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REVIEWS441 accompanies school language teaching. From a more positive angle, it does produce a degree of 'obsolescence' in which state of suspended animation, as it were, language death may be avoided indefinitely. J next provides brief but detailed and insightful accounts of the situation of two related Celtic languages, Breton and Cornish. After centuries of strong French centralizing language policies, Breton survives. This is no doubt more evidence for the impotence of language policy. A gap has developed between the few remaining first language (and dialect) speakers and the politically motivated second language speakers of the standardized variety, Néo-Breton, which looks likely to survive the dialects. Cornish is also described. With no native speakers after the end of the eighteenth century, revival efforts started from scratch in the 1920s, making use ofearlier attempts to describe the language. There has been continuing controversy over which form of the language to revive so that issues oforthography, phonology, and syntax remain in dispute. Revived Cornish, taught as a second language to a small number of militants, has little apparent chance of success. School use and standardization, J concludes, are certainly not enough to guarantee survival. Whether the devolution ofpolitical authority to the new Welsh National Assembly will encourage the national identity and institutional support needed for major revitalization efforts, and whether Welsh will be accepted by children as a language to speak—the critical step with Hebrew revitalization—remain open questions. But J's detailed studies do also suggest a fruitful area for consideration of the often-neglected issue of peer-group influence on language maintenance and shift. J, like most of us studying language maintenance, focuses attention on the need for natural intergenerational transmission. As long as the parents continue to speak the language to their children, we assume, the language is protected. This acceptance of what Harris (1995, 1998) has labeled the 'nurture assumption', the belief in the paramount importance of parents and home influences, ignores all the evidence adduced by Harris of the much greater influence of peer groups on children's language patterns. Harris's group socialization theory would hypothesize that the children continue to speak English and their own nondialectal variety of Welsh because they accept the language values of neither school nor home. The gallicized Breton of the néobretonnants (33 1) then is much the same phenomenon as that evidenced by the immigrant children who, as Harris points out, regularly speak both the home and the new language with the same accent as their new peers. The challenge for those struggling to reverse language shift is, if Harris is correct, to find a way of introducing different values into the peer groups. J's contribution to our understanding of language shift has been a thorough, balanced study, theoretically and methodologically sophisticated, of some very significant communities where obsolescence and revival are in continuing tension. REFERENCES Harris, Tudith Rich. 1995. Where is the child's environment? A group socialization theory of development. Psychological Review 102.458-89. -----. 1998. The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York: Free Press. Department of English/Language Policy Research Center Bar-Han University 52.900 Ramat-Gan Israel [spolab@mail.biee.ac.il] Historical linguistics: An introduction. By Lyle Campbell. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999. Pp. xx, 396. Reviewed by Herbert F. W. Stahlke, Ball State University Recent years have seen a subtle shift in historical linguistics texts. Earlier works, like Lehmann (1962), focused primarily on Indo-European, although Anttila (1972) included coverage ofBalto- 442LANGUAGE, VOLUME 76, NUMBER 2 (2000) Finnic together with extensive treatment of IE. Texts like these presented comparative-historical methodology and theory strongly interwoven with the history of linguistics as related to the development of this methodology, essentially a history of IE scholarship. Crowley (1996), responding to the needs of students in the southwest Pacific, focused attention on Malayo-Polynesian , touching rather more lightly on Indo-European. C brings this shift to a sort of completion by grounding his exposition broadly in several American language families, as well as MalayoPolynesian , and Uralic, while using more familiar data from Germanic, Greek, Romance, and Indo-European only when the topic demands it. This...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 441-444
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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