In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

660 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 67. NUMBER 3 (1991) In contrast, the Systematic Phonetic Files are at first glance opaque. Entries are presented in a 'Systematic Phonetics Code' (SPC), which was designed to facilitate computer processing of the data. The first five entries for the vowel of two, for example, are presented in the SPC as follows: | BJA |; | BJAeaj |; | BJAefj |; I BJAffd I : and | BJCeab | . These sequences are equivalent to the following narrow phonetic transcriptions, respectively: [«]: [«4-]; [«"]; [uU<]; [tt'4·*]· The SPC uses a three-letter combination to identify twenty primary (positional) features, six secondary (conditional) features and their possible combinations, and seven tertiary (modificational) features and their possible combinations. The nuclear core of a syllabic complex is written in capital letters, while the nonnuclear, peripheral, or glide elements are written in lowercase letters. Once the researcher is familiar with the principles that govern the SPC, the Systematic Phonetics Files become much easier to decipher. Nevertheless, the files remain suggestive only For example, the most frequent pronunciation of two (j efaBJA j or [««]), which occurs 442 times, must still be analyzed according to geographical or social variables not presented in the 77 to determine whether it is significantly different from other responses. The vast amounts of material with which the American linguistic atlas projects deal has made analysis difficult and publication of data longdelayed . Pederson et al. have made a valuable contribution to the study of language in the Gulf States with their timely publication of LAGS in its various forms. The 77, in conjunction with other print analogues, will assist the interested language scholar in evaluating the raw data, but the serious scholar will undoubtedly want to purchase the AAM in order to take full advantage of the work of Pederson et al. [Bruce Southard, East Carolina University.] Speaking freely: Unlearning the lies of the fathers' tongues. (The Athene series.) By Julia Penelope. New York: Pergamon, 1990. Pp. xl, 281. Cloth $37.50, paper $16.95. Julia Penelope's Speaking freely could change the way both linguists and nonlinguists think, not only about the shape of grammars, prescriptive and descriptive, but most importantly about the English language itself. Readers familiar with the literature on language and sexism will find all of the familiar evidence outlined in P's book: male marginalization of 'female ways of speaking', 'generic' he and man. semantic disparity in lexical items (e.g., major/majorette), and derogatory references to females. The power of P's argument comes from her treating this and other evidence of sexism in English within the explanatory thesis that the English language is sexist because white men have controlled its development in ways designed to ensure their dominance of women and nonwhite men. P's book has several virtues that recommend it for use both in language awareness courses and in courses more specifically on language and sexism. Besides the wealth of examples and supporting arguments that she provides for the traditional concerns with sexism in English, at least half of P's book presents an analysis of the dishonest use of discourse tools such as deixis, passives, impersonal verbs, psych-predicates, and topicalization. Males and those under the control of males, for example, use the deictic ir frequently to avoid having to name crimes such as male rape of children (126-43). And although P concentrates on American culture, she provides evidence from Dyirbal. Yana, Japanese, and Mandarin to show that these languages, and the cultures in which they are spoken, have serious problems with male domination of women as well. One of the most interesting and convincing arguments made here is that prescriptive grammar is one of the primary tools white men use to control women. P points out that, although people are told that using English prescriptively will empower them, those females who acquire prescriptive grammar actually lose power, since the use of prescriptive grammar marks them as being nonmale. The obvious point that is usually forgotten in the classroom is that white males regularly rise to positions of enormous power without using prescriptively correct English (xiii-xxxvii). For those readers teaching in conservative communities where they are in danger of censorship imposed by either students or administrators , I would not only remind them that derogatory terms for females (which P reports on in detail) are frequently considered obscene, but also inform them that P demystifies and reveals hidden male domination by using blunt language—language that might offend some. For example, in exposing the hypocrisy of the BOOK NOTICES 661 male use of the word liberated, P writes, 'Women who allow men to fuck them are liberated ; those who don't, aren't' (171). P's hopeful final chapter, 'Speaking out' (202-36), surveys the growing literature on alternatives to male-dominated language (PUD: Patriarchial Universe of Discourse). These alternatives range from Suzette Haden Elgin's invented language Láadan to feminist dictionaries such as Mary Daly & Jane Caputi's Wickedary, to P's own attempts to teach women that they can escape PUD only by understanding how it controls them. Although it is clear that P's intended audience is female, as a white male academic who is comfortably liberal I was challenged to recognize that my self-righteous two-hour lecture on sexism in English, presented each semester to undergraduate students in introductory linguistics courses, is not enough to effect the most important revolution towards freedom in recorded history. I'm not sure what is enough, but P's thorough and provocative book is a step in the right direction. [Donald E. Hardy, University of North Texas.] Meaning, models and metaphors: A study in lexical semantics in English . By Gunnar Persson. Stockholm : Almqvist & Wiksell, 1990. Pp. 205. SEK 125.00. This monograph compares various semantic theories in the perspective of actual language use. It is a further development of earlier research on English semantics in a functional perspective conducted by Ulf Magnussen and Persson. Meticulous attention is paid to the taxonomy of lexical description and the construction ofviable anagogic models for word meaning and relations. In the 'Introduction' (1-6) P observes that a 'polarization' exists between introspectionbased and corpus-based studies (4). A perspective which P terms 'functional' would combine these two approaches. Ch. 2, 'Theoretical preliminaries ' (7-28), provides a thorough, though selective, survey of linguistic semantic theory in English and creates a context for the book's eclectic approach. The ontological importance of metaphor in everyday language and in scientific contexts is described and, in fact, forms the backbone of the book. The chapter also discusses theoretical models of the structure of the mental lexicon—'core' models based on analytic semantic features and 'fuzzy' models based on prototype theory. P advocates a functional model which combines features of the two, including both 'categorial concepts' (which bear a strong resemblance to semantic features) and typical attributes which consist of 'standard' connotations and real-world knowledge. Chs. 3-7 focus on various problems of meaning . In each, a particular problem ofword meaning is described and previous theoretical attempts to deal with it are discussed. P then focuses on the way in which his functional model deals with the phenomenon, relying in part on data of actual language use to verify the model's application to various theoretical principles . 'Hyponymy or meaning inclusion' (Ch. 3, 3682 ) discusses how a theoretical model based on discrete categorization of semantic features is unsuitable for functional approaches. A fuzzy hyponymy model based on function is proposed instead. 'Incompatibility or meaning exclusion' (Ch. 4, 83-93) claims that taxonomic opposition between 'binary terms' such as 'dead' and 'alive' (84-86) does not create a theoretically satisfying lexical description, and advocates the use ofpositive definitions with typical attributes instead. Ch. 5, on 'Synonymy' (94-136), looks at lexical synonymy through the tool ofcomponential analysis, which is found to be insensitive to context . Types of synonymy relations are discussed , such as 'connotative variants' (100) and collocation. The functional perspective forces the conclusion that, while the study of partial synonymy is valuable, complete synonymy is only a useful theoretical construct, due to the importance of context in describing synonymous relations. The chapter also includes a brief foray into sentential synonymy and its relation to truth conditions. Ch. 6, 'Ambiguity' (137-64), studies structural , referential, and lexical ambiguity through the functional mirror, and redefines how the meaning relations of each works through P's functional model. Ch. 7, on 'Metaphor' (16574 ), examines traditional approaches to metaphor , mainly what are generally known as the 'comparison' and 'interaction' theories. P claims that a nontraditional version of the comparison theory, based on 'subjectively perceived similarity' (180), provides a sound basis for metaphor. An interesting Gricean analysis bears on the creative aspect of metaphor con- ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 660-661
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.