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762LANGUAGE, VOLUME 50, NUMBER 4 (1974) healthy trend. Ifthe limited output is due to lack of alternatives, then should not the. Center for Applied Linguistics be encouraging the investigation of other urban language situations ? REFERENCES Labov, William. 1966. The social stratification of English in New York City. Washington , D.C. : Center for Applied Linguistics. ------. 1969. Contraction, deletion, and inherent variability of the English copula. Lg. 45.715-62. ------. 1972. The internal evolution of linguistic rules. Linguistic change and generative theory, ed. by R. P. Stockwell & R. K. S. Macaulay, 101-71. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Labov, William; P. Cohen ; C. Robins ; and J. Lewis. 1968. A study of the non-standard English of Negro and Puerto Rican speakers in New York City. (Cooperative research report 3288.) New York: Columbia University. Wolfram, Walter A. 1969. A sociolinguistic description of Detroit Negro speech. Washington, D.C. : Center for Applied Linguistics. Zwicky, Arnold M. 1972. Note on a phonological hierarchy in English. Linguistic change and generative theory, ed. by R. P. Stockwell & R. K. S. Macaulay, 275-301. Bloomington : Indiana University Press. Language by ear and by eye: the relationships between speech and reading. Ed. by James F. Kavanagh and Ignatius G. Mattingly. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1972. Pp. xiv, 398. $10.00. Reviewed by Frank Smith, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto This book comprises the revised and edited proceedings of a conference of linguists and psychologists on 'The relationships between speech and learning to read', sponsored in May 1971 by the Growth and Human Development branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The first problem confronting the reviewer of such a volume is to determine which of its merits or flaws should be attributed to the editors, which to the conference organizers, and which to the current state of the arts involved. To use a not inappropriate medical analogy: to what extent should a confusing clinical case study be blamed on the physician who wrote it up, on the limitations of the diagnostic reports to which he had access, or on the perplexing condition of the patient himself? Let me state my verdict at the outset. Language by ear and by eye is a valiantly cleaned-up transcription of a poorly-organized conference on a field of study that is very sick indeed. I shall offer my reasons, from the field to the conference to the book. There are two basic issues : first, the nature of the relationship between spoken and written language (in this instance, generally English), which is a linguistic question ; and second, the nature of the relationship, if any, between the manner in which speech and writing are learned, understood, and produced, which is a question for psychologists. A third issue is frequently confounded with the second, namely the manner in which reading should be taught. The current state of inquiry into all aspects of these questions, perfectly reflected in the volume under consideration , may reasonably be characterized as a welter of preconceptions, misconceptions , and general confusion. REVIEWS763 For example, there is a widespread preconception that written language is somehow parasitic upon speech, that writing is 'speech written down', although the sense and relevance of such an assertion is rarely made explicit. Linguists have not, however, established how written and spoken language are related, although Chomsky &Halle 1968 have argued that it is not at anysuperficial level ofgraphemephoneme correspondence. It is difficult to find a one-to-one mapping between writing and speech at any level in any language, e.g. between orthography and phonology, in word frequency, or in discourse structure. Yet it is frequently asserted or assumed that speech is languageā€”and that writing, if it is language at all, is so by virtue of the fact that it is a written representation of speech. But it is easy to demonstrate that written language cannot in fact be decoded into speech unless its meaning is first determined, which is the reason that automatic reading devices resist invention (for summaries of these arguments, see Smith 1973). It is rarely considered that the physical characteristics of writing and speech might be regarded as alternative and equally direct manifestations of underlying meaning, with neither form having any logical or...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 762-765
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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