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Review of  The Linguistics Encyclopedia

Reviewer: Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud
Book Title: The Linguistics Encyclopedia
Book Author: Kirsten Malmkjaer
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Issue Number: 16.2181

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Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 14:05:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud
Subject: The Linguistics Encyclopedia, 2nd ed.

EDITOR: Malmkjær, Kirsten
TITLE: The Linguistics Encyclopedia
SUBTITLE: Second edition
PUBLISHER: Routledge
YEAR: 2004

Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud, Associate Professor of Linguistics & Acting-
Chairman of the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Assiut University,


This book consists of 643 pages, and it is organized as follows: a long
list of entries (566 pages), a preface, a key to contributors, brief notes
on contributors, acknowledgements, an introduction and a long
bibliography. Entries include a wide variety of topics that cover almost
all areas of linguistics. The following is a list of the topics included
in these entries in alphabetical order:

Acoustic phonetics, animals and language, aphasia, applied linguistics,
articulatory phonetics, artificial intelligence, artificial languages,
auditory phonetics, behaviorist linguistics, bilingualism and
cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics and cross- linguistic
studies, corpora, creoles and pidgins, critical discourse analysis,
dialectology, discourse analysis and conversation analysis, distinctive
features, dyslexia, field methods, finite-state (Markov process) grammar,
forensic linguistics, formal grammar, formal logic and model logic, formal
semantics, functional phonology, functionalist linguistics, generative
grammar, generative phonology, generative semantics, genre analysis,
glossematics, historical linguistics, history of grammar, International
Phonetics Alphabet, interpretive semantics, intonation, kinesics, language
acquisition, language and education, language and gender, language
pathology and neurolinguistics, language surveys, language typology,
language universals, lexis and lexicology, linguistic relativity,
metaphor, morphology, non-transformational grammar, origin of language,
philosophy of language, phonemics, port-royal grammar, pragmatics,
prosodic phonology, psycholinguistics, rhetoric, semantics, semiotics, set
theory, sign language, sociolinguistics, speech-act theory, speech and
language therapy, stratificational linguistics, stylistics, systematic-
functional grammar, teaching English as a foreign language, text
linguistics, tone languages and writing systems.

These entries are arranged alphabetically, and each entry contains a list
of suggestions for further reading. The book ends with a long index
consisting of 24 pages. It contains all the linguistics terms included in
the different entries. This edition of THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA has
been thoroughly revised and updated and a substantial new introduction,
which forms a concise history of the field, has been added. Substantially
revised entries include the following: bilingualism and multilingualism,
grammatical models and theories, critical linguistics/critical discourse
analysis, language acquisition, morphology, discourse analysis and
conversation analysis, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, generative
phonology, stratification linguistics, genre analysis, stylistics.

The list of contributors includes the following linguists (in alphabetical
order): Tsutomu Akamatsu, James M. Anderson, Colin Baker, James P.
Blevins, Jacques Bourquin, David C. Brazil, E. Keith Brown, Ronald A.
Carter, Richard Cauldwell, R. Malcolm Coulthard, Nikolas Coupland, René
Dirven, Tony Dudley-Evans, Susan Edwards, Norman Fairclough, Eli Fischer-
Jørgensen, William A. Foley, Roger Fowler, Anthony Fox, Michael A. Garman,
Christopher Hookway, Tony Howatt, Robert F. Ilson, Adam Jaworski, Chin-W.
Kim, James P. Lantolf, Geoffrey N. Leech, David G. Lockwood, Michael J.
McCarthy, Michael K. C. MacMahon, Molly Mack, Kirsten Malmkjær, Mark
Newbrook, Frederic J. Newmeyer, Margaret Newton, Teresa Parodi, Allan M.
Ramsay, William S.-Y. Wang and John N. Williams.


THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA provides a comprehensive coverage of the
major and minor fields of linguistic studies. The entries covering these
fields are designed in alphabetical order, and they are easy to access.
The language used to explain the linguistic concepts included in these
entries is far from complexity. Indeed, some of the entries do not contain
too much details, but I believe all the entries can provide the user with
sufficient information about any of the included topics. Especially
valuable about the book is the fact that, as far as my knowledge is
concerned, no area in linguistic studies was ignored. To facilitate and
simplify the linguistic notions for the reader, the authors have included
illustrations, examples and diagrams.

Moreover, new entries on applied linguistics, such as cognitive
linguistics, contrastive linguistics and cross- linguistic studies, and
forensic linguistics are included in the book. The list of contributors
includes a large number of linguists representing the different schools of
thought. The academic reputation and the competence of those authors are
indeed beyond dispute. The book presents the linguistic concepts in a
simple manner and a scholarly fashion as well. For anyone with an academic
or professional interest in linguistics, I believe that THE LINGUISTICS
ENCYCLOPEDIA is an indispensable reference. Therefore, I strongly
recommend this book for both graduate and undergraduate students of
linguistics, as well as researchers in this field. I also believe that the
book is a very useful reference and is an asset to any linguistics

However, I have few remarks regarding the form rather than the content of
the book. These remarks are listed below:

First, I think the way the different areas of linguistics are listed as
entries may imply what I would call "lack of parallelism", in the sense
that some areas of linguistics are represented in the book by certain
entries while others are not. To make the idea clear let me state an
example. While the book, for instance, contains an entry entitled
Semantics, it does not contain an entry entitled Syntax. Similarly, while
the book contains an entry entitled Phonemics, it does not contain an
entry entitled Phonetics. Indeed, instead of an entry on Syntax, the book
has an elaborate entry entitled Generative Grammar (22 pages), where most
of the syntactic topics and syntactic theories are covered.

Second, I think the way the entries are organized might imply what I would
call "Gapping". For instance, since there is an entry devoted to
Generative Grammar, the reader would expect parallel entries for the other
types of grammar such as Functional Grammar, Relational Grammar, Lexical
Functional Grammar etc.. Instead, the book contains one entry on Non-
transformational Grammar, where all the other types of grammar are listed.

Third, given the way the entries are organized, the reader expects that a
topic like Case Grammar would be listed under the entry assigned for Non-
transformational Grammar; otherwise the book would contain another entry
for this topic. However, in this book, Case Grammar is listed under the
entry concerned with the History of Grammar. It might be difficult for the
reader to relate a topic like Case Grammar to the entry concerned with the
History of Grammar rather than to the entry concerned with Non-
transformational Grammar. Given the way the entries are designed and
organized, I believe the entry concerned with the Case Grammar should have
been listed under the entry assigned for Non-transformational Grammar.

Fourth, I think that the way the entries are organized involves some sort
of "overlap". For instance, while the book contains an entry on
Sociolinguistics, it also contains other entries on such topics as
Bilingualism, Multilingualism and Language and Gender, which are
considered branches of Sociolinguistics. Similarly, while the book
contains an entry on Psycholinguistics, it also contains another entry on
Language Acquisition, which may be considered a branch of
Psycholinguistics. I wonder if topics such as Bilingualism,
Multilingualism and Language and Gender would be listed under the entry on
Sociolinguistics. Similarly, a topics like Language Acquisition would be
listed under the entry on Psycholinguistics

Fifth, given the remarks stated above, I wonder if it might be simpler for
the reader if the book was organized as areas of linguistics (e., g.,
Syntax ,Semantics, Morphology, Phonology, Phonetics, Lexicology,
Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics etc.), and then each area is broken
down into entries such that entries related to each area are
alphabetically listed under their respective areas. It seems to me that
this suggested type of listing would be simpler for the reader. Also, the
problem of "overlap" and "gapping" pointed out above would not arise
according to this suggestion.

As mentioned before, the remarks stated above are merely tentative
suggestions concerning the form of the book. As far as the content of the
book is concerned, I do not see any drawbacks. In fact, I have personally
enjoyed reading this book so much. I have also learned a lot from the
book. Thus, despite the remarks stated above, I strongly believe that THE
LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA is an indispensable reference for anyone who has
interest in linguistics.


Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud has obtained his Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from
the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1989. He taught
Arabic/English translation and Arabic as an FL at the University of
Pittsburgh. Currently, he works as Associate Professor of Linguistics &
Acting-Chairman of the English Department, Assiut University, Egypt. He is
also the Director of the English Language Center at the same university.
He has published a number of articles on Arabic and English Linguistics
(e.g. The Syntax and Semantics of Middle and Unaccusative Constructions,
Locative Alternations, Oblique Subject Alternations, Dative Shift, Psych-
Verbs, Lexical Incorporation and Resultative Predication and Implicit
Objecthood). His current research interest is the relevance of Lexical
Semantics to Syntax and Arabic/English translation.

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0415222109
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 688
Prices: U.S. $ 45.95