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BOOK NOTICES 1001 cautioned about the narrow perspective and the highly selective index. [Jean-Claude Choul, University ofRegina, Saskatchewan.] Language and language acquisition: Proceedings of the Second Mons Conference ... September 8-12, 1980. Ed. by F. Lowenthal et al. New York: Plenum, 1982. Pp. xvi, 379. $42.50. A number of fadings make this book frustrating to read and review. Its title is misleading: only 30 of its 41 papers concern language, and only 21 of these directly pertain to language acquisition . Ofthese, only 10 are worth comment; the rest are a hodgepodge of observations, generalities , restatements of the literature, or abbreviations of papers published elsewhere. The translations occasionally stray from normal English usage, and misprints are frequent—I counted 87. The index includes no entries for language acquisition or sociolinguistics; it has two references for language, one for grammar. I will confine this notice to seven noteworthy papers in the book. C Long, 'The growth of language structure', presents a 'recursive developmental procedure for the construction ofsyntactic patterns', in the formal tradition of Roeper and Pinker. Long's procedure establishes a linear ordering among pairs of elements, but says nothing about constituency relationships. L. Siegel, 'The discrepancy between cognitive and linguistic abilities in the young child', repeats her criticism of Piaget for not taking chUdren's linguistic development into consideration when assessing their level ofcognitive development. R. N. Campbell, T. B. Macdonald & J. E. Dockrell, 'The relationship between comprehension and production and its ontogenesis', deals with color terms; they conclude that comprehension and production are not controded by a single lexical representation . H. S. Straight, 'Structural commonalities between comprehension and production products of monitoring and anticipation ', hypothesizes that these 'are partially inherent in their origins but are retained ... only by means of their continual interaction during on-going language performance' (179). It is not evident that Straight's theory can be reconciled with the findings of Campbell et al. A section on questions contains two papers of interest. M. Janta-Polcyznski, 'The "range" of a question as a perceived intention of the scope of information needed', illustrates the fundamental ambiguity of questions, and asks how a listener can ever arrive at an appropriate response. He argues for a pragmatic rather than a syntactic answer, but ignores entirely the role ofintonation. R. Manor, 'Answering questions', examines the role ofquestions in discourse, and presents an analysis of them as 'sets of ordered pairs of question-answer' (212). She does this to capture the similarity among such sentences as John ate the cake; Who ate the cake, John?; and Who ate the cake?, with the reactions which they elicit. A. Sinclair, 'Chddren's judgments of inappropriate speech acts', is a real gem. She presented six short scenes in a grocery shop to fiveand seven-year-olds, and asked them to identify what was 'odd' or 'funny' about them. She found that the five-year-olds focused primarily on the success of the material transaction, and less often on the success of the speech act. Indeed , the children would create elaborate explanations for the scenarios that violated felicity conditions. Sinclair's methodology is noteworthy for the way it combines all the features of a familiar linguistic exchange in a controlled setting —enabling the researcher to explore how children use discourse, context, syntax, semantics , and pragmatics to interpret events. The format ofthis book succeeds in capturing to a certain extent the discussion which took place after each paper. However, this in no way compensates for the poor quality ofthe majority of papers. [Clifton Pye, University ofBritish Columbia.] A longitudinal analysis of the acquisition of English. By Thom Huebner. Ann Arbor: Karoma, 1983. Pp. xxix, 232. This book is valuable because it is the first longitudinal case history of adult second-language learning, showing us actual changes in the subject's interlanguage at intervals spaced over about a year. The weakness of the book is its excessive preoccupation with theoretical argument , which limits the amount of space given to data. After a long review and critique of previous models of language acquisition, H presents his own study, based on seventeen taped interviews with Ge, a Hmong immigrant in his early twenties —fluent in Hmong and Lao, but...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 1001
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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