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

206 LANGUAGE, VOLUME 66, NUMBER 1 (1990) stance. Missing from the study is a detailed analysis of RAs in terms of larger principles of conversational organization (e.g. in works by Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff, and Gail Jefferson ), as well as one zeroing in on discourse information flow (Wallace Chafe, John Du Bois). After a brief introductory section (1-12) in which N explains that by RA he means only overt speaker-oriented adverbials, he examines in Ch. 1 (13-28) previous treatments of RAs and of their connection to modal particles and sentential adverbs, and other expressions which have a speech-characterizing function. Ch. 2 (29-44) outlines N's classification of three basic RA types and thirteen subtypes. Ch. 3 (45-193), the core of the dissertation, opens by examining the viability of speech-act theory for describing pragmatic aspects of RAs. The remaining sections ofthe chapter give for each subtype in turn a list of typical RAs, a semantic characterization , exemplification, and discussion of a representative RA or two. The final chapter (1949 ) summarizes the findings and discusses the functional criterion underlying the use of RAs. As the main goal of the work is the semantic classification of the adverbial expressions and the conditions of their use, N has drawn up a sizable corpus on which to base his study. While it is somewhat irritating that the reader must wait until well into Ch. 3 for any of the corpus examples to surface, it is the composition of the corpus itself that proves to be the study's main weakness. Two thirds of the examples presented are ones that N has apparently constructed himself; the remaining third come from newspapers and weekly news magazines, and include material translated from English. N is thus able, not surprisingly, to reduce the function ofall RAs to a single principle: an expressed desire on the part of the speaker to avert hearer misunderstanding. In N's analysis, if speakers believe they have violated (or will subsequently violate) some conversational maxim, they will use an RA to stave off any questioning from the hearer. While this explanation may be plausible in some instances, additional factors may motivate an RA. N does not consider, for example, the possibility that some RAs function as lexicalized expressions employed to buy processing time. Nor does he consider RAs as floor-maintaining devices—other than preventing hearer interruption due to a failure to communicate clearly and concisely. When we are dealing with discourse function, it is unlikely that one general principle will satisfactorily cover all uses of a phenomenon such as RAs. Yet N is confined in part by his data. Teasing out the intricacies of discourse pragmatics is hardly possible without close attention to ordinary language use. While his semantic description is competent, N has shortchanged the pragmatic analysis by not examining spoken language in context. [Stephan SCHUETZE-COBURN, UCLA.] Language in mind and language in society : Studies in linguistic reproduction . By Trevor Pateman. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987. Pp. xiii, 194. $47.00. Those linguists who are wondering if their research is relevant to current linguistic theory need to read this book. Pateman will convince you that your work is current. Those linguists who are already convinced that their research is relevant to the theory of language also need to read this book. Pateman will show you that your work is most likely relevant only to a theory , not the theory. Theoretical linguists need to understand other theories better if they wish to understand their own theories at all. Pateman does not have the theory, either. At times he indicates that he might, especially in Ch. 5, where he defends cognitive theory as perhaps being the missing ingredient in efforts to resolve the language-is-biological versus the language-is-cultural dichotomy. But by the end of the book (Ch. 7) he is busily discussing the importance of truthfulness and trust in language (communicative theory)—and leaves us with the thought that truthfulness must bejoined with comprehensibility (or intelligibility) and with justification (rightness) and with truth itself before the ability to reproduce a speech act can truly be understood. The book is a collection of seven...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 206-207
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.