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656 LANGUAGE. VOLUME 67, NUMBER 3 (1991) argues that the performative and constative meanings of a word such as apologize (as in / hereby apologize and / apologized) cannot be reduced to an abstract meaning that they both share. Both essays share the same basic argument that the semantic reduction cannot be done with an abstract semantic meaning absent the particular performative or constative semantics of their pragmatic instantiations, since there is no consistently predictable relation between the performative and constative meanings of a verb. In 'Making sense of communicative competence ' (1 12-35), 'Communication and language' (136-50), and 'Language as social interaction: Integrationalism versus segregationalism' ( 197— 209), H focuses in various ways on the assumption in most of linguistics that 'communication presupposes language' rather than 'language presupposes communication'. So, for example, the notion of communicative competence in pragmatics usually assumes a stable base of Saussurian langue or Chomskyan linguistic competence on which to build knowledge of how to use language in particular social contexts . In these essays H calls for a new linguistics based on the premise that whatever language structure there may be exists as a result of social context and communication. Thus the British linguist H sounds much like many American linguists who have investigated the same thesis using different terminology; consider e.g. Paul Hopper's 'emergent grammar' or Talmy Givón's 'syntacticization' of discourse. Other essays in this volume focus on word boundaries, translation, primate communication , crypto-scriptism in linguistics, and textual semiotics. Harris's detailed, careful, and concerned discussion of basic issues of linguistic theory and methodology make this book valuable and challenging reading for all students of language, regardless of their theoretical stripe. [Donald E. Hardy, University of North Texas.] An historic tongue: Studies in English linguistics in memory of Barbara Strang. Ed. by Graham Nixon and John Honey. London: Routledge, 1988. Pp. xiv, 247. $72.50. The book contains fourteen essays on the structure and use of English, each with a strong historical dimension. To this extent it reflects the interests of the late Barbara Strang, Professor of English Language at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1964-1982 and author of one of the most useful histories of English. Like other such volumes, it places some delightful little 'special interest' papers alongside what are effectively footnotes to nonexistent texts, which would not have survived careful refereeing. We will not always agree on the right classification, but I would rate among the former Roger Lass' rumination on the four Old English poems with runic 'signatures', which have stretched scholarly imagination, and Richard Hogg's claim that the emergence of the past tense form snuck alongside sneaked (attested for the first time, according to the O.E.D., in the late 19th century ) represents a 'phonaesthetic' development. Joan Beal offers a useful study of the Early Modern use oí that with conjunctions—though that, before that, etc.; she claims that these forms are more productive than sometimes thought and that the apparently redundant that reinforces elements whose conjunction status is somewhat ambiguous, perhaps as the result of transitions taking place. In addition to several historical papers, there are essays on the methods of the Tyneside Linguistic Survey compared with those of the Survey of Sheffield Usage and with those of the Labovians (Graham Nixon), on the publicschool origins of 'Received Pronunciation' (John Honey), and on the discourse properties of the criminal statute, dealing with interconnectedness and crossreferencing in a short 1973 act protecting badgers (Michael Holy). This juxtaposition reflects a belief of Strang's that the major key to understanding the history of English and the changes that it underwent is understanding the social uses of the language. This makes the book discursively descriptive and somewhat antitheoretical; it is, the blurb says, 'a "real-data" collection, in that its contributors share the view that the facts of language , patiently gathered, recorded and collated, must govern the theory within which they are described'. This promotes a wilful disregard of theory and analytical work where it could be helpful, as in N. F. Blake's work on negation in Shakespeare. He tells us that do and the auxiliary verbs 'had a stylistic rather than a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 656-657
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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