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198 LANGUAGE. VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) supposes a dynamic theory of interpretation as this is necessary to represent anaphoric reference to situations and to explain certain temporal properties of texts. Ultimately, the main goal of the book is to show that situations are necessary as basic entities of an ontology of natural language, especially if discourse interpretation is taken into account. B succeeds in arguing this at the philosophical and ontological level and also manages to convey its importance for the semantics of tense and aspect in natural language. [Javier Gutierrez-Rexach. Ohio State University.] Learning to spell: Research, theory and practice across languages. Ed. by Charles A. Perfetti, Laurence Rieben , and Michel Fayol. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997. Pp. xv, 370. Paper $45.00. Starting from the notion that spelling has until recently been regarded more frequently as a pedagogical problem than a scientific problem of language use, Learning to spell assembles papers which examine recent work on our capacity to record kinds of linguistic units with an orthography Although the collection is largely oriented to issues of acquisition and educational psychology, what emerges is a surprisingly coherent picture of spelling as a complex cognitive process which at least partly depends on knowledge of the relevant linguistic systems and which closely involves the ability to read. The book surveys a broad range of research on the subject and is thus well suited for students or researchers seeking a good single-volume synthesis of recent work. The three essays m Section 1 , 'Theoretical foundations ' , are perhaps the most useful for gaining a basic understanding of the process of spelling. In the first, Jean-Pierre Jaffré establishes the theoretical boundaries and terminology of the subject Next, Charles Perfetti concludes that while some part of spelling depends on the psychological structures involved in reading, the structures and processes are not symmetrical. Finally, Pascal Zesiger and Marie-Pierre de Partz summarize the evidence that spelling is cogmtively autonomous from oral language production and at least partly independent of the cognitive aspects of reading. The seven papers in Section 2 present either surveys or representative research into how we acquire the ability to spell, while the eight papers in Section 3 consider exactly how the ability to spell interacts with reading competency. There is some discrepancy between the scope of the essays in Section 1 and the scope of the surveys and particular language studies which follow in Sections 2 and 3. The scope of the first section includes discussion of writing systems from languages like Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese. However, with the exception of one superb chapter on Hebrew, the languages in the later essays are restricted to English, German, and French. This discrepancy is obviously due to the almost exclusive use of Western European languages in research ; however, empirical work from diverse and well studied languages with other kinds of writing systems would have contributed greatly to demonstrating the accuracy of the claims found throughout the collection and to attaining the theoretical aspirations established in Section 1. This latter theoretical concern gets at the notion of spelling itself. P defines spelling as 'the encoding of linguistic forms into wntten forms' (22) and hints at how spelling theory might incorporate such wnting systems as Chinese. Indeed, the title of the simultaneously published French edition. Des orthographes et leur acquisition Orthographies and their acquisition ', better reflects this broader disposition. Yet the lack of diversity in the fifteen practical studies fails to illustrate how the basic concepts in spelling theory apply outside traditionally studied alphabetic systems . Despite this discrepancy, Learning to spell continues recent efforts toward correcting a long-standing bias against the study of written systems in theoretical linguistics. Likewise, it promotes a broader understanding of the ability to represent language with an orthography, how we acquire that ability, and its relationship to other linguistic competencies. [Bill Jirsa. University of Colorado.] A parametric grammar of Seediq. By Arthur J. Holmer. (Travaux de l'institut de linguistique de Lund, 30). Lund: Lund University Press, 1996. Pp. 235. Seediq is an Austronesian language spoken in Central Taiwan by approximately 5,000 speakers. A parametric grammar of Seediq is the first modern work covering its phonology...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 198
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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