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1004 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 60, NUMBER 4 (1984) in the classroom. In 'Language study for the slower learner' (99-128), E. W. Hawkins insists that FL use must serve the purposes ofpotential future laborers in the European Community by instilling an awareness oflanguage variety. Like many of the ideas presented in the book, this one could well be applied to the US situation. In 'The learner of above-average ability' (129-63), D. Nott provides insightful suggestions for classroom use. His emphases on pairand group-work, role-playing, and the use ofauthentic materials are not new, but are supported by compelling arguments and experiences in work with British 'grammar school' pupils. Cammish's second article, 'The language teacher as a "snapper-up of unconsidered trifles " ' (164-85), also abounds in suggestions for adapting materials to the classroom situation. Sound-effect tapes and pictures as non-verbal stimuli for language production, along with advertising materials and epitaphs, can be used to teach as well as to entertain. Soles' article discusses assessment and testing of student progress and material evaluation. Relying on recent research in listening comprehension, he suggests how oral and communicative competence —for the present authors, the most uniformly accepted goal of FL teaching—can be evaluated. Like many of the others, he rejects translation and dictation as effective means of teaching or testing. Most of the contributors seem to agree with Soles when he writes that 'the ultimate aim of language teaching is to hear pupils using the second language without prompting and without embarrassment for communicating their own needs' (203). To this end, the authors have provided many new ideas and raised several questions which should ultimately lead to improved teaching, and consequent better mastery of foreign languages. [Thomas A. Lovik, Berkeley.] The talking cure: Essays in psychoanalysis and language. Ed. by Colin MacCabe. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981. Pp. xiii, 230. Originally presented in 1978 at a colloquium at King's College, Cambridge, these essays deal with the special use of Saussure's notion of the sign in relation to Freud's psychoanalytical insights into meaning and interpretation. Much recent research in the European structuralist tradition has been heavily influenced by the work of the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who in turn has used linguistic ideas from Jakobson and Benveniste as well as Saussure. Lacan 's work is in French, in a very difficult and idiosyncratic style, and is thus inaccessible except to the most dedicated and fluent readers of French. This collection therefore performs the great service of introducing Lacan and his ideas to English-speaking readers. All the essays are presented in very straightforward and lucid terms, with a minimum of technicaljargon. The authors, who represent various academic fields, have evidently tried to phrase their points so that they can be understood without special background or assumptions, requiring only some familiarity with the major works of Freud. This is not to say that all the ideas discussed here are immediately clear to the non-specialist; but the discussion, as well as the references and the summaries of Lacan's work, will offer linguists and others some hope of understanding what has been going on in a field of research which has been been very influential in the study of literature and language. The main questions of interpretation discussed in these articles are ones in which the 'real' meaning of an expression or discourse is not invariantly associated with minimal units, or derived compositionally from its parts in a regular way; here meaning is heavily contextdependent and variable from one situation to another. Such questions of interpretation might seem quite foreign to linguists concerned with semantics. One of the most interesting aspects of these essays is that they show how even the most unconstrained associations ofmeaning and form can be reduced to Saussurean associations of a signifier and a signified. Martin Thorn's essay, which begins the book, is an extremely compelling and clear exposition of how Lacan extended the notion of the sign to account for Freudian interpretations of dreams and for the utterances of psychotics. In dreams, the manifest content conceals meaning instead of encoding it; meaning is discovered only through chains of...


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