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700 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 62, NUMBER 3 (1986) inbarelytwopages (145-7), 'Languageandcriminology ' in eight lines (22), and "The Geneva School' (the shortest topic) in five lines (65). In most instances, N's brief summaries of subfields , theories, and historical aspects are excellent ; their conciseness makes them the kind of thing that even an advanced specialist might want to consult for a distillation of, say, Saussurean structuralism. But in the rare cases where N's text is inaccurate or misleading, its very brevity may well prove disastrous for German students ofEnglish language and literature getting their introduction to linguistics. On the positive side, these passages are few and involve some of the longest subsections of the book; they are thus outweighed by clear and accurate material. On the negative side, they concern some of N's major foci. Thus the discussion of 'Taxonomic structuralism in the USA' (76-88) inexplicably speaks of 'allophemes ' instead of 'allophones', and is confusing in its use of square brackets to indicate phonemes. The treatment of 'Transformational generative grammar' (91-119) switches the usual meanings of 'selectional restriction' and '(strict) subcategorization'; it delays and downplays the issue of innateness enough to make it appear that the complexity ofcertain generative formulations suffices to demonstrate their psychological unreality; and it takes no account of developments in syntax since 1972. These disadvantages are at least partially outweighed by the consistent integration into the text of topics from the field of contrastive linguistics (N's own primary area of expertise). These will surely be ofgreat value to the book's main audience, especially Appendix I, 'Linguistics and foreign-language instruction' (15968 ). Appendix II (169-71) contains two parodistic poems in English—F. G. Cassidy's ? modern linguistician' and John Spencer's 'On reading Chomsky's Aspects with a high temperature'—which appear to be otherwise inaccessible. All in all, N's introduction to linguistics fully achieves its goals. Although self-admittedly 'extremely simplified and often intentionally superficial' (15), it will certainly give its primary readers a concise survey of linguistics in all its major manifestations—without creating in them any impression that they know it all, but with every encouragement to learn more about the field from the many carefully chosen references which N provides. [Richard D. Janda, University ofNew Mexico.] La naissance de la grammaire moderne : Langage, logique et philosophie à Port-Royal. By Marc DoMiNICY . Bruxelles: Mardaga, 1984. Pp. 256. In the last twenty years, the Port-Royal Grammar (1660) andLogic (1662) have received growing interest from linguists and logicians, and this has resulted in an impressive number of monographs and articles. A major reason for this renewed interest was Chomsky's Cartesian linguistics (1966), which attemptedto showwhat 17th century philosophical grammar (in particular that developed by Lancelot & Arnauld) had bequeathed to modern generative linguistics . Chomsky's book has been severely criticized by historians oflinguistics, bothjustly and unjustly. Fortunately, Dominicy's book is not intended to re-examine Chomsky's case: although it has an almost exhaustive bibliography of secondary literature, this study is not meant as a critical 'state of the art', but aims at understanding and explaining what was going on at Port-Royal around the time when the Grammar and Logic were written. This is the more important since both works mark a crucial stage in the development of grammatical and logical theory. Of course, such an endeavor is an immense one, since it requires familiarity not only with the history of logic and of grammar, but also with the theological disputes linked with Jansenism—an immediate concern for the 'Solitaires ' of Port-Royal, and an interesting feeding ground for logical and grammatical reflections (e.g., on the ambiguity of words, on the semantic complexity of terms and expressions , and on representation through signs). D has accomplished this task brilliantly; I recommend his book as a masterful analysis of the intricacies and complexities of PortRoyal 's grammatical and logical theories, placed in their intellectual context. The context is sketched in the introduction (7-25), with special emphasis on the theological background (Jansenism, anti-Jansenism, and the role of Pascal). The other major component of the intellectual context, viz. Cartesianism, is dealt with extensively in Ch. I, 'L...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 700-701
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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