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  • A source book for Irish English by Raymond Hickey
  • Joseph F. Eska
A source book for Irish English. By Raymond Hickey. (Library and information sources in linguistics 27.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2002. Pp. xii, 541 & CD-ROM. ISBN 1588112098. $150 (Hb).

This volume is intended to offer easy access to both linguistic and nonlinguistic references to those [End Page 839] interested in Irish English (also commonly known as Hiberno-English). An enormous amount of information is provided, making the book of great value to individuals approaching the subject matter for the first time as well as to specialists. Those concerned especially with dialectology, sociolinguistics, and language contact phenomena will find much of interest in its pages.

The first section (1–32) provides an outline of the history of the English language in Ireland (starting in the late twelfth century) and examines early documents of the language from the late twelfth to the late sixteenth century. The second section (33–55) briefly discusses the issues with which scholars of Irish English have principally concerned themselves and provides some exemplary references. These include the identification of Irish English; its history; the debate over whether characteristic features of the variety are retentions or result from contact with Irish Gaelic; attitudes about Irish English; studies of its phonetic, phonological, and syntactic properties; subvarieties of Irish English; the variety as depicted in literature; and relationships abroad.

The third section (57–457) is an annotated bibliography of 3443 linguistic (and some relevant nonlinguistic) publications that appeared up to late 2000 and bear upon the study of Irish English. It is subdivided into the general themes of ‘English in Ireland’; ‘Extraterritorial varieties’, including English in other historically Celtic-speaking areas, North America, and elsewhere; ‘Additional languages’ (i.e. the Insular Celtic languages and Norse, Flemish, Anglo Norman, Shelta, Polari, and Romani); ‘General references’ on nonlinguistic topics; and ‘Collections’ (i.e. collected volumes on a wide range of subjects). The annotations are very helpful, though sometimes colored by H’s own views. Not every item is annotated, and some do not provide complete bibliographical information. The volume is rounded out with a series of appendices, an index of authors cited, an explanation of the software found on the accompanying CD-ROM, and a shortish list of some items that appeared or were presented too late in the publication process to be included in the bibliography proper.

The CD-ROM contains the bibliographic databases and annotations and a variety of software programs for managing them. It can be run under Microsoft Windows 98 or a subsequent version. Also included are a variety of help texts and reference files in .rtf format, along with further additional bibliographic items published too late to appear in the printed volume (readers are referred to H’s homepage for an up-to-date supplement to the printed bibliography). This volume and CD-ROM will be of great value to scholars of Irish English and related areas.

Joseph F. Eska
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


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