Lexical functions in lexicography and natural language processing Ed. by Leo Wanner (review)
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224 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 74, NUMBER 1 (1998) Ch. 4 presents the collocation patterns of the theft lexemes, which appear to be most important for verbs: with subjects (who steals), direct objects (what is stolen), and indirect objects (from whom something is stolen). An interesting result is that in the codes, the stolen goods always appear to have the feature movable, while in the lawsuit documents, lands also figure as the object of stealing. The theft nouns (peofi etc.) mostly share a feature—guilty. Despite the mention made of these features, no detailed structural description ofthe lexical field is ultimately given. However, S presents a wealth of information about relations linking up to the situational context. The final chapter provides a summary and gives the most important details for every single theft lexeme covered by the study; an extension of the corpus to other Old EngUsh texts and text types is suggested. Five appendices present references and statistical information . AU in all, S has presented detailed and informative dataconcerning the Old English lexemes related to theft, and his agenda for further study deserves to be taken up. [Hans Peters, University of Dortmund, Germany.] A grammar of Boraana Oromo (Kenya). By Harry Stroomer. (Cushitic language studies, 1 1 .) Köln: Rüdihger Koppe Verlag, 1995, Pp. xii, 315. Linguists should always welcome the appearance ofa full reference grammar, as is promised by the title of Stroomer's book. This promise, however, remains unfulfilled in that the material within is at best incomplete . The book offers only partial coverage and a relatively low level ofdescription, eschewing all formalization and even most generalization. Although the presentation of data is full, most readers would like to have it more fully digested. Less than half of the book contains a description of Oromo grammar (141 of 315 pp.) with the rest of the book being split between the two parts of a bilingual dictionary. The reader should be warned that the first part of the book is not really a grammar but rather a description of the phonology, morphology, and major word categories. Ch. 4, 'Noun phrase', consists of three pages, and Ch. 11, 'Grammatical relations', although longer (27 pp.), focuses on the functions of what is called a 'linker clitic'. Most readers will welcome the extensive data S has collected, but most will also look for further analysis and discussion than has been given. For example, the reader is presented with extensive phonotactic tables but no spelling out of syllabification rules or even any characterization of syllable structure. As another example, the representation of final vowels is apparently problematic because of their varied realizations , and the author spells out his stand: 'every phonemically written final short vowel is phonetically voiceless or even zero; phonemically written longfinal vowels are phonetically reduced to a short final vowel' [the author's italics] (6). There are other realizations as well, but what one would like to hear about is how such vowels fit into a syllabification scheme, especially as the author later comments that a 'preverbal syllable' receives stress in some contexts but 'preverbal short final vowels are not counted' (20). The same avoidance of generalization appears when treating morphophonemics (24-25). There is little here beyond the classification of attested changes. Similarly, withregardto what we hear about the language's syntax, one would like to hear more, for example, about the syntax of the linker clitic. Another criticism that could be leveled at the book is the lack of an introductory chapter setting the language facts into some sort oftypological and genetic perspective. What is unusual or unique about Oromo? What would make a reader want to learn more about the language? We do not know the basic word order of Oromo (SOV) until page 51, almost halfway through the 'grammar'! Such information would certainly help the typologist as well as the theoretician. Furthermore, one would like to know how the language compares to languages within its group, its family, etc. Admittedly the elaborate table of contents is some compensation, at the least for the lack of an index. The book has the flavor of a (translated) thesis, and a review by Gérard Philippson (Journal ofAfrican Languages...