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216 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 75, NUMBER 1 (1999) classification ofdialects and their distinguishing features . In addition to regional dialects, V discusses the processes behind the establishment of Modern Standard Arabic (173-88), mentioning the importance ofpolitical and reform movements in the standardization of the language. In Ch. 12 (189-208) V discusses the presence of diglossia and bilingualism in the modern Arabic-speaking world, paying particular attention to the details of variation in contemporary speech communities. The final two chapters discuss Arabic as a minority language (Ch. 13, 209-25) and Arabic as a world language (Ch. 14, 226-40). Both are rather terse and serve to synthesize rather than explicate. As an introductory handbook TheArabic language supplements the standard works on the subject, providing a succinct summary ofestablished research as well as a survey of issues still being debated among historical linguists of the Arabic language. In addition to this, the bibliography (241-62) is current, thorough, and relevant. Vs discussion of diglossia is interesting but regrettably scant considering the preponderance of work done recently in the area of dialectology. Overall, Vs work would be an excellent addition to any introductory course on Arabic linguistics. [Erik S. Ohlander, University ofMinnesota .] A grammar of Meithei. By Shobhana L. Chelliah. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997. Pp. 539. This is one of two major grammars of Manipuri published in 1997, the other one being D.N.S. Bhat and M.S. Ningomba's Manipuri grammar (Munich: Lincom Europa). This might sound surprising, considering the inaccessibility of the language to foreign and Indian scholars, but it comes as a welcome addition to the available materials on this fascinating Tibeto -Burman language for which, by 1990, 27 Master's theses and PhD dissertations have been produced by native linguists. The book is based on the standard Imphal dialect ofMeithei spoken as the lingua franca of the northeast Indian state of Manipur and is based on the author's 1992 University ofTexas at Austin dissertation, A study ofManipuri grammar. A very attractive volume, Chelliah's grammar opens with maps, pictures, and an introductory chapter which encompasses various aspects of Meithei history and culture including the classification of the language, geography of the area, religion, political history, material culture, performing arts and sports, dialects, literature review, and a note on fieldwork and organization. The phonology chapter includes a comprehensive treatment of Meithei tone, exemplified with fundamental frequency graphs and concluding with a twotone analysis. Phonological rules, lexical and postlexical , are posited autosegmentally. C uses formal theoretical frameworks in her description and presents the data using a generative approach, opening the grammatical preview with phrase structure rules. She appeals to government and binding theory to explain various facets of the grammar such as anaphoric rules. Among the strengths of the grammar are the use of many informants and text-based elicitation. C addresses the importance of text-based data when she describes optional nominative case marking and volitionality . Unlike the Bhat and Ningomba grammar, C gives examples in afour-line interlinearizedformat and includes a Meithei-English glossary, a list of Meithei literary works, 22 pages illustrating the Meithei Mayek script, and 115 pages of interlinearized texts. The 22-page bibliography ofcited references is also impressive. The book contains nine chapters: 'Introduction', 'Phonetics and phonology', 'Grammatical preview', 'Grammatical relations and information structure', 'Root sentences', 'Subordination', 'Affixal morphology ', 'Compounding and duplication', and 'Functional and pragmatic aspects' (including information on indirect speech acts and evidentiality). The book is highly accessible to non-Tibeto-Burmanists and offers an incredible amount of data which should prove useful to typologists. [Carl Rubino, Australian National University.] Histoire de la linguistique: Des origines au XXe siècle. By Georges Mounin. Paris: Quadrige & Presses Universitaires de France, 1996. Pp. 230. This is a re-issue of the fourth edition of a text which first appeared in 1967. Within a year of its original publication, it had been translated from French into both Spanish and Italian, but it seems never to have been put into English. Perhaps this is because 1967 was also the first publication of R.H. Robins's A short history of linguistics (London: Longman), to which Mounin's book can readily be compared...


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