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Reviewed by:
  • Role relationships and lexical descriptions applied to Batad Ifugao
  • Hsiu-chuan Liao
Leonard E. Newell. 2008. Role relationships and lexical descriptions applied to Batad Ifugao. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Linguistic Society of the Philippines Special Monograph Issue, Number 55 (LSP 55). xvii + 175 pp. ISBN 978-971-780-028-8. $10.00, paper.

Ifugao is a Northern Luzon language spoken by some 150,000 people living in the Province of Ifugao and several surrounding provinces of north-central Luzon, Philippines. The Batad dialect of Ifugao is spoken by approximately 50,000 people living in the Batad Ifugao valley of north-central Ifugao (Newell 1993:1).

The volume under review includes seven chapters. Chapter 1 briefly introduces the general background, historical perspective, and purpose of this study. Leonard Newell [henceforth LN] considers language as “a system of human communication” (1). Thus, “linguistic materials aimed at aiding the communication process must describe not only the phonological, morphological, and syntactic features of the language, but also the semantic and sociocultural features” (1). As a companion to Newell’s (1993)Batad Ifugao dictionary with ethnographic notes, this book aims “to develop a systematic framework for analyzing and describing major relationships between verbs and co-occurring nouns and among nouns as they cluster in their relationship to verbs in a lexicographic description of verbs” (xiii).

Chapter 2, “Theoretical considerations,” discusses the theoretical basis for this study. LN begins the chapter by reviewing the development of functionally oriented theories and case grammar. To explore the possibility of applying some of the features of functionally oriented theories to a lexicographic description of verbs, Lamb’s (1966) stratificational model has been adopted in this study. However, insights from case grammar have also been borrowed.

Chapter 3, “The lexeme,” deals with how lexemes should be analyzed and described in a good dictionary, especially a learner’s dictionary. A “lexeme” is considered to be a functional unit that is “semantically defined within the context of its relationship to the cognitive, grammatical and phonological networks” (9). “It is not a morphological unit such as root, affix or morphological or phonological word. The shape of a lexeme may be realized as any of these or, in the case of derivations, a combination of them” (9). Adopting an intensional approach, the lexeme is viewed as “composed of a unique bundle of distinctive features necessary and sufficient to allow it to denote when it occurs in various lexical and situational contexts” (cf. an extensional approach, reflected in most dictionaries, subcategorizes the entire range of meaning covered by a lexical form and lists these subcategories serially as senses) (9).

Chapter 4, “Role relationships,” discusses role relationships between verbs and nouns in great detail. Ten semantic roles are recognized for Ifugao: agent, actor, instrument, theme, location reference, patient, beneficiary, manner, place, and time. Only six of them [End Page 591] are considered necessary for establishing role relationships between verbs and nouns: agent, actor, instrument, theme, location reference, and patient. LN defines these roles as follows: (a) agent initiates change as an intentional act; (b) actor is involved in an unintentional act as the source of change; (c) instrument is the direct cause of change; (d) theme either occupies or changes position in space or time; (e) location reference is the area or point of reference for the movement or position of a theme; (f) patient is in a particular condition or undergoes a change of condition (19).

Three major formal signals are considered to be crucial in indicating role relationships in Philippine languages: (a) verb affixation; (b) noun determiners; (c) syntactic order (43–44). Among these, only verb affixation is crucial in identifying the “primary role relationships” between verbs and nouns. A “primary role relationship” refers to “role focus” (“the substantive with this relationship is said to have a focused role. Any other substantive has an unfocused role” [61, fn. 42]). Primary role relationships are commonly indicated by one of the following affixes:1 (a) agent: maN- (< PMP *maN-) or mun- (< PMP *maR- [Liao 2004:115]); (b) actor: -um- (< PAn/PMP *-um-); (c) instrument: paN- (< PMP *paN-) or pun- (< PMP *paR-); (d) patient: -on (< PAn/PMP*-en [ən...


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