LINGUIST List 17.3722

Sat Dec 16 2006

Books: Language Description/Sociolinguistics: Ameka, Dench, Evans (Eds)

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <>

Directory         1.    Julia Ulrich, Catching Language: Ameka, Dench, Evans (Eds)

Message 1: Catching Language: Ameka, Dench, Evans (Eds)
Date: 15-Dec-2006
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: Catching Language: Ameka, Dench, Evans (Eds)

Title: Catching Language Subtitle: The Standing Challenge of Grammar Writing Series Title: Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs 167 Published: 2006 Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Book URL:

Editor: Felix K. Ameka Editor: Alan Dench Editor: Nicholas Evans Hardback: ISBN: 3110186039 Pages: 664 Price: Europe EURO 98.00
Hardback: ISBN: 3110186039 Pages: 664 Price: U.S. $ 132.30

Descriptive grammars are our main vehicle for documenting and analysing thelinguistic structure of the world's 6,000 languages. They bring together,in one place, a coherent treatment of how the whole language works, andtherefore form the primary source of information on a given language,consulted by a wide range of users: areal specialists, typologists,theoreticians of any part of language (syntax, morphology, phonology,historical linguistics etc.), and members of the speech communitiesconcerned. The writing of a descriptive grammar is a major intellectualchallenge, that calls on the grammarian to balance a respect for thelanguage's distinctive genius with an awareness of how other languageswork, to combine rigour with readability, to depict structural regularitieswhile respecting a corpus of real material, and to represent something ofthe native speaker's competence while recognising the variation inherent inany speech community.

Despite a recent surge of awareness of the need to document little-knownlanguages, there is no book that focusses on the manifold issues that facethe author of a descriptive grammar. This volume brings togethercontributors who approach the problem from a range of angles. Most havewritten descriptive grammars themselves, but others represent differenttypes of readers. Among the topics they address are: overall issues ofgrammar design, the complementary roles of outsider and native speakergrammarians, the balance between grammar and lexicon, cross-linguisticcomparability, the role of explanation in grammatical description, theinterplay of theory and a range of fieldwork methods in languagedescription, the challenges of describing languages in their cultural andhistorical context, and the tensions between linguistic particularity,established practice of particular schools of linguistic description andthe need for a universally commensurable analytic framework.

This book will renew the field of grammaticography, addressing a multiplereadership of descriptive linguists, typologists, and formal linguists, bybringing together a range of distinguished practitioners from around theworld to address these questions.

ISBN 3-11-018603-9ISBN-13: 978-3-11-018603-1

Linguistic Field(s): Language Description                             Sociolinguistics
Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:

-------------------------- Major Supporters --------------------------

Blackwell Publishing

Cambridge University Press

Cascadilla Press

Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd

Edinburgh University Press

Equinox Publishing Ltd.

European Language Resources Association

Georgetown University Press

Hodder Arnold

John Benjamins

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Lincom GmbH

MIT Press

Mouton de Gruyter

Multilingual Matters

Oxford University Press

Palgrave Macmillan


Routledge (Taylor and Francis)


---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------

Anthropological Linguistics

CSLI Publications

Graduate Linguistic Students' Assoc. Umass

International Pragmatics Assoc.

Kingston Press Ltd

Linguistic Assoc. of Finland

MIT Working Papers in Linguistics

Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke

Pacific Linguistics

SIL International

St. Jerome Publishing Ltd.

Utrecht institute of Linguistics