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Reviewed by:
  • Current Trends in Caucasian, East European, and Inner Asian Linguistics
  • Christina Kramer (bio)
Dee Ann Holisky and Kevin Tuite , editors. Current Trends in Caucasian, East European, and Inner Asian LinguisticsJohn Benjamins2003. 426. US $150.00

This volume covers a broad range of languages, from Southeastern Europe, across the Caucasus, and on into Siberia. Scholars working in these language areas cover a broad geographic area and come from a broad range of disciplines. In order to provide a venue for specialists in Caucasian, Baltic, Iranian, Finno-Ugric, Altaic, Siberian, and other language groups of the Soviet Union, The Non-Slavic Languages of the Soviet Union Conference (NSL) was organized by Chicago professors Howard Aronson and Bill Darden. Ten conferences were held between 1979 and 1997. Most of the papers contained in this volume were presented at the tenth and final Non-Slavic Languages conference of the USSR.

Howard Aronson has been one of the most influential linguists in North America in a number of areas of scholarship focused on Balkan languages, particularly Bulgarian, Caucasian languages, in particular Georgian, and [End Page 189] Yiddish. Not only has he been a prolific researcher, he has taught and influenced several generations of scholars in these fields, and has generously contributed to the field through conferences, edited volumes, and student mentorship. Dee Ann Holisky and Kevin Tuite have edited this volume in Aronson's honour focusing mainly on the Caucasus, with additional papers on Siberian languages, and Bulgarian. The volume contains seventeen articles, twelve of which are devoted to the languages of the Caucasus. Tuite's introduction provides an excellent orientation to the linguistic subgroups represented in the papers. There are three groups of Caucasian languages covered: Nakh-Daghestanian, with papers on Lak (Victor Friedman), Ingush (Zev Handel), Udi (Alice Harris), and Tsez (Maria Polinsky and Bernard Comrie), as well as more general studies including a long article by Johanna Nichols on thorny questions relating to Nakh-Daghestanian consonant correspondences, and Wolfgang Schulze's reconstruction of the prehistory of demonstrative pronouns in NakhDaghenstanian languages. The Kartvelian, South Caucasian, group is represented by five papers on Georgian. The papers on Georgian cover topics ranging from the morphosyntax of reflexive pronouns and possessives in Modern Georgian (Shukia Apridonidze), and the syntax and semantics of the Mingrelian verbs as compared with Georgian (Marcello Cherchi), to an article on the development of the Georgian alphabet (Thomas Gamkrelidze) and work on homophony in Georgian (Kora Singer). Tuite writes on verbal suffixes in Kartvelian Series 1 verb forms.

The Abkkaz-Adyghean, northwest Caucasian, group is represented by John Colarusso's provocative paper on Northwest Caucasian and Indo European ties. Outside of the Caucasus are several papers on Siberian indigenous languages including Lenore Grenoble and Lindsay Whaley's paper on Tungusic language, Oroqen, and morphological variation. David Harrison and Abigail Kaun treat vowel inventories of variety of Tatar spoken in central Uzbekistan. The final paper on Siberian languages is Edward Vajda's paper on Ket vowels. The sole paper on Slavic is Donald Dyer's paper on Bulgarian dialects of Moldova. Dyer, a former student of Aronson's, thus ties together Aronson's two main areas of linguistic scholarship.

Few volumes cover the breadth of languages represented here. Scholars interested in the Caucasus, in particular, will find a rich and diverse display of articles covering a broad range of linguistic approaches. Papers on phonology, verbal morphology, syntax, and dialectology give evidence of a wide-range of scholarly interests. Holisky and Tuite have done an excellent job of compiling articles that will have appeal not only to specialists, but also to those interested in learning more about the linguistic landscape of trans-Caucasia and Siberia. Howard Aronson has devoted his career to scholarship and young scholars; this volume is a fitting tribute to his work. [End Page 190]

Christina Kramer

Christina Kramer, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Toronto



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