be more common than the three French expressions combined in the corpus and is predominantly used to organize discourse (e.g. to initiate a topic, to signal turn completion, or to mark a contrast with a previous turn).

Ch. 5 essentially reviews the previous literature on ‘je pense’, ‘je crois’, and ‘je trouve’, and provides the reader with the relevant background knowledge on these expressions. Chs. 6–8 are structured in the same way as Ch. 4, with M providing the analysis for the occurrences of the French expressions found in her corpus. In Ch. 6, M finds that ‘je pense’ functions not only as an organizational device but also as a semantic marker of expressing personal opinion. In Ch. 7, ‘je crois’ is found to function in a similar way to AE ‘I think’ and Ch. 8 discusses how ‘je trouve’ has mainly held on to the function of expressing speaker opinion. Ch. 9 summarizes the major findings in the study and makes suggestions for further work, including an intercultural study along the same lines as this one.

Not only will teachers/learners of French find this monograph useful but so, too, will those with interests in intercultural communication, politeness theory, and interactional sociolinguistics more broadly. It is an extremely thorough study and the multidisciplinary methodology is to be commended.

Research methods in second language acquisition

Research methods in second language acquisition: A practical guide. Ed. By Alison Mackey and Susan M. Gass. (Guides to research methods in language and linguistics.) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. Pp. 336. ISBN 9781444334272. $44.95.

 Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Middle East Technical University

Intended as a guide and resource book for students planning to design their own research projects, this book is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on data types, such as corpora and surveys. The second focuses on data coding, analysis, and replication, which is discussed in relation to coding, statistical analyses, and meta-analyses.

In the first chapter, the editors briefly introduce the aim of the book and describe how each chapter contributes to the overall theme. Ch. 2 discusses how learner corpus research has evolved since the late 1980s and deals with how learner corpora can be collected, analyzed, and interpreted. In Ch. 3, data collection methods used in generative second language acquisition are introduced, highlighting that the method chosen is determined by several factors, such as the linguistic phenomena and populations. Ch. 4 provides a discussion on how research methods such as experimental studies and action research can be utilized to investigate the issues that have emerged within the field of instructed second acquisition.

Ch. 5 introduces survey studies, explaining each step involved in designing a survey, analyzing data, and reporting the results. In Ch. 6, case study research is discussed, starting with a historical perspective, followed by an explanation of how a case study can be conducted. The authors of Ch. 7 focus on how to use psycholinguistic methodologies involving tasks, such as picture-word interference and sentence preamble, can be implemented to inquire into how people can comprehend and produce language. Ch. 8 considers second language writing and elaborates on how an analysis of the writing process can be achieved. Ch. 9 examines second language reading, dealing with issues such as methodological foundations and dual-language impacts on reading development.

In Ch. 10, qualitative research is discussed, highlighting its pivotal characteristics in research traditions, such as ethnography and conversation analysis. Ch. 11 addresses coding procedures of second language studies validly and reliably. Ch. 12 deals with coding qualitative data through computer-assisted data analysis software such as CAQDAS, ATLAS.ti, and HyperRESEARCH. The author of Ch. 13 discusses how to conduct the basic and most frequently used inferential statistical tests such as t-tests, analysis of variance, and chi-square and Pearson correlation tests. In Ch. 14, the authors look at the key steps of conducting a meta-analysis, a statistical method used to determine the mean and the variance of various studies conducted on a specific issue or topic. In the final chapter, Ch. 15, replication studies are discussed, with a focus on how to conduct a replication study.

Overall, the editors and the authors of the chapters have provided students and teachers in the field of second language acquisition with a handy book on various aspects of data types, coding, and analysis in research methodology. The study boxes providing summaries of exemplary studies on the topic discussed within each chapter, the study questions available at the end of each chapter, and the practical step-by-step guide offered throughout, will help readers to increase their knowledge as they design their own research projects.


Journalism and the political

Journalism and the political: Discursive tensions in news coverage of Russia. By Felicitas Macgilchrist. (Discourse approaches to politics, society and culture 40.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011, Pp. xiv, 248. ISBN 9789027206312. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by Josep Soler-Carbonell, University of Oxford

Three keywords that can be proposed to define this work are discourse, journalism, and politics, to which can be added Russia and foreign news, in order to achieve a more contextualized perspective. The book’s aim is to look at how journalism constitutes, affects, and is affected by the political, suggesting a new and more radical relationship (i.e. transformative) between journalism, discourse, and power. The book contains a preface at its beginning, and a thematic index can be found at the end of the book. Notes are introduced in the form of footnotes within each chapter.

The book is organized into three main parts. Preceding these parts is an introduction describing the scope of the book, its objectives, and the theoretical background that shapes its analysis, departing from and building on critical discourse analysis, post-foundational political theory, and journalism studies. Here, the author also discusses her methodology and research strategy, which is a qualitative analysis.

Part 1 of the book is comprised of Chs. 2–5. In it, the author offers an analysis of several events of importance involving Russia and its discursive construction from abroad. This includes issues of civil society, human rights, democracy, and non-governmental organization legislation (Ch. 2); Gazprom and the Russia-Ukraine conflict (Ch. 3); the death of former spy Alexander Litvinenko (Ch. 4); and, in Ch. 5, the Russian-Chechnya conflict, from Budennovsk (1995) to Beslan (2004). Part 2 (Chs. 6–8) sets out to explore in more detail the events presented in previous chapters from a journalistic point of view: ‘Responsibility management’ (Ch. 6), ‘Balance and binaries’ (Ch. 7), and ‘Complexity reduction’ (Ch. 8).

Finally, Part 3 (Chs. 9 and 10) provides the conclusion of the book. Particularly relevant is Ch. 9 (‘“Positive” discourse analysis’), which offers an analysis of the results and key points elucidated in previous chapters. Moreover, an analysis of the events presented in the book is combined with fieldwork conducted by the author between 2005 and 2008: open interviews with nine correspondents based in Moscow; shorter interviews and discussions with reporters and editors in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany; and further correspondence with some of these informants.

Overall, the book makes a positive contribution to the field of critical discourse analysis, offering well-conducted and well-illustrated analyses of relevant events from Russia and their treatment by and from foreign newspapers and journalists. It is, therefore, a recommended book for courses in the upper-undergraduate divisions or postgraduate studies dealing with (critical) discourse analysis, journalism and media studies, cultural and social anthropology, political science, and international relations, particularly in those institutions and research centers with a strong core of Slavonic and East European Studies.

Salience and defaults in utterance processing

Salience and defaults in utterance processing. Ed. by Kasia M. Jaszczolt and Keith Allan. (Mouton series in pragmatics 12.) Munich: De Gruyter Mouton, 2011. Pp. vii, 231. ISBN 9783110270587. $140 (Hb).

Reviewed by Zhen-qiang Fan, Zhejiang Gongshang University

This book contains papers presented at the International Pragmatics Association conference held in Melbourne, July 2009, with three additional articles contributed specifically for this collection. The book brings groundbreaking research concerning the debate about the conscious vs. automatic processing of available contextual information and the controversy regarding the distinction between literal and nonliteral meaning, specifically focusing on the notions of salience and defaults. The collection begins with the editors’ introduction (Ch.1), which provides background information and a snapshot of the following chapters.

 In Ch. 2, Kasia M. Jaszczolt reinterprets her framework of default semantics which defines defaults as salient, frequent, and automatic meanings ascribed to the speaker in context. This model is compatible with Rachel Giora’s graded salience hypothesis (GSH). This topic is elaborated in Ch. 3, where Orna Peleg and Rachel Giora offer empirical evidence from their lab supporting the claim of GSH that salient meanings of ambiguous words are accessed automatically regardless of contextual information to the contrary. More generally, both lexical and contextual mechanisms are involved in utterance comprehension and run parallel without interacting initially.

 In Ch. 4, based on a bilingual corpus, Eleni Kapogianni applies the GSH to explaining the effects of two salience-involving mechanisms for irony production and interpretation: salient meanings are in a contrastive relationship with a less salient but literal meaning or contextually biased meaning on the one hand, or with the current context on the other. In Ch. 5, Istvan Kecskes introduces salience in a sociocognitive framework (SCA). The difference between GSH and SCA is that the former is hearer-centered and focuses on lexical processing, while the latter emphasizes both production and comprehension and is more dynamic than the former.

 Drawing on a corpus of spoken English, Alyson Pitts in Ch. 6 addresses the issue of salience and enrichment in the expression of negation, aiming at better understanding the behavior and effects of negation in spontaneous discourse. In Ch. 7, Morton Ann Gernsbacher presents six psycholinguistic experiments revealing how the literal meaning of an acronym interacts with the conceptual meaning (e.g. the literal meaning of the acronym CD is disc and its conceptual meaning is music). She discovers that, when acronyms are processed as letter strings, their literal meaning is more salient, but when processed as lexical units, their conceptual associates can be accessed but less quickly than their literal components.

 In Ch. 8, Keith Allan argues that a lexicon entry ‘should be monosemic’ and ‘the different aspects of its meaning should be included together with an account of the probability and contextual conditions under which each aspect of the meaning is the preferred interpretation’ (165). Finally, in Ch. 9, Michael Haugh explores whether the exclusive meaning of the disjunction or is triggered lexically or by the discourse context. Treating the exclusive meaning as a sociopragmatic/discursive default, he demonstrates that ‘[r]ather than existing at a decontextualized, lexical level, defaults are better characterized as arising relative to (minimal) contexts and speakers’ (217).