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BOOK NOTICES 195 book are prefaces in English and Esperanto and the inclusion of the editor's 'counterpaper'. In justifying the collection of papers from the two conferences, Müller points out in the preface that 'language status and language education are intertwined , if not related'. However, no paper directly addresses the relation between language status and education policies. The first eight papers are basically about the post-Cold-War era, while the next four papers concern language education in the U.S. These are followed by M's 'counterpaper' which emphasizes the importance of language education, whether the language studied is a Western European one or not. It elicits a short reply from Ronald Glossop. The book concludes with Humphrey Tonkin 's 'Language equality at the United Nations'. Quite a few papers comment on the new trend of language use in the UN: The six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) have become symbolic of privileges. As representatives to the UN are increasingly multilingual , English is virtually the lingua franca used at informal meetings. In contrast, Russian has a shaky status after the Cold War. In defense ofthat language, Alexandre Titov recounts the contributions from Russian in the former Soviet Union. Another paper focusing on Russian is Lynn Visson's discussion of sociolinguistic changes in recent years. The papers by Glossop, Timothy Reagan, and Tonkin propose the use/study of Esperanto as an international language. I agree with Tonkin that this is an achievable dream. The sad reality is that it lacks support from governments or multinational organizations . Instead, for example, Helene Zimmer-Loew reports that teaching of Western European languages is taken as part of assistance to countries in Eastern Europe. To deal with problems in language education in the U.S., Reagan and Karen Case suggest several nontraditional approaches to language study. Except for American Sign Language and perhaps Esperanto, which have little connection to the cultures and histories of their signers/speakers, it is a pity that the proposals seem to regard human languages as if they were separable from their speakers. If languages are learned in isolation, it is no wonder that students of foreign languages do not necessarily possess a broader global knowledge—a problem that Margareta Bowen discusses. [Picus S. Ding, La Trobe University.] Dialect levelling in Limburg: Structural and sociolinguistic aspects. By Frans Hinskens. (Linguistische Arbeiten 356.) Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1996. Pp. xix, 411. As readers familiar with Hinskens's outstanding paper "The selection oflinguistic variables in empirical research on variation and change in dialects' (1986. Language attrition in progress, ed. by Bert Weltens, Kees de Bot, Theo van Els, 53-74. Dordrecht : Foris) would expect, his study of dialect levelling in the Dutch province of Limburg is carefully designed to test particular hypotheses and to deal with certain shortcomings he and others have identified in much sociolinguistic work to date. The hypotheses tested are that dialect levelling affects variation on both the dialect/standard-language dimension and the interdialectal dimension, and that it proceeds gradually, both geographically and structurally . Among the shortcomings he particularly aims to avoid are: framing dialect levelling solely in terms of narrowing the distance to the standard language; selection of variables from only one component (e.g. phonology); selection of variables all structurally independent ofone another; and failure to take account of interactional factors in gathering and assessing instances of the variables. He takes many thoughtful steps to avoid such shortcomings while testing the hypotheses. The variables chosen represent different degrees of geographical spread, with some restricted to the Ripuarian dialects of a small part of extreme southeastern Holland (A), some common to A dialects and to those just west of them (B), and a third group common to these and also to East Limburg dialects generally (C). Variables selected represent the phonological , morphophonological, morphological, and morphosyntactic components. While most are structurally independent of one another, a subset involve either/or relationships (disjunction) or if/then relationships (conditionality). The elicitation instrument used has limitations (e.g. it required writing, while the dialect is reserved for spoken use), but the carefully selected material covered garnered rich results. The spontaneous data derive from two...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 195-196
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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