In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS437 Halle, M., and W. Idsardi. 1995. General properties ofstress and metrical structure. Handbook ofphonological theory, ed. by J. Goldsmith, 403-43. Oxford: Blackwell. Henton, Caroline; Peter Ladefoged; and Ian Maddisson. 1992. Stops in the world languages. Phonetica 49.87-7. Kenstowicz, Michael. 1994. Instructor's manual for phonology in generative grammar. Oxford: Blackwell. Khachatrian, Amalia. 1988. Zhamanakakits hayereni hncuytabanutyun (The phonology of contemporary Armenian). Yerevan: Yerevan Academy Press. Degerbygränd, 5 tr. 1 163 72 Sßnga Sweden American sociolinguistics: Theorists and theory groups. By Stephen O. Murray. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1998. Pp. x, 339. $29.95. Reviewed by Carl Mills, University of Cincinnati Although Stephen O. Murray's survey of the history of American sociolinguistics may be of interest to workers in anthropological linguistics, historiography, the sociology of science, and the nondiscipline of science studies, working sociolinguists are apt to finish the book more bemused than enlightened. To a 'native' (M's term) who thought he had been doing sociolinguistics for a quarter-century, this is a bizarre book. While M goes into minute detail covering the background, education, careers, and subsequent influence of some linguists, most of them involved in the ethnography of speaking, he ignores or minimizes the contributions of a host of important figures in American sociolinguistics. In addition, M fails to understand the nature of Chomskyan linguistics and its complex relation to sociolinguistics as the two subdisciplines have evolved over the past four decades. Worse, M misconstrues the fertile relationship between regional dialectology and sociolinguistics during the same period. Finally, by limiting the book to North American sociolinguistics, M misses or obscures the fact that the discipline has been, almost from its beginning, an international enterprise . One finds no mention of Peter Trudgill or Salikoko Mufwene or, since M casts a wide net, Howard Giles and his colleagues in the social psychology of language or, given the importance of language and gender, Coates and Cameron (1988) or, given her influence, Lesley Milroy. In his first sentence, M characterizes his work as a 'study ofpostwar anthropological linguistics in North America' (1). Had he entitled his book 'American anthropological linguistics', this reviewer would have had little quarrel with M's efforts. Anthropological linguistics is a rich and well developed field, and many of the founding texts of sociolinguistics stem from that particular tradition. But while it is difficult to distinguish between these two approaches to language in its social context, especially in the 1960s, the two fields have pretty much gone their separate ways since the 1970s, and each has developed its own theories, its own methods, its own set of research problems, and its own scholarly centers. Because of his focus on anthropological linguistics, it is easy to see why 'the history is Berkeley-centered' (263). Berkeley's longstanding tradition of outstanding research on Amerindian languages and the relations between language and culture receive a fair and extensive hearing in M's eleven chapters. Ch. 1 (1-3) lays out the plan of the book and sets it in the context of M's (1994) work on the history of linguistics in North America. Ch. 2 (4-17) contains the theoretical background of M's study. Sociologists of science may find this chapter interesting. As M says, 'Chapters 3-10 deal with leading theorists about the place of language in society' (1). If we insert the word some in the first prepositional phrase and keep in mind that most of the leading workers in sociolinguistics are absent, we can appreciate the wonderfully thorough and penetrating work M has carried out. Ch. 3 (18-46) is a long excursion into '1950s studies of lexicons and psychiatry'. Nearly 438LANGUAGE, VOLUME 76, NUMBER 2 (2000) seven pages are devoted to Benjamin Whorf. M's comments on possible relations between Whorfs ideas and Edward Sapir's are, in my opinion, on the mark and worth pursuing. One wonders whether so much space needed to be devoted to a figure who has had relatively little influence on sociolinguistics proper. There are also four pages on Morris Swadesh. Most of the remainder ofthe chapteris given over to a discussion ofthe relations between American structuralist linguistics and anthropology in the 1950s...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 437-439
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.