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BOOK NOTICES 497 gies: (1) the word 'God' allaahu < A allaahu with the preservation of the nominative case, as in the Muslim call to prayer, allaahu lakbar 'God is great'—not from allaah (28); (2) wallaahi 'by God' < A wallaahi and not wa allaahi (249); and (3) kalaa 'no'! is said to derive 'perhaps from Tamashek' (154), whereas I believe it is clearly from A kallaa 'no' ! with degemination (cf. KCh kul 'all, every' < A kull [176], and alhaku 'reward for a service' < A alhaqqu 'right' [24]). H's dictionaries are well-executed and easily serve as models for other linguists who plan to engage in lexicographic work on other relatively unstudied African languages. [Alan S. Kaye, California State University, Fullerton.] Pathways of the brain: The neurocognitive basis of language. By Sydney M. Lamb. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1999. Pp. xxii, 416. This has proven to be a very difficult book to evaluate. On the one hand, it reads as though it were an introductory linguistics textbook although it was certainly not conceived as such. Consider my reasons for this pronouncement: rudimentary statements such as: 'speech and writing are markedly different from one another' (16), 'linguists can represent texts in phonological transcription' (19), 'the relationship between sound and meaning is in principle arbitrary' (35), or 'In initial position the phonetic distinction between the stops which are usually called ''voiced'' (/bdg/) and those called "voiceless" (/ptk/) is really the absence or presence, respectively, of aspiration' (279) (a statement with which I disagree). On the other hand, in an attempt to deal with more involved linguistic issues such as the relationship between language , thought, and intelligence (291-92), Lamb raises important but by no means original issues, e.g. whether there can be thought without language, concluding , disappointingly, that the term thought 'can't really be taken too seriously' (292). But it is most difficult to reconcile this aforementioned perspective with the following scintillating sentences penned by L: 'What is thinking? What are we doing when we are thinking?', and 'Can we think without words?' (11). Tackling the last question head-on, surely every American English native speaker knows, more or less, how much $14 buys today (say, dinner in a restaurant but not a diamond ring or car) and that it is more than $13 but less than $15. Clearly, the concept of $14 would not mean very much if there were no words representing numeration per se. The answer to L's aforementioned question is not completely satisfying since the question is not really answered. However, L inconsistently further expatiates with scattered remarks throughout such as: 'Tust as the forms oflanguage can influence thought ... so notation can influence scientific thinking' (273). So much for 'thought' and 'thinking' not being taken so seriously . Some chapters appear to be textbookish but germane in fields other than linguistics. For example, Ch. 16, 'Introducing the brain', has all the makings of an introduction to a physiological psychology text (293-319). Why should a linguist know that the hypothalamus lies under the thalamus (297), or 'the hippocampus is actually a paleocortical structure' (298)? Ch. 17, 'Neurons and nections', is in parts even more complicated for linguists than the preceding chapter, with exhausting statements such as: 'And myelinated axons conduct action potentials up to one hundred times faster than unmyelinated ones' (323). The reader of this tome will surely be aware of the author's relationship to stratificational linguistics and will therefore be curious about its current status. Mention of strata is still a part of L's views. But one does not necessarily have to be a stratificational linguist to come to the conclusion, as L and other linguists do, that language is an intricately woven system of systems ("The stratification of language' [34-97] and 'Applying the unity fallacy to the linguistic system' [284-89]). L is still using the terms phonon and morphon, both of which never became popular. The phonons 'apical', 'front', 'back', 'labial ', 'nasal', and 'unmarked' (all of which every linguist knows) do not add much to our knowledge, I believe (i.e. referring to them as phonons), nor do morphonic representations tell us any more about the workings of language than its older designation morphophonemic did. Indeed, this tome covers much familiar ground as L asks, 'What is a morpheme?' elucidating with the alternation wife-wives and the suppletive good-better (51 ). He also continues to use the term sememe. Finally, let me comment on two absorbing topics. Firstly, L opines that knowing a language is somehow tantamount to knowing its lexemes (285). But clearly, this is a distorted view since we can have two fluent native speakers, one ofwhom knows twice as many words (or more) as the other. These persons, thus, share the linguistic systems of the language but not, in equal measure, its vocabulary. Secondly, in the section on the origin of language (285-89), mo· nogenesis is, L writes, 'actually not even a very sensible question' (287). I agree, since I think we will never be in a position to prove monogenesis or polygenesis . The 'sophisticated' form of this question, according to L, is 'do all the languages now spoken in the world have a common source?' (287). L answers in the affirmative and continues: 'We may also entertain the possibility that Proto-World might have been somewhat less highly developed than the languages we find on this planet today, a truly primitive language in that it was simpler in some ofits features 498 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 76, NUMBER 2 (2000) than modern languages' (289). Needless to say, mainstream historical linguists (including myself) do not, for many reasons, advocate Proto-World. According to the information on the back cover, the book is supposed to 'go . . . beyond earlier linguistics ', and it is unique because it does not 'leave linguistics isolated from science'. I am sadly not in agreement with either contention. In conclusion, I do not think this work will exert much influence on the direction oflinguistics in the new millennium. [Alan S. Kaye, California State University, Fullerton.] Language, identity and marginality in Indonesia: The changing nature of ritual speech on the island of Sumba. By Joel C. Kuipers. (Studies in the social and cultural foundations of language, 18.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Pp. 183. In the western highlands of Sumba, an island in Eastern Indonesia, the local language is classified into panewe Weyewa 'the Weyewa language' and panewe tenda 'the words of the ancestors' (5, 35). This book is about panewe tenda, Weyewa ritual speech, used in traditional speech genres such as a ceremonial greetings, offertory prayers, divinations, orations, placation songs, personal songs, and songs accompanying ceremonial activities like wet riceplanting or the dragging of a tomb stone (37). Weyewa ritual speakers draw on a stock of about 3,500 traditional parallelisms and link them together as they perform any of the traditional genres. Such discourses must be fluent and eloquent, and narratives frequently last all night (6, 130). Some of the ritual speech genres, especially the personal laments (lawiti), have been elaborated in new settings such as schools and performances for tourists, but the more formal, religious and political genres are losing local interest. The genre that is most rapidly disappearing is the gruff, passionate, persuasive , loud, and highly structured monologue called panewe mbani 'angry speech' of the kabani-mbani 'angry men', the powerful, fierce, competitive, violent , and charismatic traditional leaders (47-48). This book explains why certain types of traditional genre, such as the laments, thrive, and new features of ritual speech (verbal applause, prestige naming, contest songs) emerge, while others disappear. Understanding this as an outcome of the interaction of linguistic and social change, Kuipers adopts 'locally defined concepts of genre as the starting point for analysis, rather than beginning with sentence structure, phonemes, or morphemes' (6). Unfortunately , this also means that the book does not contain any information on the latter. According to Weyewa language ideology, lawiti are the voice ofmarginality, humility, and subordination , while panewe mbani is the voice of power and independence. K presents the historical and cultural context to explain why the latter lost importance while the former is now the modern 'traditional' genre. Starting with the Dutch pacification of Sumba in the nineteenth century, the expression of mbani 'anger, threatening, rage' in the panewe mbani became considered deviant and disrespectful rather than noble or righteous. Under the subsequent Indonesian (Javanese-style) government, new ways of 'humble' and 'cunning' emotional expression were adopted, for which the lawitiappeared to be an appropriate vehicle. In addition, under Dutch and Indonesian law the Sumbanese left their fortified villages and moved away from their ancestral ground to which many ofthe ritual performances, including the panewe mbani, are connected, so that these performances lost their social importance. Following the introduction in Ch. 1, Ch. 2 contains an overview of Sumbanese history since the nineteenth century, including interesting evaluations of the Sumbanese and their culture by the Dutch who had been in contact with them. Ch. 3 describes sociohistoric aspects of the the traditional panewe mbani. Ch. 4 discusses a shift in the naming of humans and nonhuman prestige objects such as horses and bemo's. Ch. 5 illustrates the changing forms of speech by comparing the solo, 'angry' performance of thepanewe mbani with the collective and respectful interaction in modern Sumbanese classrooms. This chapter also contains valuable remarks on the differences between Asian (Indonesian) and Western (American) teaching strategies and classroom interaction . The amount ofWeyewa data presented in the book is limited: about 150 lines (some of only 2-3 words) are all we get to see of actual Weyewa ritual speech. Most linguists will also find it worrying that none of the illustrations is glossed or in any other way structurally analyzed—a particularly grave omission m view of the fact that there is no Weyewa grammar or dictionary available as yet. Also, though the book discusses changes in the function of certain genres, it does not discuss changes in the linguistic structure (of these genres). In this context it is telling that K seems to equate 'linguistic structure' with 'patterns of use' (153). Also, the subtitle of the book suggests a discussion of ritual speech on Sumba in general, but the book discusses the ritual speech of just one of the languages of Sumba. The one other major source ofSumbanese traditional speech, a 349page dictionary containing 3,178 parallelisms in Kambera, a language spoken in Eastern Sumba, is not even mentioned (Oe. H. Kapita Lawiti luluku Humba/Pola peribahasa Sumba, Ende-Flores: Percekatan Arnoldus, 1987). ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 497-498
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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