"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more
To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.
Farmer, Ann K., and Richard A. Demers (2001) A Linguistics Workbook, 4th ed. MIT Press, paperback ISBN 0-262-56143-3, xi+280pp, $21.95 (1st ed. 1986).
Shamila Naidoo, IsiZulu Programme, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa & REUPUS, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
[This book is published as a companion to Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication, reviewed in the previous issue http://linguistlist.org/issues/12/12-3152.html --Eds.]
PURPOSE OF BOOK AND OVERVIEW The authors, Farmer and Demers, succinctly capture the purpose of the workbook - it is "intended to make doing linguistics possible". The workbook should thus be used in conjunction with the textbook, Linguistics An Introduction to Language and Communication. A Linguistics Workbook contains 74 practical exercises, using examples from several languages, and thematized under the following chapters: Chapter 1 Morphology Chapter 2 Phonetics Chapter 3 Phonology Chapter 4 Syntax Chapter 5 Semantics Chapter 6 Language Variation Chapter 7 Language Change Chapter 8 Pragmatics Chapter 9 Psychology of Language
DESCRIPTION OF CONTENTS This review does not provide a detailed critique of the 74 exercises, except to say that the exercises provide an excellent teaching/learning aid. Brief comments on each chapter, concentrating on noteworthy inclusions follow.
Chapter 1 Morphology There are ten exercises in this chapter. They deal with form and meaning, open and closed words, ambiguity, and derivational and inflectional morphology. The exercises dealing with derivational and inflectional aspects are particularly good as they include examples from English, Russian, Tohono O'odham and Turkish. The student thus has the advantage of applying the same concepts in different languages.
Chapter 2 Phonetics This chapter contains six exercises. Three of these deal with transcription. Two deal with phonetic variation and require the application of the concepts complementary distribution, allophones and rule formulation. One exercise deals with the Japanese writing system and focuses on the role of symbols and diacritics.
Chapter 3 Phonology Chapter 3 consists of 10 exercises from 5 languages. Six of these exercises deal with phonological rules. In tackling questions on phonological rules, the student also has deal with the following: - identifying distinctive features - using distinctive features to describe sounds and phonological environments - examining the distribution of sounds - formulating phonological rules - considering and identifying morphological aspects in a phonological context There are two exercises on the syllable and feet topic. The final two exercises deal with phonetic variation and orthography & pronunciation - a return to the phonetic aspects.
Chapter 4 Syntax Chapter 4 has 25 exercises from 13 languages. The first 8 exercises are examples from English and require the generation and analysis of tree structures. Among the constituents dealt with in these exercises are NPs; VPs; PPs; Possessive NP with PP; Verb-Particle; VP PP; S-Adverbs and VP Adverbs. The next 6 simple sentence exercises are drawn from other languages. Using deductive techniques, students are required to predict forms, for example verbs, nouns and pronouns. Concepts like word order are focused on. These exercises are then followed by 2 complex sentence exercises. Complex sentences contain relative clauses. Again, using deductive techniques, students are required to identify verb forms, phrases and words. These exercises are more complex in that syntactic properties and grammaticality are examined. 4 morphosyntax exercises then follow. The student is required to identify, not forms, but verb, subject, object and tense morphemes. The ordering of morphemes and phonological factors that affect morphemes are also considered in these exercises. The next tree diagram exercise, based on the C-Command, uses English as an example. Finally, there are 4 exercises on the reflexive, using examples from English, Russian and Japanese. Exercises based on the latter two examples are particularly interesting in that they commence with the simple task of identifying words. Thereafter, the comparative aspect surfaces - examining/comparing restrictions between Russian and Japanese, and English. Also syntactic differences among the Japanese sentences and their yield in terms of meaning are analysed.
Chapter 5 Semantics Chapter 5 consists of 6 exercises. It commences with an exercise that uses cartoons to elicit responses on compositional and noncompositional meanings. This is followed by exercises on ambiguity, homophony and polysemy and evaluative and emotive meaning. The final exercise examines grammaticalization in Navajo, Mandarin Chinese and English.
Chapter 6 Language Variation There are two exercises in this chapter. One deals with pronouns in English. The other entails translating a passage from British English to American English.
Chapter 7 Language Change This chapter contains two exercises in which the student, using Grimms Law as a starting point, has to determine the descendant English word and describe the meaning change. The two exercises are based in the same question, but the examples given in the second exercise are more complex.
Chapter 8 Pragmatics Chapter 8 consists of 12 exercises. Two exercises use cartoons to examine how messages are conveyed. Other exercises deal with literal/nonliteral communication; indirectness; pronouns; proverbs, performative and perlocutionary verbs. 4 exercises are based on Moods and use examples from Finnish, Copola Trique, Mandarin Chinese and Navajo. The final exercise, dealing with grammatical relations and unacceptable sentences, uses Navajo as an example.
Chapter 9 Psychology of Language Chapter 9 contains one exercise on speech errors.
Appendixes Herein is contained some helpful information in the form of phonetic and feature charts, rule writing conventions and short explanations on the Message Model and Major Moods.
CRITICAL EVALUATION A Linguistics Workbook comes highly recommended. Although designed for use in conjunction with Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication (reviewed in the previous issue), this workbook can be used on its own or with books. The lucid manner in which exercises are structured leads me to suggest that in certain sections it might be advisable for the student tocomplete exercises from the workbook first, and then move onto theoretical matters. The progressive complexity of exercises is also commendable.
A Linguistics Workbook is a fantastic tool for teachers and students. It contains exercises from several languages, thus introducing students to the structural properties of those languages. Students are often required, in the exercises, to apply the same linguistic concepts to different languages, thereby assessing the extent to which linguistic principles may or may not be universal. One noteworthy shortcoming of A Linguistics Workbook is that the Phonology section is too preoccupied with linear application. If this book is to serve the intermediate level as well, then nonlinear phonology must be adequately addressed.
The 3rd edition of A Linguistics Workbook was published in 1996. A few minor changes have been made in the newer edition. Overall, most of the exercises from the 3rd edition (68 to be exact) have been reproduced, almost identically, in this 4th edition.
REFERENCE Farmer, A.K and R. A.Demers (1996) A Linguistics Workbook, 3rd edition. MIT Press
BIOGRAPHICAL STATEMENT Shamila Naidoo is a doctoral student at REPUS, concentrating on Feature Geometry. Her language of specialization is isiZulu, an Nguni language. Her other interests include second language teaching.