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Reviewed by:
  • Language description, history and development: Linguistic indulgence in memory of Terry Crowley
  • Frantisek Lichtenberk
Jeff Siegel, John Lynch, and Diana Eades, eds. 2007. Language description, history and development: Linguistic indulgence in memory of Terry Crowley. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Creole Language Library, vol. 30. xv + 514 pp. ISBN 978-90-272-5252-4. $195.00, hardcover.

Terry Crowley, a prolific researcher in the field of Oceanic linguistics and other areas of linguistics, died suddenly in 2005. The volume under review is to honor his memory and to reflect the breadth of his research and expertise. It contains, besides the Introduction by the volume editors, 35 contributions, grouped, with one exception, into three parts: Language description and linguistic typology; Language history and historical linguistics; and Language development and linguistic applications.

There is no separate list in the volume of Terry's publications, but there are six pages of entries in the references referring to his work, nearly all of them sole-authored, clear evidence of his very impressive productivity.

Because of the number of articles included in the volume, this review can do no more than present brief summaries. In the Introduction the editors outline Terry's career as a researcher, and give an overview of the articles in the volume, relating them to the various facets of Terry's work.

Outside the three parts (and preceding them) is a brief article by Helen Harper, a personal account of the legacy of Terry's early salvage descriptive work in Cape York Peninsula. The speakers of the language Harper worked with some time later regarded Terry's description “with some reverence” (9), and it led to some resurgence in the use of the language.

Part I, Language description and linguistic typology, is the longest of the three parts. It contains 18 articles, most of which deal with Oceanic languages. William Thurston gives an account of his grammatical and lexicographical work on the Papuan language Anêm (New Britain). Many of the issues he has faced will be familiar to other field researchers.

The next three articles deal with Australian aboriginal languages. William McGregor discusses a desiderative construction in Warrwa, a non-Pama-Nyungan language of the western Kimberley region (and in nearby languages). The Warrwa desiderative construction uses the verb ‘say’, but McGregor argues that the construction “represents a separate grammatical sign” (38) with its own—desiderative—function, different from a speech-reporting function. Graham McKay discusses and copiously exemplifies noun incorporation in Rembarrnga (Arnhem Land), and argues that the use of noun incorporation is primarily motivated by “discourse considerations of textural linking and backgrounding” (52). And Margaret Sharpe provides a detailed discussion of verbal suffixes in Yugambeh-Bundjalung (New South Wales). Her focus is on the fifth-order suffixes (there are six orders of suffixes), which, she concludes, have to do with marking aspects and moods, not tenses.

After the three studies of Australian languages come a number of contributions dealing with Oceanic languages. In her study of certain aspects of transitivity in Saliba (Western Oceanic, Papuan Tip), Anna Margetts argues that even though the language has only one transitivizing suffix rather than separate reflexes of the two Proto-Oceanic transitivizing [End Page 287] suffixes distinguishing between close and remote objects, it does retain the distinction between the two types of object. However, the distinction is covert. It is not marked by different transitivizing suffixes; rather, it rests on semantic transitivity/intransitivity in one class of verbs.

Hannah Vari-Bogiri discusses two uses of one of the five possessive classifiers in Raga (Southern Oceanic, Northern Vanuatu). The classifier bila- is used when the possessum designates an entity of economic or cultural value for the possessor. Among other things, it is used with one of the terms for ‘people’, “when the possessor is a chief or a politician”: it “establishes the value that the chief or the politician places on his/her people for various reasons” (83). And it is used with the term for ‘father's sister’ because, according to Vari-Bogiri, such individuals play a variety of important roles in Raga society.

Ray Harlow's contribution deals with a relatively large range of constructions in Māori where the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 287-293
Launched on MUSE
2009-07-23
Open Access
No
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