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BOOK NOTICES 207 organizes the presentation of content within chapters so that emphasis is on distinctions in terminology (conveniently placed in boldface). Working from the top down, from practice into language, language data are introduced primarily to illustrate the contrasts linguists have found important; there is little sense of how (or whether) it all hangs together, little sense of a coherent integration to the meaning of language. Although 32 languages other than English are cited throughout the text (6 of them European), data illustrate the terminology instead of presenting problems from which to learn. For example, an Arabic sentence (123) exemplifies a language in which the perfective aspect is present only with a past time. And Arabic pronouns (177, 179) are used to show a language whose pronouns encode semantic distinctions differently from English. A series of Atsugewi (Hokan) morphemes illustrates the necessary specification of shape with verbs of motion (247-48). A Makah (Nootkan) paradigm (132) demonstrates contrasts in evidentiality. English is used to motivate most of the points about semantic patterning. The second choice that has an effect on the character of the text is present implicitly. The overall flavor of the presentation is that of a semantics viewed consistently from a more formal perspective. There are several symptoms of this. S continues to give primacy to syntax. In Ch. 1, S asks 'How can we connect semantic information in the lexicon with the compositional meaning of sentences?' (11), implying their separation. And then he answers that, 'We can see that it is the syntactic rules, applying en bloc which are the compositional engine in this system and which provide the bridge between word meanings in the lexicon and sentence meaning' (11), implying the independence of syntax (the 'engine') from lexicon and sentence meaning. In Ch. 4, 'Sentence relations and truth', discussion of the semantic patterns holding between utterances is cast entirely in terms of formal logic. In Ch. 6, 'Sentence semantics 2: Participants ', discussion of participant roles is cast in terms of thematic roles. Next, the work of the functionalists is underrepresented . Part III, on theories, includes an introduction to contributions by Jerrold J. Katz and Ray S. Jackendoff , but nothing by T. Givón or Paul J. Hopper, to name only two functionalists. (They are present in the bibliography but not the index.) Functional semantics is represented by the cognitive linguists of Ch. 1 1 who 'identify themselves' (300) with functionalism . Finally, the semantic presences called 'topic' (or sometimes 'theme') and 'rheme' (and also 'focus', 'comment', etc.) are among the most prominent in giving shape to grammar. Yet they are mentioned only in a short footnote (202). S presents the problems and their treatments in a even-handed way, frequently noting the ambiguities, debates, and the lack of resolution to the problems. Each chapter identifies some suggested further reading and has a few exercises. Like any textbook, this one reflects thefield it introduces; and ifthere are any complaints, they are directed more at the condition of the study of meaning of language. It is a good introductory textbook. [Philip W. Davis, Rice University .] The Balkan Slavic appellative. By Robert D. Greenberg. (Studies in Slavic linguistics, 6.) Munich: Lincom Europa, 1996. Pp. xiii, 220. An expanded version of the author's 1992 Yale University doctoral dissertation, this book treats the imperative and vocative, i.e. the appellative forms, in the three South Slavic languages—Serbian, Bulgarian , and Macedonian—which, together with Romanian , Greek, and Albanian, constitute the Balkan Sprachbund. Greenberg implements his threefold goal (8)—to examine the status of appellative forms in the standard languages, to present dialectal data for comparison with the standard systems, and to examine the place of Slavic appellative forms within the larger context of the Balkan Sprachbund—in six sections. Beginning with an overview of the subject matter and methodology (1-16), he proceeds to discuss appellative forms and periphrases in the standard languages (17-67), appellative forms in Balkan Slavic dialects (69-139), appellative periphrases in these dialects (141-71), the Slavic appellative within the Balkan Sprachbund (173-98), and conclusions (199-201). Two briefappendices and a bibliography follow. G accomplishes his objectives well, skillfully combining discussion of diachronic data...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 207-208
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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