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BOOK NOTICES 215 ofthese constructions as serial, followedby a rebuttal from Derek Bickerton himself. Shana Poplack and Sali Tagliamonte reveal that the bin past marker so canonical in English creóles is barely used in Nigerian Pidgin. Silvia Kouwenberg suggests that the SVO order of Berbice Dutch Creole, noteworthy since its source languages are SOV, is traceable to constructions in those source languages rather than to a universal tendency towards SVO. Philip Baker shows that the Melanesian Pidgin English adjectival markerfela, often traced to Melanesian structure , can actually be traced back even earlier to Australian Pidgin English and possibly to Australian languages. In other papers, Theodora Bynon draws parallels between the simplifying tendencies in the Balkan Sprachbund and in French creóles; Salikoko Mufwene shows that grammaticalization in Creoles is often an extension ofprocesses which had proceeded to some extent in their source languages; Cefas Van Rossem traces the so-suffixed adverbs of Negerhollands to regional Dutch dialects; Peter Mühlh äusler notes idiosyncracies in the usage oí fela in South Australia; and Dudley Nylander applies minimalist theory to Krio complementation. [John McWhorter, University of California, Berkeley.] The Arabic language. By Kees Versteegh . Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. Pp. ix, 266. Cloth£40.00. Kees Versteegh's The Arabic language represents a utilitarian contribution to the historical and linguistic study ofArabic. Intended as a general survey, the volume's fourteen chapters canvass the development of both classical and vernacular Arabic. Articulated within a historical and sociolinguistic framework, the bulk of Vs discussion aims at charting the history and development of Arabic from its origins within the Semitic linguistic matrix through its realization in the dialects ofthe modern Arabic-speaking world. The book begins with a brief survey of the linguistic study of Arabic in the west (Ch. 1, 1-8) and then focuses on the language's contextual and developmental history (Chs. 2-5, 9-73)—classical structure (Ch. 6, 74-92), middle and new forms (Chs. 7-8, 93-129), dialectal variation (Chs. 9-10, 130-72), and the emergence of Modern Standard Arabic (Ch. 11, 173-88). The final portion of the book includes a discussion of diglossia and bilingualism (Ch. 12, 189-208) and Arabic as a minority and world language (Chs. 13-14, 209-40). Throughout, V touches upon the sociolinguistic role ofArabic as a religious, cultural, and political world language, positioning the details ofits development within the dynamic historical matrix which frames the rapid spread of Arabic over a large geographical area. As a relatively well preserved and living Semitic language, Arabic has traditionally been ofgreat interest in the study of Semitic linguistics. Such attention, however, has not yielded discrete linguistic models for the position of Arabic within the larger Semitic linguistic milieu. V considers this fact within his discussion ofArabic as a Semitic language (Ch. 2, 9-22) and in doing so opts for a brief sketch of what is generally agreed upon regarding Arabic's historical character. In doing so, he shows how Arabic can be positioned with the Northwest Semitic languages against South Arabian and Ethiopie groupings. He accentuates this observation with a discussion of Arabic 's distinguishing phonological, morphological, and semantic features. The bulk of Vs discussion on pre-Islamic and classical Arabic (Chs. 3-5, 23-73) concerns the development of early dialectical variation and geographic distribution. Here, V discusses issues surrounding the sociolinguistic situation of the Arabian peninsula and ancillary areas, succinctly defining major factors of differentiation such as the role of the declensional system and phonemic variation within dialects. V approaches this material with an understanding that early on the language underwent a process of standardization, a phenomenon closely connected with the invention of a structured orthography . Herein he evaluates the historical veracity of source material pertaining to the codification of grammatical structure and the classical Arabic lexicon during the first few centuries of Islam (seventh -ninth centuries CE). V pays particular attention to Qur'anic commentary, literary culture, and the tension between the ideal of Bedouin speech and colloquial reality of early Islamic cities. In Ch. 6 (74-92) V explores the nuanced grammatical model developed by early Arab grammarians. This discussion is of particular importance to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 215-216
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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