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260Reviews Raidt, Edith H. Einführung in Geschichte und Struktur des Afrikaans [Germanistische Einführungen). Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1983. Schoonees, P. C, et al. Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal. Vol. 1. Pretoria: Staatsdrukker, 1970. —. Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal. Vol. 2. Pretoria: Staatsdrukker, 1974. Sundkler, B. G. M. Bantu Prophets in South Africa. London, 1940. Valkhoff, M. Studies in Portuguese and Creole, With Special Reference to South Africa. Witwatersrand UP, 1966. [Combrink, however, calls Valkhoff's views "untenable " (Combrink 86, n. 5); see Combrink for a summary of the views on the origins of Afrikaans.] British English, A to Zed. Norman W. Schur. New York: Facts on File, 1987. xvi + 477 pp. $35.00. Allen Walker Read has traced the history of a literary genre in the comparative description of British and American English which he calls the "parallel list." The earliest example of the genre Read cites is from an article on "The English at Home" in a popular magazine, The Galaxy, dated June 1872. A recent and extended example is Norman Schur's British English, A to Zed, published 115 years later. Schur's book is the third edition of a work that has appeared under as many titles as it has had editions. First published in 1973 as British Self-Taught: With Comments in American, it reappeared in 1980 as English English, and then Reviews261 again in 1987 as the version under review. Apart from shuffling , abridgment, and augmentation of the front and back matter in the three editions, the main changes have been the deletion of a few old entries and the addition of a good number of new ones. For example, the entries under the letter N expanded from 87 in the first edition to 117 in the second and more modestly to 122 in the third. The revision from one edition to the next has not always been made so carefully as one might wish. For example, the American equivalent of British child-battering is said to be child beating. That is fine, except that the discussion of the term adds, "But note that the American term would imply sexual abuse in Britain," which is confusing, until one looks at the second edition of the book, in which the American equivalent is given as child abuse. Perhaps, recognizing that in the US child abuse generally implies sexual abuse too, Schur or his editor changed the American equivalent but neglected to strike the comment. Similarly, under coul, the reader is told to "See cowl." But there is no such entry. The same unobeyable command is given in the second edition. If one goes back to the first edition, however, the cross-reference in fact refers. That edition contains a main entry cowl defined as a "water tub" carried by two men on a heavy stick called a cowl-staff. Neither Longman nor Collins enters the word cowl in this sense; Chambers does and calls it dialectal or archaic. The deletion of the entry was doubtless wise, but the cross-reference should have been cleaned up too. Schur's work is in many ways a typical example of its genre, but also in many ways one of the best, despite the shortcomings that arise from imperfect reediting and other causes. The parallel list format has some inherent weaknesses . At its simplest, it implies a one-to-one correspondence 262Reviews between British and American terms that are seldom quite equivalent. Schur has tried to deal with that problem by supplementing the American equivalent terms he gives for Briticisms with comments that are usually short, but sometimes fairly extensive, essays on the subject. They are often the most readable part of the volume, filled with informative and amusing insights into British-American cultural differences. The extended essay on martini begins with the perversity of the British in understanding the word to mean warm vermouth , dry or sweet as chance will have it, and ends with advice about what to do in England if you should want a bloody Mary. British English, A to Zed includes both the familiär old shibboleths of British-American differences and a healthy addition ofless well-known terms. It is especially good on...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 260-266
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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