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In Between East and West/Word and Image Geng Youzhuang, one of China’s leading intellectuals, offers an original and sophisticated analysis of both Western cultural and literary theory and contemporary Chinese thought. In this fascinating exploration of the respective intellectual traditions within China and the West, Geng shows how the dynamics at work between word and image become a parable for understanding the larger relationship between Chinese and Western ideas. Geng first surveys influential Western thinkers and their ideas, with a special focus on the relations between words and things, signs and meanings, image and language. He next explores the conflicted relationship between religion and literature in the West. Finally, Geng turns his focus to China, discussing the meaning and significance of Sinology and the possibilities of treating China as a sign and referent in contemporary Western thinking. Anyone interested in the forces at work within the intermingling of Eastern and Western literature, writing, and the semiotics of culture will find Between East and West/Word and Image compelling.
The Postmonolingual Condition
Monolingualism-the idea that having just one language is the norm is only a recent invention, dating to late-eighteenth-century Europe. Yet it has become a dominant, if overlooked, structuring principle of modernity. According to this monolingual paradigm, individuals are imagined to be able to think and feel properly only in one language, while multiple languages are seen as a threat to the cohesion of individuals and communities, institutions and disciplines. As a result of this view, writing in anything but one's "mother tongue" has come to be seen as an aberration.Beyond the Mother Tongue demonstrates the impact of this monolingual paradigm on literature and culture but also charts incipient moves beyond it. Because newer multilingual forms and practices exist in tension with the paradigm, which alternately obscures, pathologizes, or exoticizes them, this book argues that they can best be understood as "postmonolingual" that is, as marked by the continuing force of monolingualism.Focused on canonical and minority writers working in German in the twentieth century, Beyond the Mother Tongue examines distinct forms of multilingualism, such as writing in one socially unsanctioned "mother tongue" about another language (Franz Kafka); mobilizing words of foreign derivation as part of a multilingual constellation within one language (Theodor W. Adorno); producing an oeuvre in two separate languages simultaneously (Yoko Tawada); writing by literally translating from the "mother tongue" into another language (Emine Sevgi Ozdamar); and mixing different languages, codes, and registers within one text (Feridun Zaimoglu). Through these analyses, Beyond the Mother Tongue suggests that the dimensions of gender, kinship, and affect encoded in the "mother tongue" are crucial to the persistence of monolingualism and the challenge of multilingualism
A study of first and second language development in an indigenous community with implications for broader linguistic and cognitive issues.
perception reality? Editor Melanie Metzger investigates the cultural perceptions by and of deaf people around the world in volume six of the Sociolinguistics series Bilingualism and Identity in Deaf Communities. “All sociocultural groups offer possible solutions to the dilemma that a deaf child presents to the larger group,” write Claire Ramsey and Jose Antonio Noriega in their essay, “Ninos Milagrizados: Language Attitudes, Deaf Education, and Miracle Cures in Mexico.” In this case, Ramsey and Noriega analyze cultural attempts to “unify” deaf children with the rest of the community. Other contributors report similar phenomena in deaf communities in New Zealand, Nicaragua, and Spain, paying particular attention to how society’s view of deaf people affects how deaf people view themselves. A second theme pervasive in this collection, akin to the questions of perception and identity, is the impact of bilingualism in deaf communities. Peter C. Hauser offers a study of an American child proficient in both ASL and Cued English while Annica Detthow analyzes “transliteration” between Spoken Swedish and Swedish Sign Language. Like its predecessors, this sixth volume of the Sociolinguistics series distinguishes itself by the depth and diversity of its research, making it a welcome addition to any scholar’s library.
A major question for linguistic theory concerns how the structure of sentences relates to their meaning. There is broad agreement in the field that there is some regularity in the way that lexical semantics and syntax are related, so that thematic roles (the different participant roles in an event: agent, theme, goal, etc.) are predictably associated with particular syntactic positions. In this book, Neil Myler examines the syntax and semantics of possession sentences, which are infamous for appearing to diverge dramatically from this broadly regular pattern. On the one hand, Myler points out, possession sentences have too many meanings; in any given language, the construction used to express archetypal possessive meanings (such as personal ownership) is also often used to express other apparently unrelated notions (body parts, kinship relations, and many others). On the other hand, possession sentences have too many surface structures; languages differ markedly in the argument structures used to convey the same possessive meanings. Myler argues that recent work on the syntax-semantics interface in the generative tradition has developed the tools needed to solve these puzzles. Examining and synthesizing ideas from the literature and drawing on data from many languages (including some understudied Quechua dialects), Myler presents a novel way to understand the apparent irregularity of possession sentences while preserving explanations of general cross-linguistic regularities, offering a unified approach to the syntax and semantics of possession sentences that can also be integrated into a general theory of argument structure.
Nowhere was the linguistic diversity of the New World more extreme than in California, where an extraordinary variety of village-dwelling peoples spoke seventy-eight mutually unintelligible languages. This comprehensive illustrated handbook, a major synthesis of more than 150 years of documentation and study, reviews what we now know about California’s indigenous languages. Victor Golla outlines the basic structural features of more than two dozen language types, and cites all the major sources, both published and unpublished, for the documentation of these languages—from the earliest vocabularies collected by explorers and missionaries, to the data amassed during the twentieth-century by Alfred Kroeber and his colleagues, and to the extraordinary work of John P. Harrington and C. Hart Merriam. Golla also devotes chapters to the role of language in reconstructing prehistory, and to the intertwining of the language and culture in pre-contact California societies, making this work, the first of its kind, an essential reference on California’s remarkable Indian languages.
Although millions of slaves were forcibly transported from Africa to Brazil, the languages the slaves brought with them remain little known. Most studies have focused on African contributions to Brazilian Portuguese rather than on the African languages themselves. This book is unusual in focusing on an African-descended language. The author describes and analyzes the Afro- Brazilian speech community of Calunga, in Minas Gerais. Linguistically descended from West African Bantu, Calunga is an endangered Afro-Brazilian language spoken by a few hundred older Afro-Brazilian men, who use it only for specific, secret communications. Unlike most creole languages, which are based largely on the vocabulary of the colonial language, Calunga has a large proportion of African vocabulary items embedded in an essentially Portuguese grammar. A hyrid language, its formation can be seen as a form of cultural resistance.
Steven Byrd’s study provides a comprehensive linguistic description of Calunga based on two years of interviews with speakers of the language. He examines its history and historical context as well as its linguistic context, its sociolinguistic profile, and its lexical and grammatical outlines.