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

984 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 60, NUMBER 4 (1984) north German universities from which nearly all the contributors come. Historical linguistics is, as usual, ignored; core fields of synchronic linguistics —phonetics, phonology, morphology— are neglected or barely touched upon; and there is a frequent lack oftheoretical orientation. Significantly , the previous year's interest in Chomsky 's latest work on syntax is not repeated here. The second volume contains 27 papers dealing with semantics, machine translation, text linguistics, and pragmatics. The initial section, 'Semantics and logic' , contains seven articles on topics ranging from formal logic to the semantics ofthe subjunctive in the Romance languages (P. Ferreira). In debating logical solutions to the Bach-Peters paradox, G. Todt & A. Oberschelp argue that two new logical devices are needed in order properly to describe the use of the definite article in natural language: a two-place definite description operator (ixy), and a twoi place existential uniqueness quantifier (3xy). Elsewhere, the same two authors introduce an extensionally defined formal language LA— which, because it recognizes only one wellformed category ('expressions'), is flexible enough also to handle intentional structures. Finally , in discussing the dynamic aspects of the logical system LA7, which can formalize questions as well as statements, G. Todt & J. Schmidt-Radefeldt show the relevance for the semantics of questions of distinguishing (logically defined) presuppositions from mere assumptions . Of the three papers in the section on 'Linguistics and data processing', two are by researchers working in the section for machine translation at the University of Saarbrücken. Whereas A. Blatt presents a procedure utilizing syntactic and semantic features for the semantic disambiguation of English verbs for translation into German, M. Weißgerber demonstrates how NP's can be disambiguated by reference to coherences specific to the text type, i.e. the 'scene' to which they relate. The eight papers under 'Text linguistics' treat topics such as the connection between title and text (P. Hellwig), strategies for enhancing the attractiveness of factual texts (A. Rothkegel), and various textual types, e.g.jokes (U. Ulrich). G. Antos' discussion ofexpressions which comment on textual formulations stresses the multidimensionality of the success of speech acts: not only their performance but also their formulation is relevant. In a nice paper on the semantics of overstatement ('hyperbole'), N. Norrick proposes a model which simultaneously handles both the descriptive and the interactional part of the topic. The final nine papers deal with 'Conversational analysis and pragmatics'. A few of the contributions here are very weak and do not seem to lead anywhere, e.g. R. Fiehler's catalog of the different ways in which people instruct others on how to use an IBM typewriter. But E. Hentschel presents a very interesting study oîhalt and eben, two particles which are usually considered south and north German synonyms, roughly meaning 'That's just the way it is.' Using a questionnaire, she shows that in the south the two are clearly distinguished, halt being friendlier, warmer, weaker etc. and eben the opposite; in the north, halt has not yet been fully integrated, although the same differentiation seems to be developing. R. Meyer-Hermann & R. Weingarten find that the interactional function of 'weakenings' ('Abschwächungen') in therapeutic discourse is to relieve the client of obligations which the utterance brings, and thus to give him more latitude in answering. In attempting to clarify the notions 'perlocutionary act' and 'perlocutionary effect', E. Rolf argues (unconvincingly, I believe ) that the two are independent of each other, since reaching the goal of an action is not a precondition for the performance of that action . While this might arguably be true of some actions like Eng. warn, it certainly does not hold for actions like persuade: if the desired effect is missed, the speaker has only tried to perform the action. In addition, Rolfemploys a definition of perlocutionary effect that would apparently include any hearer reaction. By and large, these papers are quite stimulating . Taken as a whole, the two volumes offer a considerable variety of material, and are of at least average interest; however, the reader must pick and choose from the often uneven fare. If numbers are any indication, text linguistics and pragmatics appear to be the 'in' thing: together they comprise...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 984-985
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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.