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BOOK NOTICES 993 are 'synchronic abstractions' shared by several dialects. (The decision not to present the actual lexical items in each dialect is unfortunate, since such a list would be considerably more valuable for future historical/comparative research in Oromo.) These books present readable descriptions of particular dialects within Boni and Oromo, and ofthe general dialect situations. They should be useful to anyone doing historical or comparative work in East Cushitic. [Douglas Biber, USC] Central Somali: A grammatical outline . By John I. Saeed. (Afroasiatic linguistics, 8:2.) Malibu: Undena, 1982. Pp. 43. The Somali language can be divided into three main dialectal groups: Common, Coastal, and Central. Most previous linguistic studies have dealt solely with Common Somali, the most prestigious and widely-spoken. But Central Somali is also widely used (with more than 250,000 speakers), and differs significantly from Common Somali. Thus the present grammatical overview adds an important component to the description of the Somali language. S follows traditional descriptive techniques, dividing his outline into phonology, noun phrase morphology, verbal morphology, syntax, and a vocabulary of ca. 500 words. The major linguistic features within each division are described with numerous examples, but little formal analysis. S's primary concern is to present a descriptive overview of the most important grammatical features in Central Somali. As such, this study should be useful to any researcher interested in Somali or Cushitic studies . [Douglas Biber, USC] Paralipomena of Korean etymologies. By G. J. Ramstedt. Collected and edited by Songmoo Kho. (Mémoires de la Société Finno-Ougrienne , 182.) Helsinki: SuomalaisUgrilainen Seura, 1982. Pp. 295. Mk. 75.00. The case for a genetic relationship between Korean and Altaic still largely rests on the evidence collected by the founder of Altaic comparative linguistics, Gustav John Ramstedt (1873-1950), in his Studies in Korean etymology (Helsinki, 1949). Hailed by some as 'a highly valuable book, containing abundant and precious material for a comparative grammar ofthe Altaic languages' (N. Poppe, HJAS 14.321 [1951]), but denigrated by others (A. Sauvageot, BSLP 46:2.226-8 [1950]), SKE has shown itself to be both popular and durable, particularly in the Republic of [South] Korea and the USSR. Almost all Korean-Altaic etymologies found in ROK publications of the past three decades ultimately derive from SKE, which is also one of the two non-Russian sources consistently cited for etymologies throughout the two volumes of V. I. Cincius et al. (eds.), SravniteVnyj slovar' lunguso-mariczurskix jazykov (Leningrad , 1975, 1977). Even the most convinced adherent of R's thesis has long had to admit that SKE contains many problems and defects as it now stands. The volume was sent to the press in the final months of R's last illness. The 'Introduction' that he had completed in ms was not even to be found in the book when it finally appeared. Most important of all, an ominously large number of SKE's citations in many languages, including (but by no means limited to) Korean, do not survive close scrutiny today. Every form and meaning in SKE must be verified before further citation, or before comparisons in which they are involved can be further exploited (which, incidentally, was done rather too seldom in compiling the otherwise estimable Tungus comparative dictionary cited above). Just how great the problems and defects of SKE actually are was recently demonstrated by Staffan Rosen (An investigation of the Korean material in Poppe's Vergleichende Grammatik, Teil I; Uppsala, 1979). Restudying the 82 Korean etymologies which Poppe (1960) took over more or less intact from SKE, Rosen showed that for only 21 was the Korean lexical evidence entirely correct, and hence actually suitable for further Altaic comparison (though additional formal or semantic revision was also necessary for many of these as well). For some 40 more of Poppe's Korean citations from Ramstedt, major revisions or corrections were required in forms, meanings, or both. Nine of the forms could not be verified in available Korean lexical sources for any documented stage of the language . Three of these are clearly ghosts generated in SKE; the other six may be somewhat more substantial, but at least for the time being also appear quite ghost-like...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 993
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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