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BOOK NOTICES 487 seriously interested in Salish studies as well as by local Washington libraries concerned with promoting traditional Lushootseed language and culture. [Edward T. Vajda, Western Washington University.] An ethnographic grammar of the Eipo language spoken in the central mountains of Irian Jaya (West New Guinea), Indonesia. By Volker Heeschen. (Mensch, Kultur und Umwelt im zentralen Bergland von West Neuguinea 23.) Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1998. Pp. 412. Eipo belongs to the Mek family, a group ofclosely related languages spoken in several mountain valleys between areas occupied by speakers of Dani and Ok languages. The author's latest contribution to the ethnolinguistics of this remote area, this large-format paperbackjoins several previous volumes in the same series devoted to Eipo, including: W├Ârterbuch EipoDeutsch -English (Volker Heeschen, 1983, vol. 6,), with 5,682 main entries, and Kommunikation bei den Eipo (Volker Heeschen, 1989, vol. 19), a description of communicative styles and language change in a small speech community. The present work provides the first extensive description ofEipo phonology and grammar. Heeschen gathered his voluminous data during more than a dozen field trips made since 1977. The book is 'ethnographic' in the sense that H links his descriptions to specific cultural and pragmatic contexts. Rather than attempting to portray Eipo as conforming to a fixed norm, H describes the rules creating grammatical forms in Eipo, a language with about 400 speakers (22-23), as relatively fluid when compared to languages spokenby larger, more extensive populations. The book consists of three parts divided into several chapters each. Part 1 introduces Eipo culture and history (13-35) and discusses Eipo's position within the Mek language family (72-94). H identifies Mek as a low-level genetic grouping similar to the several dozen posited by William A. Foley (The Papuan languages ofNew Guinea, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986). However, H uses typological and lexical data to support Wurm's classification of Mek within the Trans-New Guinea phylum (Stephen A. Wurm, Papuan languages ofOceania, T├╝bingen: Gunter Narr, 1982), though the evidence suggests a very distant connection. In a somewhat rambling fashion, H discusses a medley of approaches used by previous scholars to describe 'exotic' languages (36-71) and selects elements from a variety of traditions for their relevance in describing Eipo. H justifies this eclecticism based on his own observations regarding linguistic selfawareness and language creation among the Eipo (95-114). Part 2 provides a meticulous, data- rather than theory-driven description of Eipo phonetics and phonology (115-40), word classes and morphosyntax (141-264), and syntax (265-356). Each sectioncontains numerous paradigms and other grammatical schemata, plus legions of example phrases and sentences interpreted from the vantage of the author's keen understanding of the ambient cultural context, a factor which if omitted would render the literal translations of many examples unintelligible. Finally, Part 3 (357-80) provides nine previously unpublished texts in Eipo and neighboring Mek languages. These texts deal with local myths and legends and are accompanied by interlinear glosses, a translation into idiomatic English, and copious ethnographic explanations. H's work represents a solid, multifaceted contribution to the study of New Guinea ethnography and linguistics and contains much that will be of interest to general typologists. Because Mek languages were until recently more poorly described than neighboring groups, this book contributes important data to the ongoing task ofestablishing genetic relationships between New Guinea's several hundred languages. Finally, H's conclusions regarding rates of vocabulary change in a language not known to have ever counted more than a few hundred speakers, with its typical absence of any fixed conservative norm, may have implications for broader studies of language contact and genetic linguistics. [Edward J. Vajda, Western Washington University.] People, countries, and the Rainbow Serpent : Systems of classification among the Lardil of Mornington Island. By David McKnight. (Oxford studies in anthropological linguistics 12.) New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp. x, 270. This book reflects over five years of field work conducted at intervals beginning in 1966 and contains a treasure trove of data on Lardil language and culture that would almost certainly have otherwise disappeared unrecorded. McKnight elicited information from his native speaker informants in a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 487-488
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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