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Bilingual Competence and Bilingual Proficiency in Child Development

Norbert Francis

A study of first and second language development in an indigenous community with implications for broader linguistic and cognitive issues.

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Bilingualism and Identity in Deaf Communities

Melanie Metzger, Editor

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.

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The Book of Literary Design

Siu-kit Wong ,Allan Chung-hang Lo ,Kwong-tai Lam

This volume presents a fresh translation of the Wenxin diaolong that is at once authoritative and elegant. It may well be regarded as a standard reference by students of sinology and comparative literature.

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The Boundaries of Babel

The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages

Andrea Moro foreword by Noam Chomsky

The new edition of a pioneering book that examines research at the intersection of contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences.

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Building and Interpreting Possession Sentences

Neil Myler

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.

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California Indian Languages

Victor Golla

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.

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Calunga and the Legacy of an African Language in Brazil

Steven Byrd

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.

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Camfranglais: The Making of a New Language in Cameroonian Literature

This study raises awareness to the emergence of a new genre in world literatureóhybridized literature. It rejects the assumption according to which literatures written in less commonly taught languages should be subsumed into one universally accessible global idiom. Instead, Vakunta challenges literary scholars and readers of literature to regard untranslatability as the key to cross-cultural engagement. The bookís multiple approaches and innumerable sources generate complex interdisciplinary connections and provide an excellent introduction to a complex literary phenomenon alien to literati resident outside the officially bilingual multicultural and multilingual Republic of Cameroon.

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China's English

A History of English in Chinese Education

Bob Adamson

This book traces the history of English education in the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the present day. It uses the junior secondary school curriculum as the means to examine how English curriculum developers and textbook writers have confronted the shifting ambiguities and dilemmas over five distinct historical periods.

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The Christian Hebraism of John Donne

Written with the Fingers of Man's Hand

By Chanita Goodblatt

The complex relationship between the nation, Church of England, and the Jews reached an important culmination during the Reformation as Christian scholars became more and more interested in Hebrew language and the Jewish roots of European civilization. Christian Hebraism’s influence spread as a central focus in theology and politics, spurring the Geneva (1560) and the King James (1611) Bibles in particular. Within this context, Chanita Goodblatt reorients John Donne, one of the most prominent preachers and writers of the time, as a Christian Hebraist and examines the exegetical strategies and language in Donne’s psalms and sermons.

While Donne shows only a basic grasp of the Hebrew language, his sermons reveal the many semantic nuances taken from Latin and vernacular translations of Jewish biblical scholarship. Goodblatt lays out the intellectual context of Donne’s work and ties specific lexical, rhetorical, and thematic strategies to Hebrew traditions. Donne’s work weaves a web of intertextual complexities that highlight the interaction of Christian and Jewish scholarship that influenced the theological and political views of the time period. In addition, Donne’s reinterpretation of the Bible based on Jewish exegesis ultimately adds to an understanding of Christian Hebraism and establishes the Church of England as the inheritor of the Jewish tradition.

This study focuses on Donne’s sermons preached on the Psalms. Organized both generically and thematically, corresponding reproductions of the Hebrew Rabbinic (1525) and the Geneva Bible preface each chapter and allow the reader, regardless of specialization, to follow Goodblatt’s critical analyses.

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