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

352 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 remains ambiguous, and moreover lends credence to the social construction thesis about what constitutes mental illness that he rejects. Shorter's strict adherence to a biological paradigm for defining and treating psychological disturbances leads him to assert conclusions he cannot defend, especially with respect to psychoanalysis. Towards the end of the book he asserts that Adolf Griinbaum exposed 'the nullity of such notions as "transference,"' never explaining how this was done. This kind of manifest and largely UlUlecessary ideological anti-psychoanalytic bias, which persists throughout the book, seriously weakens whatis otherwise an impressively detailed and intriguing history of psychiatry. (MARSHA AILEEN HEWITT) John Hewson and Vit Bubenik. Tense and Aspect in Indo-European Languages: Theory, Typology, Diachrony. John Benjamins. xii, 404. us$89.00 Gustave Guillaume (1883-1960) is the Nikola Tesla of linguistics. His architectonique du temps, a theory of tense and verbal aspect with a considerable following in his native France and in Quebec, is generally taken in the Anglo-Saxon world to be a bit, well, eccentric, and as such is widely ignored by scholarsf which is a pity. Here Hewson and Bubenik, of Newfoundland's Memorial University, make the architectonique the framework for a brilliantly detailed survey of the development of tense and verbal aspect systems in just about every branch of the Indo-European language family and over almost all of its four millenia of recorded history: chapters are accorded to Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Classical Armenian, Old Church Slavonic, Albanian, Tocharian, Latinf to the Baltic, Celtic, and Germanic languages, as well as to most of their various modern continuations , from Afrikaans to Yidgha. For Guillaumiens,linguistic time is subjectivef not objective, created in a successive process of 'chronogenesis' and based on the movement of the mind forwards ('ascending') in imagination and backwards ('descending') in memory. First come the 'quasi-nominar forms, memorial sung, experiential singing, and imaginative to sing. Then the eventf its Event Time encompassed by a Universal Time, is expressed in the subjunctive mood. At the third and further stages, indicative tenses develop. Our authors view this process as both ontogeny (how a child acquires tense) and phylogeny, an historical progression reflected in the elaboration within primitive Indo-European first of purely aspectual systems in which events are simply complete or incomplete, and only later of tense distinctions linking events to the time of speech. One major typological dichotomy discerned is between languages such as Ancient Greek in which tenses are descending, i.e., basically imperfectiveI and those such as English in which they are ascending- perfective. This explains why I sing can be future in HUMANITIES 353 meaning but never truly present, for part of the present act remains as yet uncompleted. Arcane (and at times almost occult) as Guillaumist theory may be, Hewson and Bubenik's terminology is, for the most part, quite standard and where it is not, is easily translated; their methods of analysis are careful and scarcely differ from the norm elsewhere; on the whole the Guillaumist framework little intrudes. Indeed theirconclusions (such as that tense in the Indo-European language family developed out of a tenseless, aspect-based system) don't differ much from those reached via other theoretical bases, though they are led to argue, for example, that the difference between the French passe.('sang') and imparfait ('was singing, would sing') is not one of aspect but rather one of tense. To be sure, as is usual with scholarly works, every scholar will find here something to argue with. The scholarship displayed is impressive, and the book, with its masses of data, should serve usefully for many years both as a reference work and as a bibliographical guide, albeit with some gaps and the odd error: Ruiperez's well-known study of Ancient Greek aspect is ignored, the presentation of Zeno Vendler's verb categories is a bit muddled, and at one point we are told that the middle of the seventeenth century is 'just two hundred years ago.' Such occasional lapses do not however detract from a work which would be welcome on the bookshelves not only of scholars of language diachrony, Indo-European, and the semantics oftense and aspect...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 352-353
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
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.