Middle English dialectology: Essays on some principles and problems, and: The English of Chaucer and his contemporaries By Angus McIntosh, Michael L. Samuels, and Margaret Laing; edited by Margaret Laing (review)
- Linguistic Society of America
- Volume 68, Number 4, December 1992
- pp. 851-856
- Additional Information
REVIEWS851 type that does not seem to have been described before. In most descriptions of bilingualism (including those surveyed in the book), code-switching is something you do. There exists a kind of code-switching that happens to you, and these two should be distinguished more clearly. I wonder if any of the scholars who have analyzed code-switching have themselves been victims of this condition . I recall a week at a phonology conference in Krems, Austria, where I experienced this kind ofinvoluntary multilingual code-switching. It so happens that I acquired both Estonian and German in childhood, Estonian being the mother tongue; English was introduced in the fourth grade (and continued through graduation), and is the currently dominant language. There were colleagues present at the conference from Estonia, from the U.S. and Great Britain , and from Germany and Austria, assembled in a German-speaking locality. I found myself addressing people in one of the three languages, or switching from one to the other, completely oblivious to which language I was speaking until my interlocutor pointed it out in case of a mismatch between person and language. I doubt whether an experiment could be designed to elucidate what prompts the emergence of one or the other language in this kind of multilingual code-switching, and I find myself in agreement with the author of this book in stating that linguistic theory is still a long way from being able to deal analytically with (at least this kind of) performance. REFERENCES Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hansegârd, Nils E. 1968. Tvâsprâkighet eller halvsprâkighet? Stockholm: Aldus/Bonniers . [New edition 1972.] Müller, Max. 1873. Lectures on the science of language. London. Poplack, Shana; Susan Wheeler; and Anneli Westwood. 1987. Distinguishing language contact phenomena: Evidence from Finnish-English bilingualism. The Nordic languages and modern linguistics 6, ed. by Pirkko Lilius and Mirja Saari, 3356 . Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press. Strevens, Peter. 1982. The localized forms of English. The other tongue: English across cultures, ed. by Braj B. Kachru, 23-30. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Thomason, Sarah Grey. 1986. Contact-induced change: Possibilities and probabilities. Akten des 2. Essener Kolloquiums zu Kreolsprachen und Sprachkontakten, ed. by Norbert Boretzky, Werner Enninger, and Thomas Stolz, 261-84. Bochum: Studienverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer. Whitney, William Dwight. 1881. On mixture in language. Transactions of the American Philosophical Association 12:1-26. Department of Linguistics[Received 21 July 1992.] The Ohio State University 222 Oxley Hall 1712 Neil Ave. Columbus, OH 43210-1298 Middle English dialectology: Essays on some principles and problems. By Angus McIntosh, Michael L. Samuels, and Margaret Laing; edited by Margaret Laing. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1989. Pp. xiv, 295. Cloth £24.90. 852LANGUAGE, VOLUME 68, NUMBER 4 (1992) The English of Chaucer and his contemporaries. By Michael L. Samuels and Jeremy J. Smith; edited by Jeremy J. Smith. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1989. Pp. vi, 126. Cloth £17.50. Reviewed by Elise E. Morse-Gagné, University ofPennsylvania A century ago Richard Morris, an expert and prolific editor of Old and Middle English texts, wrote in frustration, 'We have no standard of comparison by which we can decide in what county or part of a county a certain ms. was written' (1892:xxii). The articles reprinted in these two volumes illustrate the growth of the attitudes and techniques which have at last resulted in such a standard of comparison and have greatly enriched the field of Middle English dialectology. 1. All but one of the nineteen papers appearing in Middle English dialectology (MED) have been published before. Thirteen were written or (in one case) coauthored by Angus Mcintosh, four are by Michael L. Samuels, and two are by Margaret Laing, who edited the volume and wrote the useful Introduction (ix-xiv). The first eleven papers establish the philosophical orientation and general methodology used by Mcintosh and his colleagues; the later chapters illustrate applications to specific problems in Middle English textual analysis. The standard philological technique for localizing Middle English texts, using phonological and morphological criteria, was established in the latter half of the nineteenth century. As Morris noted, this technique may enable one to...