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260Reviews International English Usage. Loreto Todd and Ian Hancock. Beckenham: Croom Helm, 1986. 520 pp. £16.95. Essentially this book is a combined handbook of acceptable English usage, gazetteer of English varieties around the world, and glossary of linguistic terms used in describing English. Even in the first function it will be useful to all but the most practised native writer of the language as well as to the advanced learner. One of the most interesting things that I learned was the extent to which my (British) usage has been permeated by US influences (which have often presented themselves simply as more modern). I will never say speciality for specialism again. However, the last thing Todd and Hancock would want to do is to turn this or any other reader into a language purist. There is a kind of sub-plot running through the whole book, a struggle between giving authoritative advice and avoiding the guise of the prescriptivist . Typical headwords are -ed forms, food and drink (listing differences between UK and US usage), hopefully, Ghanaian English, rankshifting, speech in literature. There is a concentration on syntax, morphology, phonology, and lexis, both in the range of entries and in the description of varieties of English. Stylistics and semantics are given some coverage, but sociolinguistics, historical philology and pragmatics (not listed) receive little attention, and their terminology is scantily covered. Consistent with this is the treatment of discourse analysis as the study of cohesion above the level of the sentence, with no mention of speech act theory. The terminology of classical rhetoric is given in some detail, presumably in response to its continued use in some teaching traditions. Particularly good are the entries on the presentation of written work, and there are some very clear and concise accounts of aspects of (Standard) English syntax and morphology. There are plenty of examples, and in only a very few cases (e.g. ergative) do they fail to illustrate how a term is used in context. The entries dealing with stylistic issues are rather weaker. The term (extra) stress is misused in relation to metrics (9, 173), where what is meant is that there is an extra syllable. For alliteration, the reason that the term is sometimes Reviews261 applied to vowels is that in a verse form where alliteration is compulsory, vowels count as zero consonants, and all alliterate with each other (and IM). The entry on emphasis equates it with foregrounding, but neither takes account of the stylistic distinction between paradigmatic and syntagmatic foregrounding, leaving it unclear how a pattern (such as alliteration) can produce emphasis. The sub-categories of rhyme (feminine, masculine, end, internal, eye, etc.) are not mutually exclusive. The item on Newspeak is likewise weak— the comparison of Newspeak simplifications with those of pidgins and creóles is a red herring, but because the authors are partisans of the latter, they find themselves somehow defending the former. The term euphemism is used for evasion of tabu terms whether the new term is less or more offensive. In a book of this kind a great deal of information and instruction is packed into a small space, and different readers will object to the necessary simplifications and generalizations according to their own priorities. My own specialism is Scots, and I hope I am right in saying that this entry (Scottish English), which is badly inaccurate, is an aberration in a book which may over-simplify, but is not generally beset by inaccuracy. The quotation from MacDiarmid is from "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle" not "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi." Scots is not "the only English dialect with its own standardised orthographic conventions," because its spelling is not standardized, although there is a style sheet which a few writers adhere to. It is a great cliché of the history of Scots that the lack of a translation of the Bible was crucial in its loss of status after the sixteenth century, yet we read here that "It had ... its own translation of the Bible." The confusion has arisen from the choice of Nisbet's translation of 1520 to illustrate Older Scots (the term is not given). But this translation, of the New...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 260-267
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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