- Trubetzkoy's orphan: Proceedings of the Montréal roundtable 'Morphonology: Contemporary responses' Ed. by Rajendra Singh, with the collaboration of Richard Desrochers (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 75, Number 1, March 1999
- pp. 200-201
- View Citation
- Additional Information
200 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) languages involved is a sign language. Michel Paradis surveys the field of bilingual aphasia. Considering that the terms psycholinguistics and bilingualism mean different things to different people , it is debatable whether this book provides a comprehensive survey of the psycholinguistics of bilingualism. Also, although the editors have done a good job in the introductory chapter m pointing out the links among the chapters, it is disappointing that they merely acknowledge, but make no attempt to resolve, the clearly conflicting positions taken in different chapters on certain issues. A case in point is whether it is necessary to differentiate concept and word meaning in modeling bilingual memory, a question which has been around for over two decades ! These criticisms notwithstanding, this book is a welcome addition to the literature on the psycholinguistic aspect of bilingualism. The meticulouslycompiled author index and the very useful subject index will add to its value as a textbook for (advanced -level) students and a reference for researchers . [Ming-Wei Lee, University of Wales, Bangor.] Dialect death: The case of Brule Spanish. By Charles E. Holloway. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1997. Pp. xi, 220. The book under review presents a study of Brule Spanish (BS), a dying vanety of Spanish spoken in Ascension Parish, LA. Its speakers are descendants of immigrants from the Canary Islands who settled in the Ascension Parish area in 1781. BS is closely related to the Isleño dialect spoken by descendants of Canary Islanders m St. Bernard Parish. Though much of the earlier work documented the sociolinguistic situation of the Isleño dialect, Holloway is the first scholar to give an extensive description of BS. In view of its approaching extinction, the importance of recording the Brule language and culture is that 'not only will some part of the language be documented for future generations, but also some information about Brule culture [will] be preserved' (2). The aim is three-fold: (1) to provide a synchronic description of the linguistic features of the Brule dialect , some of which it shares with other vestigial and nonvestigial varieties of Spanish, such as those spoken in Trinidad, the Philippines, Canary Island, the United States, and the Caribbean; (2) to isolate the sociocultural factors which caused its death; and (3) to investigate phenomena possibly related to language death in light of the sociolinguistic evidence presented in this book. The book has seven chapters, notes, references, and author and subject indexes. The first two chapters (1-18) highlight the importance of BS to Hispanic historical linguistics and dialectology, and lay out the methodological framework, with special emphasis being given to the difficulties of selecting informants in the context of language obsolescence. For the purposes of this study all informants were classified based on their competence in BS as 'rememberers ' of isolated words and fixed phrases, 'semispeakers ' who have good comprehension but limited speaking skills, or 'bilinguals' with the ability to understand and speak both English and BS. Ch. 3 (19-26) is a short but informative outline of the history and culture of the Brule dwellers characterized as a close-knit community which evolved in relative isolation from the larger neighboring English - and Acadian-French-speaking communities until its dispersal brought about by education, economic factors, military service, and exogamy. Ch. 4 (27-76) deals with the structural and stylistic reduction of dying languages, the role of the semispeaker in language death situtations, and the variability characteristics of dying languages. Readers who are not familiar with language death research will profit from this chapter since it presents an overview of the relevant literature on other terminal language communities (East Sutherland Gaelic, Chicano Spanish) in addition to many examples from BS illustrating the type of changes a dying language undergoes . Ch. 5 (77-173) describes the Brule dialect and compares it with other Spanish dialects, demonstrating its Canary Islands origin and its relationship to St. Bernard Spanish. BS reflects the retention of dialectal features present in the founder population, language transfer from English and French, and the restructuring associated with language death situations . The social factors which might have triggered language shift among the Brule dwellers are analyzed in Ch. 6...