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Reviews 305 Greek, and questionnaires (for which no information is given about the respondents and which in no way produce statistically significant results). Despite the author's elaborate justification, one could seriously object to the use of decontextualized constructions to study "language in its social context." For this reason, the book's strength lies not so much in any rigorous sociolinguistic approach as in the wealth of material it unearths and in its useful insights into a series of phenomena whose study in Greek is still in its infancy. In its descriptive analysis, Sifianou's Politeness PL·nomena in Engend and Greece covers the areas of pragmatics and everyday usage that are known to be most demanding and most useful to the foreign learner, the translator, and the linguist. In addition, it emphasizes the need for further research on social aspects of Greek on the basis of pragmatic principles and contextual information. The informed theoretical discussion and the range of evidence from Greek (especially in chapter 7) are an invaluable contribution not only to Modern Greek linguistics but also to research on politeness from a crosscultural perspective. This contribution is especially welcome as an attempt to improve cross-cultural understanding at a time when nationalistic sentiments are resurfacing so ominously. Dionysis Goutsos University of Birmingham G. M. Sifákis. Γ. M. Σηφάκης, Για μια ποιητική του ελληνικοϕ δημοτικοϕ τϕαγουδιοϕ. Iráklio: Panepistimiakés Ekdósis KrÃ-tis. 1988. Pp. 236. Gregory Sifákis makes substantial progress "towards a poetics of modern Greek folk song" by harnessing the potential of oral-compositional theory more fully than any previous effort, as well as by marshaling selected elements of semiotic and linguistic theory for his purpose. This progress is all the more commendable when viewed in the context of the slow response in Greece to the rampant growth of oral-composition theory over half a century—a slowness that is paradoxical because it was from work on ancient Greek epics in the late 1920s by Milman Parry that the study of the purportedly universal phenomenon of oral-formulaic composition spread to a host of other medieval and modern literatures and waxed to the point of claiming the status of a whole new discipline, and because Homer has remained the standard analogue for modern oral poetry ever since. It is not that the Homer/folk song nexus had escaped notice in Greece, but rather that folklorists were preoccupied with exploiting the Homeric qualities of modern texts for other purposes, as revealed, for example, in the sub-title of I. E. Tsouderos's slim volume Όμοια καιπαϕάλληλαφϕαστικάσυστήματασταομηϕικάÎ-πηκαιστονεοελληνικό δημοτικότϕαγοϕδι:τασωστάκϕιτήϕιατηςγνησιότηταςτωννεοελληνικών δημοτικών τϕαγουδιών (Athens, 1976). More sophisticated investigators of 306 Reviews this nexus mentioned by Sifákis (pp. 137, 203) also refrained from pursuing formula analysis, and one might speculate that perhaps the use of South Slavic epic by Parry and A. B. Lord as the modern point of comparison for Homer dampened enthusiasm for their method and findings among exponents of the traditionally nationalistic discipline of laografÃ-a in Greece, while the perception that Parry's emphasis on tradition detracted from The Poet's originality and artistry (which earned Parry the label of "the Darwin of Homeric studies" in the West) would not have endeared him to Greeks who might otherwise have been pleased to argue for continuity from ancient to modern poetic technique. On the other hand, throughout his book Sifákis takes up the challenge of refuting the facile assumption that tradition and creativity are mutually exclusive. Whatever the reasons, just ten years before the publication of Sifákis's book, Alki KyriakÃ-du-Néstoros could report that Milman Parry's oral-formulaic theory had made no impact to date on the θεωϕία της ελληνικής λαογϕαφίας, which formed the title of her book (Thessaloniki, 1978, p.174). It seems that the efforts of overseas scholars including Morgan, Trypanis, Jeffreys, Alexiou, A. B. Lord himself, and especially James Notopoulos, who had tried valiantly in the 1950s to replicate Parry's and Lord's "Yugoslav laboratory" in Greece, failed to arouse much local interest. But the momentum was not lost, and it was not much longer before Roderick Beaton's Folk Poetry of Modern Greece (Cambridge, 1980) substantially inaugurated, among other innovations, the Parry-Lord approach to Modern Greek folk song. Not that his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 305-309
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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