- Variability in second language acquisition: Proceedings of the tenth meeting of the Second Language Research Forum Ed. by Hartmut Burmeister and Patricia Rounds (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 67, Number 3, September 1991
- pp. 647-648
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- Additional Information
BOOK NOTICES 647 find the subjunctive mood beginning to fall by the linguistic wayside. Two papers in the section 'Language use' concern code-switching between Spanish and English. Rosa M. Fernández finds that speakers continue to exploit code-switching as a marker for group solidarity, despite negatively evaluating this strategy as a sign of deficiency. Rodolfo Jacobson determines that age, socioeconomic status, and gender interreact in an important way to help determine a speaker's preference for linguistic frame, whereas residence does not play a role. Nora González & Irene Wherritt describe the Spanish spoken by the predominantly Mexican immigrants to a small Iowa town, and Rosa. H. Yañez surveys Chicana compliment formulae, finding that, like their English counterparts, they follow strict syntactic conventions. The section 'Language pedagogy' begins with René Cisneros & Elizabeth Leone's emic approach to literacy, following Heath 1983 (Ways with words, Cambridge University Press). They conclude that literacy is an attribute offamilies, not of individuals, and that educators must assess the strategies which learners actually utilize¡n becoming literate. Both Margarita Hidalgo COn the question of "standard" versus "dialect "') and Ana Roca ('Teaching Spanish to the Hispanic bilingual college student in Miami' ) very perceptively treat problematic aspects of teaching Spanish to bilinguals and semispeakers . Teresa González-Lee evaluates the holistic approach successfully used by San Diego's medical school to teach Spanish to Englishspeaking medical students. In the 'Language policy' section. Lourdes Torres analyzes tactics that the dominant group in American society employs to deny social and linguistic legitimacy to minority groups; one of these is the 'exceptionalist' strategy exemplified by Richard Rodriguez' autobiography A hunger of memory (New York: Bantam, 1982). Ana Celia Zentella questions aspects of linguistic theory as it applies to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States; for instance, how does the concept 'speech community' apply to Spanish-identified neighborhoods where many young people are at best only semispeakers? A few of the papers on language use are marred by introspective survey techniques that virtually guarantee questionable conclusions; for instance, eighty percent of González & Wherrit's informants claimed never to mix Spanish and English, an astonishingly high percentage given Fernández' finding that codeswitching in her subjects' interviews occurred five to sixty-two times in eighteen minutes of conversation. However, the broad range of topics examined and general accessibility of the papers themselves will make this collection valuable for sociolinguists as well as for those specifically concerned with Spanish linguistics. The section on language pedagogy is particularly strong, and raises important issues for all those concerned with education in the Hispanic community . [Jaan Ingle, Louisiana State University .] Variability in second language acquisition : Proceedings of the tenth meeting of the Second Language Research Forum. 2 vols. Ed. by Hartmut Burmeister and Patricia Rounds. Eugene, OR: American English Institute, University of Oregon, 1990. Paper. Pp. iii, 735. $20.00. The Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) meeting in March 1990 was similar to the 1989 American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference held four months earlier, in that both primarily involved secondlanguage studies and both had plenary addresses with 'variation' themes. Unlike AAAL. however , SLRF was an international conference, and its proceedings were published. In their preface Burmeister & Rounds place variability, the theme of the conference, squarely in the context of universals: ? variationist model will have to explain why learners do not vary infinitely, a universals approach will have to include arguments on why variation occurs at all' (ii). The papers of SLRF's four plenary speakers are positioned at the beginning of Vol. I, and the other papers follow alphabetically across the remainder of the two volumes. The 36 papers, some theoretical and others empirical , involve diverse aspects of second-language acquisition that would not have been easy to group: production and comprehension: spoken and written text; phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon; developmental stages, interlanguage , and fossilization; literate and nonliterate learners; different native languages, dialects, and styles; aphasia; input and interlocator variables; attitudes; methodology; bilingual education; and testing. 648 LANGUAGE. VOLUME 67, NUMBER 3 (1991) This diversity is evident in the papers of the four plenary speakers. Roger W. Andersen ( 1 24 ) examines the use of verbal inflections, in context, to...