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194 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) The book includes a well-written and meaty introduction by the editor, which offers a general overview of verb semantics as well as insightful comments on each of the papers. There is a useful four-page index, something often lacking in conference paper-based volumes. One weakness, typical of generative works, is the frequent unnaturalness of example sentences and questionable grammaticality judgments. The sentences The water overran the bankfor two days and Willa arrived breathless are asterisked, while Each other's remarks annoyed John and Mary is considered acceptable. This is perhaps a danger of using made-up sentences rather than collecting spontaneously produced ones and of consulting only one or two native informants. Some authors, in addition to Hatori, added valuable comparative material from Japanese and Dutch, of interest to anyone familiar with these languages and good as counterweights to the English examples given. The English in this volume is remarkably good stylistically and relatively free of typos (aside from parts of the Nakamura paper), though it is a bit 'florid' in places. The book is attractively designed and printed clearly on high-quality paper. It contains some fresh ideas and is a worthwhile reference for anyone studying verbal semantics and morphology. [Karen Steffen Chung, National Taiwan University .] The structure of Kiranti languages: Comparative grammar and texts. By Karen H. Ebert. (Arbeiten des Seminars für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft , Nr. 13.) Zürich: Universität Zürich, 1994. Pp. 283. This monograph compares the grammar of six Kiranti languages of Eastern Nepal: Ampare, Bantawa (mainly based on Novel Kishore Rai. 1985. A descriptive study of Bantawa, Poona: University of Poona dissertation), Camling, Thulung (Nicholas J. Allen. 1975. Sketch of Thulung grammar, Ithaca: Cornell University), Khaling (Sueyoshi Toba. 1984. Khaling, Tokyo: ILCAA), and Limbu. Except for Limbu, which has an extensive description in A grammarofLimbu (George van Driem. 1987. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), interlineally-glossed texts ofthe other languages are included (153-280). This work is a valuable addition to Tibeto-Burman linguistics, especially with original data from Ampare and Camling . (Ebert published grammars on these with Lincom Europa in 1997). The book consists of seven chapters and introductory remarks. Ch. 1 is a sketch of phonology. Ch. 2 presents a lengthy description of verb morphology (19-74). Chs. 3 and 4 deal with nomináis (75-89) and with deixis and location respectively (90-99). Simple and complex sentences are discussed in Ch. 5 (100-11) and Ch. 6 (112-37). Verbal paradigms for each language are also appended. Growing out of an introduction to an anthology of mythology texts, the book appears to be written for readers with some background of languages of the Indosphere—Tibeto-Burman languages which have had extensive contact with Indian languages (James Matisoff. 1991. Sino-Tibetan linguistics: Present state and future prospects. Annual Review ofAnthropology 20: 469-504). Writing a comparative grammar of languages that are little-known or hitherto unstudied is rather ambitious. For the purpose of a general introduction, E's efforts must be appreciated. She herself acknowledges that syntax and phonology need to be examined in greater detail. Another domain that deserves more attention is semantics/pragmatics . If sign (sound/form) and meaning are the most basic elements of language, the more complex a language is morphologically, the more important is the semantico-pragmatic analysis. Like many grammars, the description employs traditional terminology without explicit definitions. This often runs into problems when dealing with nonEuropean languages, for this linguistic tradition is largely based on Ancient Greek and Latin. For example , the Kiranti languages are described as having perfect forms. Except for the function of expressing resultative in Bantawa and Camling and the special use of the negative perfect for negating a past sentence (as in Thulung), one might conjecture that the Kiranti perfect is similar to the 'perfect tense' in English , but more discussion would be useful. Nominalization appears to occupy a central place in Kiranti. In particular, negation and questions are expressed with nominalized verbs in Athpare. This is interesting, since the ability to be negated and questioned is generally considered to be a property of prototypic verbs. These issues are not investigated...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 194
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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