LINGUIST List 10.1013

Wed Jun 30 1999

Books: The General Linguistics of Answering Yes/No

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  1. Lisa Natascha Barrett, Jones, Bob Morris: The Welsh Answering System (Mouton de Gruyter)

Message 1: Jones, Bob Morris: The Welsh Answering System (Mouton de Gruyter)

Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 15:50:16 +0200
From: Lisa Natascha Barrett <>
Subject: Jones, Bob Morris: The Welsh Answering System (Mouton de Gruyter)

Bob Morris Jones
The Welsh Answering System
1999. 23 x 15,5 cm. XVIII, 360 pages.
Cloth. DM 198,-;oeS 1445,-;sFr 176,-;approx. US$ 124.00
ISBN 3-11-016450-7
(Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs 120)

This book researches the various ways of saying 'yes' and 'no' in
Welsh. In many languages, responding with 'yes' or 'no' is
simple. This work shows that in Welsh a variety of forms can be used,
depending upon syntax, morphology, lexis and semantics.

The opening chapter considers data from a number of languages to
establish a typology of answering systems which allows the main
features of the Welsh system to be introduced. Further chapters
present descriptive analyses of the forms of Welsh responsives, the
influences which determine their appropriate use, and their discourse
functions. Another chapter provides a formalized analysis of the main
descriptive details. The descriptive and formal analyses are exploited
in the remaining chapters to show how young children from different
language backgrounds cope with a complex system of rules. To this end,
the work researches an extensive corpus of children's spoken Welsh,
achieved with the aid of the programming language Icon. The study
reveals the nature of variation in young children's use of 'yes' and
'no' forms, and quantifies the extent of the variation with
statistical analyses which are produced with the computer package

Two main causes of variation are discussed: language contact as
facilitated through bilingualism, and internal influences involving
isomorphism, discourse functions, and semantics. The analyses are
copiously illustrated with examples; figures and regular summaries
help to present the discussion; and tables are provided in support of
the statistical analyses.

Overall, the work will appeal to scholars of various interests: the
chapters which analyse the answering system provide interesting data
for theorists and comparative linguists; the chapters which describe
and attempt to explain variation will be of interest to
sociolinguists; and, of course, the whole work will appeal to
Celticists. About the author: Bob Morris Jones is a Senior Research
Associate at the Department of Education, University of Wales,

For order information please contact:
Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG
Genthiner Strasse 13
D-10785 Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 30 260 05-0
Fax: +49 30 260 05-222

For the United States, Canada, and Mexico please contact:
Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 
200 Saw Mill River Road 
Hawthorne, NY, 10532, USA 
Phone: (914) 747-0110 
Fax: (914) 747-1326
e-mail: Customer
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