LINGUIST List 12.2699

Mon Oct 29 2001

Review: Frommer & Finegan, Looking at Languages, 2nd ed

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  1. [iso-8859-1] H�l�ne Knoerr, Review of Frommer & Finegan, Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics

Message 1: Review of Frommer & Finegan, Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 09:52:09 -0500
From: [iso-8859-1] H�l�ne Knoerr <>
Subject: Review of Frommer & Finegan, Looking at Languages: A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics

Frommer, Paul A., and Edward Finegan (1999) Looking at Languages: A
Workbook in Elementary Linguistics, 2nd ed. Harcourt College Publishers,
paperback ISBN 0-15-507826-7, xii+372pp (1st ed., 1994).

H�l�ne Knoerr, University of Ottawa

The back cover suggests that the book can be used in conjunction with any
introductory language or linguistics textbook although it is the
accompanying volume to Finegan's textbook Language : Its Structure and Use.
It provides practice through exercises on 28 natural languages as well as
artificial languages such as Klingon.

The book is divided into 10 chapters reflecting the structure of Language :
Its Structure and Use ( Third edition) and also corresponding to the main
components of linguistics as a science. Morphology comes first, followed by
Phonetics, Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics, then issues such as
Register and Dialect have their own chapters, followed by a chapter on
Writing; the closing chapter is about Historical and Comparative
Linguistics. The book also offers a Glossary and three Appendices (two
transcription systems and a list of all the languages used in the book) as
well as a short bibliography. An answer key is available separately for
Chapter 1 Morphology
Chapter 2 Phonetics
Chapter 3 Phonetics
Chapter 4 Syntax
Chapter 5 Semantics
Chapter 6 Pragmatics
Chapter 7 Register
Chapter 8 Dialect
Chapter 9 Writing
Chapter 10 Historical and Comparative Linguistics

Each chapter opens on a list of alphabetically-ordered key terms and
symbols. However, users must refer to the glossary at the end of the book to
find the meaning of each term, which may be inconvenient. Within each
chapter, exercises are divided into two categories : those based on the
English language and those based on other languages. Exercises are ranked
from simple to complex.
Chapter 1 : Morphology offers 7 exercises based on English - 2 exercises on
lexical categories (including stress-based), 3 on morphemes (types,
derivational affixes, constituency and word formation), and 2 on vocabulary
expansion (processes and productivity) - and 6 exercises based on 7 other
languages (4 on morphemes in Spanish, Hebrew, Malay/ Indonesian, Persian,
and 2 on inflections (Latin and Lakota).
Chapter 2 : Phonetics contains 8 exercises based on English (consonants,
phonetic transcriptions, consonants and vowels identification), 3 exercises
in general phonetics (description and classification of sounds), and 4
exercises based on 4 other languages (Hawaiian, Wichita, Biblical Hebrew and

Chapter 3 : Phonology lists 5 exercises based on English (allophones,
phonological rules, consonant clusters, morphology/ phonology interactions)
and 20 exercises based on about 20 other languages (allophones, phonological
rules, syllable structure, stress, morphology/ phonology interactions)

Chapter 4 : Syntax contains 9 exercises based on English and dealing with
sentence types, constituency and tree diagrams, grammatical relations, and
transformations. Seven exercises in 11 languages (including Klingon) also
illustrate these aspects as well as word order.

Chapter 5 : Semantics deals with types of meaning, lexical semantics,
function words and categories of meaning, semantic roles and sentence
semantics through 8 exercises based on English and 2 based on Malay/
Indonesian and Persian.

Chapter 6 : Pragmatics allows for practice in English on categories of
information structure, pragmatic categories and syntax, speech acts, and the
cooperative principle (including the Gricean Maxims); pragmatic categories
and syntax are also illustrated in Chinese through two exercises.

Chapter 7 : Register illustrates register variations and how registers are
marked in English via a number of formats (personal ads, recipes) and other
exercises; comparing registers is illustrated in both English and Persian.

Chapter 8 : Dialect does not separate English from other languages in 6
exercises dealing with regional and social dialects, and ethnic varieties of
American English.

Chapter 9 : Writing offers 3 exercises based on English (functions and
systems of speaking and writing) and 8 exercises on the writing systems of
8 other languages.

Chapter 10 : Historical and Comparative Linguistics contains two exercises
on historical development in English and 8 exercises on language comparison,
phonological change and reconstruction in 5 other languages (including

Practical exercises and the application of theory are essential in the study
of linguistics. A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics is a useful tool for
teachers and students of linguistics because it provides such exercises from
a wide range of languages, including fictional languages, and comprehensively
covers the field of Linguistics. It is an excellent introductory workbook,
as it uses a variety of exercise formats in a systematic way. The exercises
begin with the easier examples in English and progress to the more
challenging examples in other, lesser-known languages.

Formats range from True/ False-type questions to categorizations to
identification to open-ended questions requesting a deeper level of thinking
and asking for specific linguistic examples. Some exercises appear extremely
easy (In the list of English words below, indicate whether the stress falls
on the first or second syllable) while others are extremely challenging
(Isolate the five vowels and eight consonant symbols after analyzing Korean
words in their Hangul orthography and comparing them with their phonetic

As the authors recommend, this volume is probably best used in conjunction
with Finegan's textbook Language : Its Structure and Use, since it follows
the textbook's structure and general organization. It could certainly not be
successfully used on its own, since no introduction to each chapter is

A Workbook in Elementary Linguistics is a user-friendly workbook offering
invaluable practice opportunities to introductory-level students of linguistics.

H�l�ne Knoerr was born, raised and educated in France. She holds a Ph.D.
in Applied Phonetics and currently teaches French as a Second language at
the Second Language Institute of the University of Ottawa. Her research
interests include integrating phonetics in the language curriculum,
teaching pronunciation through multimedia, and developing multimedia
course material for French as a Second Language. She has authored several
books and textbooks, published many papers and given a number of
presentations at international conferences on those topics. She is also
editor of the Revue canadienne de linguistique appliqu�e/Canadian Journal of
Applied Linguistics.
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