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208 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) evolution. More generally, G's analysis reminds us that language as form and language as function are inseparable, a fact which is too often lost in the analysis of areas of the linguistic system where their mutual relevance is, perhaps, less obvious. G's study is equally noteworthy for its database which is more comprehensive than any heretofore available for the languages in question, relying not only on the forms available in published studies, but in addition, for Bulgarian, on a corpus of contemporary plays, and, for Serbian, on unpublished archival materials. G notes that he also consulted with native speakers. Finally, the study offers an excellent survey of available references, with summaries of existing hypotheses relating to the historical development and synchronic structure of appellative forms as well as G's critical reaction to them. [Mark J. Elson, University of Virginia.] The function of discourse particles: A study with special reference to spoken standard French. By M.-B. Mosegaard Hansen (Pragmatics & beyond, new series , 53.) Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1998. Pp. xi, 413. The subtitles of many books in our field provide a more honest indication of content than their often inflated titles. Not so with the present study which, if anything, delivers more than its title promises. While the four chapters of Part II ('Description') offer a fine-grained analysis of six discourse markers of standard spoken French (bon, ben, eh bien, puis, done, and alors), the nine chapters of the longer Part I ('Theory') provide a crash course in pragmatics and discourse analysis, covering topics ranging from surveys of the major research on 'particles' (Ch. 3), 'discourse markers' (Ch. 4), and the principal theoretical frameworks relevant to their study (Ch. 2), to chapters on differences between spoken and written language (Ch. 5), the thorny question ofhow to identify 'discourse units' (Ch. 6), approaches to discourse structure in general (Ch. 7), and cohesion and coherence (Ch. 8). Ch. 9, on data and methodology, likewise goes beyond a description ofthe author's corpus and methods to explore such theoretical-methodological issues as corpus-based research vs. intuition, the relative value of audio vs. video recording and of different transcription styles, and the heuristic question of accountability. Not only are the author's presentations of theoretical approaches informative and intelligible and her illustrative examples (from English and French) well chosen, but her style provides a model of lucidly written, convincingly argued linguistic analysis—an achievement all the more impressive inthatthe study is arevised PhD dissertation (University of Copenhagen, 1996) by a nonnative speaker of English. In Part ?, MH draws on her preferred theories from among those outlined in Part I to describe the distribution and function of the six particles chosen for study. The emphasis is on pragmatic function, with occasional consideration of origins and subsequent development. The author sees bon (< the adj. 'good') as marking a speaker's acceptance ofa preceding piece of information and ben as a marker of irrelevance (in Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson's sense). Departing from previous analyses of eh bien as marking comparison or contrast, MH sees it as prototypically signaling semantic orpragmatic interdependency between the discourse units it connects. Done and alors have traditionally been regarded as markers of result or conclusion. MH finds this interpretation misleading in the case of done and only partially valid in the case ofalors, preferring to view done as expressing primarily 'the mutual manifestness [to speaker and hearer] of the content of the host unit' (360), and alors as a radial category (also bon) whose core function is to signal a shift inperspective. Finally,/;««, from its origin as a temporal adjunct ('then, next'), has developed into aconnective and possibly into a 'true conjunction' functioning to instruct the hearer 'to search for two and only two elements to be connected on the same level of the discourse, and ... to understand these elements as being individually relevant to some "common integrator" ' (319). What binds these particles together, MH argues, is that they 'neither influence truth-conditions, nor function as argumentational or purely structural markers. Rather, they indicate in various ways the type and degree ofrelevance oftheir host units with respect to a mental representation of the discourse-so-far' (360-61). One might wonder why the author chose English for a book on elements of informal, spoken French. Perhaps because the theories on which she draws reflect Anglo-American functionalism and pragmatics as much ifnot more than Francophone paradigms (integrated pragmatics, théories de renonciation, Geneva-style discourse structuralism). Whatever the reason, the theoretical eclecticism of this study only enhances its value. Both the analyses of the data and the succinct, reader-friendly theoretical overviews will be of interest to researchers on pragmatic particles and the structure of spontaneous spoken discourse in any language. As the author observes, 'discourse comprehension being an active process, the nature of the mental representations constructed by hearers is . . . crucial to the success or failure of the communicative enterprise, and there is thus every reason for languages to develop markers of this kind to facilitate understanding' (361). An invitation to cross-language comparison. [Suzanne Fleischman, University of California, Berkeley.] ...

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Additional Information

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