Monthly Archives: February 2013

A student grammar of Turkish

A student grammar of Turkish. By F. Nihan Ketrez. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 334. ISBN 9780521149648. $36.99.

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, University of Nizwa

Learners of Turkish have traditionally had little choice on the market when seeking a comprehensive, modern pedagogic, descriptive grammar written in English. While speakers of German have been better served with a wider variety of autodidactic materials for Turkish as a foreign language, for English speakers publications have typically focused on the absolute beginner level and Turkish for tourists. In this book, the author combines sound linguistic knowledge with extensive pedagogic experience to provide pre-intermediate- to intermediate-level learners with clear descriptions of form with practice exercises (the key is provided in an appendix).

The book consists of forty short chapters. Beginning with Turkish phonology (accompanying audio files would be an asset here), several chapters covering features of the noun phrase follow. These are followed by topics at the level of the complex clause, such as conditionals, relative clauses, and coordination. The book finishes with an assortment of topics such as punctuation and common idiomatic expressions. The final chapter, ‘Conversation’, would arguably be better termed ‘Greetings and terms of address’. Several verb conjugation charts appear in the appendices.

The reviewer has only a few queries and suggestions. The first concerns the order of topics. Negation and interrogative forms, for example, two topics a learner would usually wish to consult while studying the noun and verb phrase, occur late in the book, after topics covering the complex clause. The second query concerns the focus on grammar at the phrase and clause level. The learner would find it pedagogically very beneficial to have a short reading text at the end of each chapter, which contains features discussed in the chapter and which also serves as a listening exercise. Modern didactic materials are often accompanied by audio files accessible on the publishing company’s website. Considering the prestigious nature of this publishing company, it would not be unreasonable to expect additional online material. Perhaps these suggestions will be considered when preparations for a second edition are undertaken.

A final consideration also concerns the absence of text grammar. A final chapter on how to write a basic email message or letter would be most useful, and would be a step toward preparing students to use the linguistic input they receive. It would be quite conceivable to include a set of stock phrases used to, for instance, apply for a job, request information, or, on a more personal note, send friendly greetings to an acquaintance, and demonstrate how they may be used in an email or formal letter. Ending the book on this note could feasibly bring together much of the grammar discussed in previous chapters for a realistic communicative purpose.

Despite the aforementioned points, the reviewer does not by any means question the value of this book. It is and remains a most welcome addition to the still small selection of books available to promote the learning of Turkish, and it will doubtlessly be received appreciatively by university students and autodidactic learners.

El bilingüismo en el mundo hispanohablante

El bilingüismo en el mundo hispanohablante. By Silvina Montrul. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Pp. 352. ISBN 9780470657218. $49.95.

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, University of Nizwa

Silvina Montrul’s textbook on bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world will be welcomed by instructors in Spanish programs. This is likely to be particularly true in the English-speaking world, where numerous texts on particular aspects of bilingualism can be found in English, but where it may be difficult to find a text suitable at the undergraduate level that is written in the target language and deals with bilingualism from the perspective of target-language communities in the Americas and Spain.

This text encompasses a wide variety of issues related to bilingualism at an individual, community, and regional or national level, and can be used in courses on language acquisition, sociolinguistics, or language planning. The approach encourages a critical appreciation of the complexities of the concept of individual and societal bilingualism. The author succeeds in making accessible a wealth of research that may otherwise be inaccessible to students at the undergraduate level due to its, at times, highly specialized nature.

The text comprises thirteen chapters divided into three main sections: bilingualism and society, individual bilingualism, and educational policies. The introductory chapter provides an overview of the theoretical conceptualization of bilingualism, providing an appreciation of the multifarious ways in which the phenomenon may be defined.

In the first section, the author discusses bilingualism in Spain and Latin America, focusing on both marginalized Amerindian languages and the English-Spanish bilingualism of some elite social sectors in the Southern Cone. This overview underscores how socio-political factors governing the status of each language affects the relative levels of proficiency attained in the speaker population. The second section considers three aspects of bilingual language development: psycholinguistic adult bilingualism, the development of child bilingualism, and second-language learning at or after puberty. The most interesting chapter in this section is perhaps that on first-language attrition, a topic less commonly dealt with in the literature. The author draws on her own considerable research on language use by Spanish heritage language speakers in the United States. As one of the most renowned scholars in this particular field, the author provides an immensely valuable overview of research on a topic that has far-reaching social repercussions in many parts of the United States.

The final section discusses second-language educational policies, thus providing the socio-educational context for the societal and individual bilingualism described in the previous sections. The author begins by outlining approaches to and theories behind bilingual education and then discusses bilingual educational policies in Spain, the United States, and Latin America.

Each chapter is replete with graphs, diagrams, and excerpts from personal testimonies concerning bilingualism in the lives of individuals, which facilitate the comprehension of issues presented in the text and provide additional material for discussion. Each chapter ends with a list of key terms, comprehension questions, and follow-up questions to encourage the application and analysis of themes. Some general knowledge of linguistic concepts is required, particularly for the chapters on code-switching; however, such fairly basic grammatical concepts are usually introduced in undergraduate language courses. The book is written in an accessible style and is equally suited both for self-study and for use as a course textbook.

The history of English spelling

The history of English spelling. By Christopher Upward and George Davidson. (The language library.) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. Pp. 392. ISBN 9781405190237. $34.95.

Reviewed by Natalie Operstein, California State University Fullerton

As stated in the book’s introduction, in the opinion of the American linguist Mario Pei, English spelling is ‘the world’s most awesome mess’. This view is seconded by the Austrian linguist Mario Wandruszka, who describes English orthography as ‘an insult to human intelligence’. On the other hand, Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle claim that ‘English orthography turns out to be rather close to an optimal system for spelling English’. Which of these opposing views will stand up under closer scrutiny of modern English spelling?

This question is at the heart of this book, which presents current English orthography as a systematic result of the historical evolution of English, both linguistic and sociopolitical. In its nine chapters, the book traces the development of the sound and spelling systems from Old to Modern English, paying particular attention to language-internal developments such as the Great Vowel Shift, scribal innovations, the impact of the printing press, and borrowings from Old Norse, French, Latin, Greek, and other languages that have contributed to the vocabulary and orthographic conventions of English.

Ch. 1, ‘Introduction and overview’, provides an outline of the entire book, emphasizing both its aims and its limitations. Ch. 2, ‘England and English from the Romans to the Vikings’, examines the use of writing in pre-Norman Britain, from the runic to the Roman alphabets; offers the first look at the spelling system of Old English; and outlines the Scandinavian influence on English vocabulary and spelling. Ch. 3, ‘The Old English roots of Modern English spelling’, analyzes Old English spelling in greater detail, focusing on the variants that are particularly relevant for the evolution of Modern English. In this and subsequent chapters with similar structure, the presentation is arranged letter-by-letter with subheadings, e.g. ‘short A’ (under ‘A’) or ‘palatalized G leading to ModE DG’ (under ‘G’).

Ch. 4, ‘The decline and revival of English in the Middle English period’, discusses the linguistic consequences of the Norman Conquest, including the division of labor between English and French in the period immediately after the conquest and the revival of English from the mid-thirteenth century onwards. Particular attention is given to the standardization of orthography during this period, and to the impact of the London-based standards and the introduction of printing on the codification of English spelling. Ch. 5, ‘The Franco-Latin element’, examines borrowings from French and Latin and their consequences for English orthography. The forms under discussion are arranged alphabetically, and particular attention is given to doublets or larger sets of words, like hospital/hostel/hotel, that have different shapes in English due to having entered the language at different times. Ch. 6, ‘Some sound and spelling developments in Middle and Modern English’, examines the period’s core sound changes and spelling innovations that are responsible for many of the current mismatches between spelling and pronunciation.

Finally, Ch. 7, ‘The Greek contribution’, and Ch. 8, ‘The exotic input’, examine the contributions of Greek and other languages, and Ch. 9, ‘Reformers, lexicographers and the parting of the ways’, discusses various attempts at spelling reform and highlights the influence on current English orthography of Samuel Johnson and Noah Webster.

Computer-assisted language learning

Computer-assisted language learning: Diversity in research and practice. Ed. By Glenn Stockwell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 228. ISBN 9781107016347. $99 (Hb).

Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Kocaeli University

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is included in many language-related programs around the world and has received much attention over the past thirty years. Technology changes dramatically, and so do students, teachers, and institutions. Thus, diversity has become a crucial aspect of any learning and teaching context. This book includes ten chapters that discuss several issues regarding diversity in CALL at various levels from both descriptive and practical points of view.

The book opens with an introduction that focuses on several key issues in the field of CALL, including the theme of diversity, theory in CALL research and practice, and CALL and learner autonomy. Ch. 2, ‘Diversity in learner training’, examines students’ use of and experience with CALL materials and the ways that they use these materials in order to provide suitable training, encouraging them to be more effective users of CALL in various contexts. Ch. 3, ‘Diversity in learner training’, touches upon training for CALL and how diversity affects both the training process and the individuals and groups being trained. This chapter also looks at a three-part training model, involving technical, strategic, and pedagogical training. Ch. 4, ‘Diversity in learner support’, investigates individual support, an important element of CALL training, and how it contributes to learner development and autonomy.

In Ch. 5, ‘Diversity in environments’, different types of contexts in which CALL is applied are discussed from both technical and pedagogical perspectives, focusing on several modes of delivery, such as face-to-face, blended, and distance-learning environments. Ch. 6, ‘Diversity in content’, discusses and analyzes how open educational resources and open-source software tools can be utilized to provide a more effective way of English language teaching. The technologies discussed in this chapter range from Web 2.0 technologies to open-source software such as Moodle. In Ch. 7, ‘Diversity in modalities’, the issue of modality and the way that different modes can be utilized in learning are analyzed and discussed in consideration of current technology that allows for a variety of modes of communication. Ch. 8, ‘Diversity in technologies’, analyzes technology available today, ranging from multi-server technologies to mobile technologies, providing examples of the benefit of these technologies. Ch. 9, ‘Diversity in research and practice’, provides an overview of research and practice in CALL and discusses the role of technology in both. Furthermore, this chapter examines research published between 2001 and 2010, revealing the evolution of the field of CALL. Ch. 10, ‘Conclusion’, proposes three levels of diversity in CALL (i.e. individual, institutional, and societal) and discusses diversity at each level, focusing on the features and differences.

The chapters in this book reveal that it is a well-structured research- and practice-oriented book for researchers and practitioners interested in diverse approaches to CALL at individual, institutional, and societal levels. Readers will especially benefit from the discussion of diversity in various contexts, the potential advantages and limitations, and an overview of the current research.

Writing essays in English language and linguistics

Writing essays in English language and linguistics: Principles, tips and strategies for undergraduates. By Neil Murray. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 248. ISBN 9780521128469. $27.99.

Reviewed by Ferit Kılıçkaya, Kocaeli University

Writing is one of the most challenging skills in language learning and teaching. It requires not only a well-grounded knowledge of the target language but also a particular set of conventions and styles. This book, divided into two parts, includes ten chapters and aims to provide students enrolled in language and linguistics departments with a quick but efficient guide for writing essays.

The first part, entitled ‘The basics’, begins with a chapter that touches upon several points, including different writing styles, originality, and length. In Ch. 2, the author presents the most important elements of writing. This chapter describes how a paragraph can be constructed to better represent and convey ideas, and punctuation is discussed in detail, with clear examples to illustrate usage, which will be of great help to students.

The second part, entitled ‘Getting down to writing’, starts with Ch. 3, which deals with ways that a student can approach assignment questions and provides clear examples to describe different types of writing, such as defining, describing, and arguing. In Ch. 4, the author presents the key stages of writing a good essay: information-gathering, note-taking, planning, drafting, checking, and revising. Ch. 5 discusses how to write a good introduction, addressing the development of a thesis statement, length, and paragraphing. In Ch. 6, the author reviews some formatting essentials, including headings and line spacing.

Ch. 7 discusses how to construct summaries and conclusions and also how they differ, providing clear tips and examples. Ch. 8 is devoted to referencing and quotations. This chapter explains how plagiarism can be avoided, what is required to paraphrase, and how to cite sources in an essay according to different conventions. In Ch. 9, the author deals with stylistic issues and aims to provide clear answers to several questions that arise while writing, such as the use of first-person singular, humor, and formatting. Ch. 10 provides tips, examples, and key points to students who will write small-scale research projects and dissertations. Moreover, this chapter provides a quick review of quantitative approaches (e.g. survey research and experiments), qualitative approaches (e.g. case studies and ethnographies), and mixed-method approaches

A section entitled ‘Frequently asked questions’ provides answers to some commonly asked questions about essays. These answers are organized according to the several themes, such as developing one’s voice and citing sources. The glossary provided toward the end of the book presents definitions of some of the terms frequently referred to in language and linguistics studies.

Overall, the author provides an invaluable resource not only for undergraduate but also graduate students enrolled in language and linguistics departments. With clear examples and advice on various issues linked to writing, ranging from how to write an introduction to citing and referencing, the book will undoubtedly aid students in improving their writing. The book can also serve as a quick reference book for revisiting some of the issues that might emerge while writing essays.

Learning-to-write and writing-to-learn in an additional language

Learning-to-write and writing-to-learn in an additional language. Ed. by Rosa M. Manchón. (Language learning and language teaching 31.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011. Pp. xii, 263. ISBN 9789027213044. $54.

Reviewed by Beril T. Arik, Purdue University

This book successfully explores the interaction between learning and writing from the perspective of three main areas of inquiry in second-language writing (SLW): learning-to-write (LW), writing-to-learn content (WLC), and writing-to-learn language (WLL). The book consists of a preface by Alister Cumming, an introductory chapter by Rosa M. Manchón, nine chapters, and a concluding chapter by Lourdes Ortega. Manchón’s introductory chapter situates the book, which attempts to further our understanding of LW, WLC, and WLL, and their interaction, in second-language acquisition (SLA) and SLW literature.

Part 1 consists of three chapters presenting the theoretical foundations of and the research base in the LW, WLC, and WLL perspectives, respectively. In Ch. 2, Ken Hyland reviews the main strands of research on LW in university settings, their theoretical underpinnings, and pedagogical applications, by categorizing them according to their main foci: writers, texts, and readers. Similarly, in Ch. 3, Alan Hirvela surveys the empirical research and the pedagogical perspectives derived from these studies in WLC and calls for more research in this promising area. In Ch. 4, Rosa M. Manchón gives an overview of SLA research that investigates what writing can afford for language learning.

Part 2 focuses on empirical studies exploring how learning and writing interact in specific contexts. Ilona Leki’s chapter, ‘Learning to write in a second language: Multilingual graduates and undergraduates expanding genre repertoires’, investigates the interaction between LW and WLL from a multilingual perspective. Similarly, Suresh Canagarajah’s case study, ‘Writing to learn and learning to write by shuttling between languages’, emphasizes agency and a multilingual approach and claims that learning-to-write and writing-to-learn are inextricably intertwined. In ‘Beyond writing as language learning or content learning: Construing foreign language writing as meaning-making’, Heidi Byrnes explores how language and content learning can inform each other in a foreign language context. In Ch. 8, Fiona Hyland investigates the interactions between form-focused feedback and agency by focusing on student and teacher perceptions in an English as a foreign language (EFL) context. A chapter by Rosa M. Manchón and Julio Roca de Larios focuses on WLL and examines the development of the writers and their perceptions in an EFL university context in Spain. John Hedgcock and Natalie Lefkowitz illustrate how LW and WLL can come into contact in a detrimental way for learning in ‘Exploring the learning potential of writing development in heritage language education’.

Finally, Ortega summarizes the main themes of the book and draws attention to the interconnectedness between the three perspectives explored: LW, WLL and WLC. Overall, the chapters highlight the importance of investigating the interactions between various contexts and agency for multilingual writers, as well as illustrate how writing-to-learn and learning-to-write can facilitate or hinder each other. This book makes a great contribution to both the SLW and SLA fields by giving an overview of relevant research at the intersection of writing and language learning, encouraging a fruitful conversation between SLA and SLW research, and opening new avenues for future research to explore the interactions among LW, WLC, and WLL.

Emergent literacy

Emergent literacy: Children’s books from 0 to 3. Ed. by Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer. (Studies in written language and literacy 13.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2011. Pp. vi, 275. ISBN 9789027218087. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by Colette van Kerckvoorde, Bard College at Simon’s Rock

It is generally accepted that children’s books have a significant impact on the development of a child’s literacy, and many studies have confirmed this, especially for children between the ages of four and six years. Nevertheless, literature and studies that deal exclusively with children up to three years old are virtually non-existent. This work aims to address this by specifically discussing research on early literacy and children’s books for readers under the age of three.

The first chapter, by the editor, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, serves as a general introduction. She cites reasons why the scholarly study of emergent literacy has been neglected and convincingly argues that it is possible to investigate how language acquisition, cognitive development, and emergent literacy can be stimulated at a very young age by children’s books. Such research has been made possible by new techniques for studying what infants and toddlers know and also by advances in language acquisition research since the mid-1980s. Kümmerling-Meibauer suggests that a multimodal approach is best suited for research in emergent literacy. When confronted with a book, children develop visual literacy and learn the rules of ‘book behavior’, they enlarge their lexicon and their syntactic and pragmatic knowledge, and they develop a sense of metalinguistic awareness through rhymes and short, rhythmic verses. Finally, she turns to the various kinds of books available to the youngest readers and indicates a lack of consensus for classifying these books. However, she describes the general characteristics of these books and emphasizes that they, in spite of the frequent lack of written text, prepare children to understand progressive narratives at about three years of age.

This work contains revised versions of fourteen papers presented at a 2009 conference at the Picturebook Museum, Burg Wissen, in Troisdorf, Germany. All contributions are written by scholars and professionals from various backgrounds, demonstrating that a multidisciplinary approach is especially suited for the study of emergent literacy. The fourteen articles are organized into three parts: the first part deals with the premises of early literacy. Especially interesting is Annette Werner’s contribution entitled ‘Color perception in infants and young children’ in which the author describes the development of color vision in young children and the implications for the choice of colors in picture books. The second part examines several categories of children’s books that are available for this age group and highlights how and why each category contributes to the development of literacy. In the third part, we find several case studies. One of these papers, Virginia Lowe’s ‘Don’t tell me about it—just read it to me!’ is an account of the author’s approach to introducing her own children to books. Another interesting contribution deals with two girls’ bilingual language development and their relationship to books.

This work is a lively and interesting introduction to the topic of books for young children and their role in the development of literacy. This book is well written, and its contributions are accessible to novices in the field. I recommend this book to authors and publishers of children’s books and to those interested in developmental psychology.

The handbook of hispanic linguistics

The handbook of hispanic linguistics. Ed. by José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, and Erin O’Rourke. (Blackwell handbooks in linguistics.) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Pp. 898. ISBN 9781405198820. $199.95 (Hb).

Reviewed by Natalie Operstein, California State University Fullerton

As stated in the editors’ note, this handbook aims ‘to present the state of the art of research in all aspects of the Spanish language’ (xxi). It consists of forty chapters, partially grouped in thematically-related clusters.

Spanish sound structure is covered in ‘The phonemes of Spanish’ (Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza), ‘Main phonological processes’ (Fernando Martínez-Gil), ‘Syllable structure’ (Sonia Colina), ‘Stress and rhythm’ (José Ignacio Hualde), and ‘Intonation in Spanish’ (Erin O’Rourke). Spanish word structure is discussed in ‘Derivation and compounding’ (Soledad Varela) and ‘Morphological structure of verbal forms’ (Manuel Pérez Saldanya).

Syntactic topics are addressed in ‘Structure of the noun phrase’ (M. Carme Picallo), ‘The simple sentence’ (Héctor Campos), ‘Coordination and subordination’ (Ricardo Etxepare), ‘Wh-movement: Interrogatives, exclamatives, and relatives’ (Jerid Francom), ‘Binding: Deixis, anaphors, pronominals’ (Luis Eguren), ‘Empty categories and ellipsis’ (Josep María Brucart and Jonathan E. Macdonald), and ‘Word order and information structure’ (Antxon Olarrea).

Semantics and pragmatics are emphasized in  ‘Quantification’ (Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach) and ‘Speech acts’ (Victoria Escandell-Vidal), while the following chapters cover interfaces among the various linguistic modules: ‘Morphophonological alternations’ (David Eddington), ‘Structure of the verb phrase’ (Jaume Mateu), ‘Indefiniteness and specificity’ (Manuel Leonetti), ‘Tense and aspect’ (Karen Zagona), ‘Mood: Indicative vs. subjunctive’ (Ignacio Bosque), and ‘Discourse syntax’ (Catherine E. Travis and Rena Torres Cacoullos).

Another group of chapters discusses topics related to language acquisition: ‘First language acquisition of Spanish sounds and prosody’ (Conxita Lleó), ‘The L2 acquisition of Spanish phonetics and phonology’ (Miquel Simonet), ‘Theoretical perspectives on the L2 acquisition of Spanish’ (Silvina Montrul), ‘Acquisition of Spanish in bilingual contexts’ (Carmen Silva-Corvalán), ‘Spanish as a heritage language’ (María M. Carreira), ‘Spanish as a second language and teaching methodologies’ (Cristina Sanz), ‘Reading words and sentences in Spanish’ (Manuel Carreiras, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and Nicola Molinaro), ‘Lexical access in Spanish as a first and second language’ (Albert Costa, Iva Ivanova, Cristina Baus, and Nuria Sebastián-Gallés), and ‘Language impairments’ (José Manuel Igoa).

Several chapters are devoted to topics of particular theoretical interest to Spanish linguistics: ‘Ser and Estar: The individual/stage-level distinction and aspectual predication’ (José Camacho), ‘Clitics in Spanish’ (Francisco Ordóñez), ‘Passives and se constructions’ (Amaya Mendikoetxea), and ‘Forms of address’ (Bob de Jonge and Dorien Nieuwenhuijsen). Diachronic linguistics is the primary focus of ‘Spanish among the Ibero-Romance languages’ (Christopher J. Pountain) and ‘Historical morphosyntax and grammaticalization’ (Concepción Company Company). ‘Spanish in contact with Amerindian languages’ (Anna María Escobar) and ‘The Spanish-based creoles’ (J. Clancy Clements) focus on language-contact phenomena, and ‘Geographical and social varieties of Spanish: An overview’ (John M. Lipski), on dialectal variation.

Most chapters in this book combine descriptive outlines with theoretical analyses, although the presentation varies with the author, some preferring the bottom-up approach, from Spanish-language data to general linguistic theory, and others opting to exemplify theoretical models with Spanish-language data. The treatment in each chapter is selective, focusing on issues that are either central to, or particularly relevant for current theoretical concerns in, the relevant field. The book is geared toward the currently most researched topics in Spanish linguistics, and it will be of interest to students and researchers seeking critical state-of-the-art overviews of some of the most important current issues in the field.

El español a través de la lingüística

El español a través de la lingüística: Preguntas y respuestas. Ed. by Jennifer D. Ewald and Anne Edstrom. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, 2008. ISBN 9781574730272. Pp. viii, 280.  $38.95.

Reviewed by Keith E. Johnson, California State University

This collection of twenty-four short chapters on Spanish linguistics is a well thought out contribution to the study of introductory Hispanic linguistics. Indeed, the title of the book could easily have been La lingüística a través del español, as the text serves two complementary functions: it addresses concerns and questions language learners often have and simultaneously introduces learners to numerous areas of linguistic analysis.

Each chapter deals with a subfield of applied linguistics in a way that speaks to language learners’ own experiences learning Spanish. This connection is deftly made in the titles of each chapter, which take the form of a question that a student with little or no prior training in linguistics might ask, often reflecting commonly held beliefs and linguistic myths. For example the first chapter, by Anne Edstrom and María José García Vizcaíno (1–13), which defines the field of linguistics, is entitled ‘They tell me I have to take a Linguistics class. That’s about grammar and conversation, isn’t it?’ (Chapter titles are in Spanish; all translations are mine.) Another example is Ana Oskoz’s chapter on pedagogy and learner errors entitled ‘I believe my Spanish professor should correct all the mistakes I make when I speak. It’s her responsibility, isn’t it?’ (242–51). It is through these introductory questions that chapter authors demonstrate that the commonest learner queries can have broad linguistic implications.

Other linguistic subfields treated in the book include phonetics, in Shaw Gynan’s chapter entitled ‘Spanish speakers speak like they’re in a hurry: Why does Spanish sound faster than English?’ (14–25). Dialectology is touched upon in Edwin M. Lamboy’s ‘I have a hard time understanding my Caribbean friends’ Spanish. Why is that?’ (153–65). Pragmatics and politeness are introduced in ‘Spanish speakers interrupt me a lot. Don’t they know that shows a lack of respect?’ by Carmen García (108–20). There are also chapters introducing historical linguistics, language processing, first-langauge acquisition and the critical period hypothesis, language contact, and the difference between native and heritage speakers of Spanish. Each chapter concludes by revisiting its titular question and summarizing the chapter’s efforts to answer it, replete with a bibliography and activities designed to allow students to reflect on the material covered and to put it into practice by analyzing data.

The true innovation of this book is that it can help instructors of Hispanic linguistics bridge two often large gaps in their classes: the gap between abstract academic material and real world experience, and the gap between presentation of linguistic concepts to uninitiated students and the desire to have students read primary literature, which they often find daunting. Individual chapters may be used to complement the course text and lectures, and to prepare students for reading primary sources from the bibliography at the end of each chapter, which in turn can assist students in seeking readings for course projects. No chapter is prerequisite reading for another, so instructors can freely choose the chapters that they wish to use without worrying that the topic of a given chapter might require a great deal of prior introduction.

Projects in linguistics and language studies

Projects in linguistics and language studies: A practical guide to researching language. 3rd edn. By Alison Wray and Aileen Bloomer. London: Hodder Education, 2012. Pp. 336. ISBN 9781444145366  $37.95.

Reviewed by Louisa Buckingham, University of Nizwa

This updated edition of a popular reference book is an eminently useful guide for bachelor’s and master’s students of language and linguistics throughout their studies. While the description of subject areas and the project ideas are geared towards the study of English linguistics in a native-speaker context, the text could feasibly be used for other languages, particularly the later sections dealing with the practical considerations of undertaking research. The book comprises four sections: areas of study in linguistics, techniques for collecting data, tools for data analysis, and presenting research.

The book begins with an introduction to conducting research for a university course consisting of brief paragraph-long overviews of practical issues involved in conceptualizing and undertaking a data-based research project of dissertation length. Part 1 provides an overview of ten fields of research in linguistics, from psycholinguistics to computer-mediated communication. Each chapter in this section begins with a list of the type of questions or concerns that the literature typically engages with, thus serving to orient the student in the subject area. This is followed by a list of reputable journals that publish research related to the respective field and, in some cases, an overview of introductory terms. The main body of each chapter contains a description of the central themes that comprise each field of research, interspersed with lists of project ideas. While many of these could doubtlessly be lifted from the book and undertaken, others serve to stimulate further thinking.

Part 2 is dedicated to the logistics of undertaking research and explains the various methods that may be employed to compile data. This is followed by a section on how data may be analyzed, focusing on transcribing speech, using corpora, and doing basic statistical analyses. Part 4, the final section, looks at the mechanics of presenting one’s research either in written form or orally. The most general in focus, this section is not specific to language majors, but could be used by students of any discipline.

One of this book’s central objectives is to help students arrive at viable topics for small-scale research, and this is certainly achieved. A second goal is to provide the stimulus and support to language majors to undertake empirical studies involving a basic level of statistical analysis. This is achieved in a gentle, unintimidating manner to coax those wary of numerical or statistical data into action.

Seldom are reference works viewed as complete; this book omits translation and interpreting from the subject areas. Inclusion of these topics would have been welcome, as they are often components of undergraduate degree programs in contexts where English is taught as a second language. Further, considering the utility of this book outside the context of the United Kingdom, a greater number of project ideas for world English dialects would be welcome.

While this book serves the immediate needs and interests of bachelor’s or master’s students, its highly practical orientation and user-friendly organization makes it also a useful source of materials and ideas for instructors of introductory research courses.