Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"
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Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 17:52:43 +0300 From: Irmeli Helin Subject: Lexikologie / Lexicology: Ein internationales Handbuch / An international handbook
EDITORS: Cruse, Alan D; Hundsnurscher, Franz; Job, Michael; Lutzeier, Peter Rolf TITLE: Lexikologie / Lexicology SUBTITLE: Ein internationales Handbuch zur Natur und Struktur von Wörtern und Wortschätzen / An international handbook on the nature and structure of words and vocabularies SERIES: Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft / Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science 21/2 PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2005
Irmeli Helin, Department of Translation Studies, University of Helsinki
This book is the second volume of an international handbook on lexicology in the series of famous and comprehensive handbooks of linguistics and communication sciences. The books of the series are surely well known to and highly appreciated by all students and researchers of all areas of linguistics, terminology and translation studies. The first volume had concentrated on fundamental questions of lexicology such as "word" in context of different theories of language and grammar, form and content level of "word" from phonology to dimensions of meaning, as well as special forms of lexical units and structures. Several articles were also written on the architecture of the vocabulary, all of them by famous experts and scientists on these fields.
The second volume maintains the high level of the first, both as to authors and to the articles which have been written in German and English, as it was the case in the first volume as well. On the first pages (Chapter XXIV) of the second volume the methodologies of lexicology are contemplated starting with intuition and empirical methods, instrumental and statistical methods and ending by methodological problems of lexicology caused e.g. by syntagmatic relations, word classes or definitions of significant features.
Chapter XXV contains articles about structural properties of vocabularies from contrastive and typological points of view. Besides lexicology of so called SAE languages (Standard Average European), i.e. German, English and French, also word classes of isolating languages and lexical categories of polysynthetic languages are analyzed in three articles. After that, nominal and verbal systems of classification are being dealt with. These systems are contemplated from several points of view, such as gender, aspect, dynamics and agent and patient oriented differentiations.
Chapter XXVI is an extensive report on the special properties of vocabularies in the main language families of the world starting with indo-European languages and ending with Australian, Papuan and Middle American languages. Also lexical structures in Pidgins and Creoles, as well as vocabulary of Romany and planned languages have been dealt with in special articles.
In the next chapters, Chapter XXVII and Chapter XXVIII, selections of regional vocabularies and vocabularies of German and English dialects have been analyzed. Chapter XXVII speaks about German regional varieties and Chapter XXVIII about English dialects and English spoken in Ireland, North America, Australia, Africa and India.
After chapters discussing dialects in English and German, Chapter XXIX starts a new part in the book by looking at the etymology of words. At first an English overview is given followed by several German expert articles on methods and aims of etymological research. The semantic change is observed from the traditional points of view but also some new ideas as to word meaning are dealt with. The content of the chapter is completed by an article about the etymology of roots and about folk etymology.
The next Chapter XXX concentrates on the lexical change in German supported by case studies on kinship terms and the lexical field of 'qual' as well as on neologisms, archaisms and internationalisms.
This rather a short chapter is followed by three chapters about vocabularies used during special epochs or by famous personalities in literature, church and music, or by statesmen and scholars (Chapters XXXI, XXXII and XXXIII). The vocabularies of special epochs are analyzed starting from the medieval situation of German, English, French, Italian and Spanish languages. The development of German is dealt with in two different articles written in German and English, going from the pre-textual epoch until the epoch of the temporal differentiation of German languages within two German states before their were reunited in 1990. The chapters about the vocabulary of famous personalities contain articles about the language of such personalities as e.g. James Joyce, Jane Austin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Jean de la Fontaine from the field of literature and e.g. Martin Luther, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Friedrich Nietzsche and Immanuel Kant representing the other fields of culture and society mentioned above.
Chapter XXXIV goes on towards contrastive studies of lexical fields. The review of this theme starts with general observations on kinship and color terms and then goes on looking at adjectives of dimension and verba dicendi. After these general surveys German and English languages are compared by contrastive studies on deontic speech act verbs and emotion words.
Lexicon and grammar are dealt with by the next three chapters (Chapters XXXV, XXXVI and XXXVII). At first lexical units are analyzed as lexical and grammatical categories in grammatical description. Then the concept of "word" is contemplated from the point of view of grammatical components. The next chapter begins with changing lexical units with notions of paradigm in grammar, followed by declension, conjugation and comparison as well as phonetic realizations of lexical items in declension and conjugation. The third chapter with this theme deals with combinations of lexical units and word formation as possibility to extend vocabularies, the role of lexical data in semantics and pragmatics as well as with lexicalization and grammaticalization.
The following three chapters (Chapters XXXVIII, XXXIX and XL) form a unit of observations on mental lexicon. In the first of these three chapters, after an overview, word recognition and lexical access are dealt with, as well as the processing of ambiguous words. Psycholinguistic aspects of word meaning are observed in the last article of the first chapter. In the following chapter, vocabularies are examined using theories of semantic representation of the mental lexicon, then going to vocabularies and brain from neurolinguistic perspectives, ending up to the situation of mental lexicon in regard to multilingualism. The last of these three chapters concentrates in acquisition and loss of mental lexicon. Here the early acquisitional phase is analyzed followed by later lexical and semantic development of word meaning and idioms in mental lexicon. The loss of mental lexicon is scrutinized by language pathology and by processes in impaired comprehension or problems with verbs suffixes and function words as well as with difficulties with words in communicative contexts.
Last but not least is the Chapter XLI concerning lexicology and neighboring disciplines. This is a fairly large chapter and it deals with the relations of lexicology to twelve other disciplines starting from lexicography and going on by e.g. terminology, text linguistics and translation studies until language planning, computer linguistics, artificial intelligence and psychology.
This bilingual handbook, written in German and English, incorporate 1013 pages which contain 124 articles of important and useful information about modern theories of lexicology illustrated by practical examples. The articles have been written by famous international experts on lexicology and linguistics, and most of the contemporary lexicologists are mentioned and quoted in the articles. Since 72 of the articles were written in German and many further articles are authored by European experts, the book is firmly based on the long European tradition of lexicology but also refers to the newest research done all over the world on this field (e.g. Chapters XXVI and XXVIII) and in other disciplines (Chapter XLI). Lexicology is, as shown by the last chapter, often considered as a complex discipline with relations to many other, not only linguistic disciplines (see e.g. chapters of mental lexicon vs. cognitive sciences).
The articles are composed and edited in a way giving both researchers and students of linguistics or other subjects related to languages new impulses and constructive information. This information can be used in the fields where analysis and knowledge about word formation and vocabulary are needed. The amount of information collected for this book (Volume 2) is enormous, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and it is still much larger, if both volumes are regarded. In general, the new handbook is obviously the most extensive and versatile publication in lexicology as an independent field of research. All through the book, the relationship of lexicology to other linguistic disciplines runs as the main thread, even if the editors have succeeded in grouping the themes under excellently combining titles, always given in both languages, in spite of the language the articles are written in. The articles under these titles, as well as those in Volume 1, represent as many and as up-to-date subfields of research of words and vocabulary as possible by informing the readers about respective methodologies and results of field studies. In this way, an overview of the present state of research is offered to the reader with impulses for new research and multidisciplinary viewpoints towards such aspects of lexicology perhaps still needing further scrutiny.
As a researcher and user of many previous handbooks of this series (e.g. semantics, pragmatics, terminology and translation studies) I was, again, pleasantly surprised about the high quality of the book and enjoyed the articles very much. I also highly appreciate the decision of the editors to accept articles written in more than one language throughout each volume of this series of handbooks. As to the volume reviewed, I would especially like to emphasize the chapters about the vocabulary of German and English dialects. They give an easily accessible source to be used for even contrastive studies of dialects, which still need a steady lexicological base although research of dialects in multimedia is gaining ground from the traditional dialectology concentrating on phonology and morphology of dialects. The articles about two different Germans and several different Englishes form an interesting aspect in this area. These themes are of course not new, but I appreciate very much that they have been taken into this handbook.
As a supervisor and university teacher I am glad to be able to recommend the new handbook of lexicology to my graduate and post- graduate students. There are several themes and articles which are very useful for their learning and their studies and papers of linguistics, translation studies and foreign languages. But naturally, it is a useful source for every researcher who needs information about the newest state of word and vocabulary studies, and an interesting resource of information for everyone interested in these aspects of language.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Irmeli Helin is Professor of Translation Studies and Head of the Department of Translation Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She teaches German translation and interpretation and is a docent of terminology and German translation. She has published books and articles on terminology, lexicography and lexicology in German and Finnish. Her present interest lies in evidentiality and translation of evidentials and evidentiality, research of terminological concepts, dialect translation and retranslations.