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652 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 67, NUMBER 3 (1991) the question of the origin of language, and de Saussure's few remarks on the genesis ofhuman speech. Sylvain Auroux's 'La question de l'origine des langues: Ordres et raisons du rejet institutionel ' (11:122-50) places the infamous 1866 interdiction by the 'Société linguistique de Paris' on discussion of this very question within its intellectual context, presenting a classification of some fifty thinkers from Plato through the end of the 19th century according to the various theories (divine revelation, innate, human invention , natural; II: 13 If.). Anthropological, biological , and psychological approaches are included in other essays, some but by no means all ofwhich represent attempts to deal with contemporary questions. This is true of issues like creóle studies, 18th-century investigations of the medical phenomenon of dumbness as a possible clue to language genesis, Sigmund Freud's views on the 'magic' of words, the concept of 'modernity' as developed by Karl-Otto Apel and Jürgen Habermas, and 'new' readings of Chomsky and Artaud. In summary, these forty-one essays represent a contribution to the history of theories of language origin rather than a survey of current investigation . [John M. Jeep, The University of Chicago.] An introduction to the pronunciation of English. By A. C. Gimson. 4th edn. London & New York: Edward Arnold , 1990. Pp. xix, 364. Cloth $49.50, paper $18.95. Nearly Anselmian in its virtues—one can hardly conceive of a more comprehensive or better organized reference work—is A. C. Gimson 's introduction to Received Pronunciation (RP). Though G first published this account of RP in 1961, he has twice revised and supplemented the book to keep it up-to-date in both descriptive accuracy and theoretical orientation . This fourth edition has been revised posthumously by his student and colleague at University College, Susan Ramsaran. The book has three parts. 'Part I: Speech and language' (1-58) is a brief overview of speech as a medium ofcommunication, articulatory and acoustic phonetics, and phonemic analysis. G's exposition is thorough and lucid, albeit somewhat more advanced than one might expect from an introductory work. G refers to, but does not explain, certain dialectal features of British English (17), constructs of wave physics (20), and some experimental techniques or articulatory phoneticians (9-18). 'Part II: The sounds of English' (61-219) is the heart of the book. G gives an exhaustive catalog of the speech sounds of RP: each phone's description includes (i) a list of its orthographic realizations, (ii) a detailed discussion of its articulation, (iii) its variants in dialects other than RP, (iv) its historical sources, and (v) advice on its pronunciation for foreign learners . A typical articulatory description is the one for III: 'The short RP vowel III is pronounced with a part of the tongue nearer to centre than to front raisedjust above the half-close position: the tongue is lax (compared with the tension for /i:/), with the side rims making a light contact with the upper molars' (103). Advice to foreign learners is similarly detailed: 'Some learners (especially Scandinavians) are apt to articulate /tf, d;j/ with too much lip-spreading and overpalatalization , producing sounds resembling [tç, dj]. Particular attention should be paid to the shortening of sounds preceding the syllable-final ItSI ¦ ¦ .'(177). G also supplies statistics for the relative frequency of all the phonemes of RP. Among consonants InI holds the preeminence, occurring 7.58% of the time (219); /a/ at 10.74% and IV at 8.33% are the runaway favorites among vowels (149). 'Part III: The word and connected speech' (233-311) treats stress, phonotactics, intonation , and sandhi phenomena in RP. G's discussion is brief, yet characteristically detailed. Advice for foreign learners is again generously sprinkled throughout. Moreover, G has included an appendix (312-41) devoted solely to tips for the foreign learner. G's 'Introduction' is satisfying and useful, but not perfect in every conceivable way. In many places G warns foreign learners against non-RP pronunciations on the grounds that such will be perceived as 'vulgar or dialectal' (122), 'socially undesirable' (180), or 'a defective substitution' (209). Do these stigmatizations reflect the prejudices of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 652-653
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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