Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review: Sociolinguistics: de Cillia & Vetter (2013)

Monday, June 9th, 2014

EDITOR: Rudolf  de Cillia
EDITOR: Eva  Vetter
TITLE: Sprachenpolitik in Österreich
SUBTITLE: Bestandsaufnahme 2011
SERIES TITLE: Sprache im Kontext
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Franz Dotter, Universität Klagenfurt

This collection of 13 articles in German analyzes Austrian language policy
from 2001 to 2011, updating an original overview produced in 2001 (Busch,
Brigitta & De Cillia, Rudolf (eds.): ”Sprachenpolitik in Oesterreich. Eine
Bestandsaufnahme”, 2003).

The VERBAL group (Verband für Angewandte Linguistik/Association for Applied
Linguistics; the Austrian section of AILA = Association Internationale de
Linguistique Applique) is an active group which has often published important
statements on language policy in Austria (e.g. in the interest of improving
the linguistic situation of autochthone minorities in Austria, including
Austrian Sign Language, as well as the important role of migrant languages in
integration). With these activities, the group plays an outstanding role in
Austrian linguistics.

In the preface, the editors see some improvements in Austrian language policy,
like the recognition of Austrian Sign Language, positive developments in
literacy and language teaching, or the establishment of an Austrian counseling
organization (Austrian Language Committee/Oesterreichisches Sprachenkomitee; A negative evaluation is given about the growing
discrimination against migrant languages.

Elfie Fleck describes the situation of pupils who are bi- or multilingual
because they have ‘migrant background’ (”Zur Situation von lebensweltlich
mehrsprachigen SchülerInnen: aktuelle Lage und neuere Entwicklungen in der
Bildungspolitik”). She gives statistical data on migration to Austria: In
2011, 1,5 million persons, or 18% of the population were migrants. The largest
groups were 220,000 persons with German as mother tongue; 209,000 from Serbia,
Montenegro and Kosovo, 185,000 from Turkey. Among pupils, about 201,000 (18%)
had a first language other than German; the pupils being rather unequally
distributed (e.g. Vienna had 56.3% of these pupils). Austria’s school laws
have been adapted to this situation: There is some special support to help
immigrant children develop their competence in German (5-12 hours in a week),
but the respective qualification of teachers is still lacking to a great
extent. Also support for the pupils’ non-German mother tongues is possible
within the curriculum (at the moment about 32,000 pupils with 23 languages
take advantage of this offer). Intercultural learning is a so-called
”principle of instruction”. The author criticizes the continuing tendency
towards monolingual German education contexts by examples; she also criticizes
the apparently common belief that early language support in the kindergarten
(only one year is obligatory) would be sufficient to overcome deficits some
children already suffer by that point. She demands language support for the
entire duration of schooling. She sees discrimination in the practice of
having a significant number of pupils with low competence in German are forced
to attend special schools as if they had developmental disabilities.
Summarizing, Fleck describes some positive developments (efforts towards a
general evaluation of the competence of all children in German shortly before
entering school = ”Sprachstandserhebung”), but these were not sufficient to
replace a systematic policy on multilingualism.

Monika Dannerer, Magdalene Knappik and Birgit Springsits deal with the
training of teachers /pedagogues in the context of multilingualism and
especially German as a second language (”PädagogInnenbildung in einer
mehrsprachigen Gesellschaft — Deutsch als Zweitsprache und
Mehrsprachigkeitsdidaktik in der Aus- und Weiterbildung von LehrerInnen und
Kindergarten-PädagogInnen in Oesterreich”). To prepare these professionals
for a multilingual society, courses in German as a second language or in
intercultural learning are offered at some universities for teachers of pupils
10 and older. There are normally 2-4 obligatory semester hours; additionally
it is possible to choose up to 14 or even 24 hours for specialization. Primary
school teachers get about 3-7 hours, for kindergarten teachers there is no
systematic instruction in the curriculum. The article ends with

Verena Plutzar analyzes legal obligations for migrants who want to stay in
Austria (”Deutsch lernen per Gesetz”) to show a certain competence in German
in order to be allowed to stay in Austria and gain citizenship (according to a
2003 law; similar obligations are spreading across the countries of Europe).
The target competence is B1. She notes critically that a positive certificate
of a respective course may not be sufficient as the authority can even then
state that the competence is still to low, also the low extent of the courses
offered (300 units in Austria against 600-1200 in Germany).In the meantime the
possibility to expand to 1200 units has been realized. Summarizing, the author
pleads for more interculturally oriented and flexible efforts to help

Gero Fischer and Ursula Doleschal describe the changed role of spoken minority
languages in the Austrian educational system (”Von Minderheitensprachen zu
Nachbarsprachen – Die Rolle der Minderheitensprachen in Oesterreichs
Bildungswesen 2011”). There are 6 recognized minorities: Croatian, Roma,
Slovak, Slovene, Czech and Hungarian (Austrian Sign Language is not
acknowledged as a autochthonous minority language). Their language rights are
regulated rather differently by several laws, starting with the State Treaty
of Vienna 1955 which defined Austria’s independence after the Second World War
and formulated some obligations for Austria. The authors describe the
situation of every minority language in depth and add Polish as a language
which should have minority status. The authors call attention to the
increasing loss of minority languages as languages in use in families,
institutions, etc. Instead they take on more and more the status of foreign
languages used in neighboring countries. They recommend increasing efforts for
these languages, especially in terms of materials development and research.

Susanna Buttaroni (”Frühe Mehrsprachigkeit in der Elementarbildung”) deals
with multilinguality in kindergarten. As kindergartens are administrated by
the individual provinces, there is no uniform Austrian perspective on it.
There is growing awareness and some individual initiatives, but no structural
changes are visible to date (the author analyzes official documents and
research results). They discuss strengths and weaknesses of how children’s
competence in German is evaluated, something which is done regularly (except
children with special needs) in kindergarten shortly before the children enter
school in order to identify possible support needs. Concerning training of
kindergarten staff, only one institution in Carinthia offers a linguistic
introduction within the regular curriculum, the other provinces only offer
further training. The article closes with recommendations.

Verena Krausneker writes about the situation of Austrian Sign Language = OeGS
(”Oesterreichische Gebärdensprache ist anerkannt”). She describes the
constitutional acknowledgment of OeGS in 2005 and puts it into the
international context. About 10,000 Austrians use OeGS as their first
language. The sign language community has benefited from some advances, but in
general the big hopes of the Deaf have not been not fulfilled. The Austrian
Deaf Association has documented extensive discrimination, especially with the
educational situation remaining as bad as it was before ( There
is still no bilingual curriculum for OeGS-German while there are curricula for
spoken minority and immigrant languages (see above). Access to information is
still limited (subtitling in the public TV ORF is at only about 50%, with no
subtitling at all in private TV). Barrier-free access to public information is
generally lacking — except some individual initiatives. Interpreting is
guaranteed for public administration, the courts and work, but not for private
purposes. University research is a very small niche; except interpreter
education it is not possible to study sign language or deaf culture (only
individual courses or small parts of alternative curricula). The article ends
with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and
Austria’s respective National Action Plan. Summarizing, Krausneker states that
language rights for the deaf are not yet given in most everyday situations.

Rudolf de Cillia and Michaela Haller discuss the learning of foreign languages
in Austrian kindergartens and schools (”Englisch und …? Vorschulisches und
schulisches Sprachenlernen in Oesterreich”) in the context of the Council of
Europe’s ”Language Educational Policy Profiling” and the Austrian Language
Committee. They describe the legal framework of language instruction at every
level of education in depth (aims, curricula, didactic principles and methods)
and give a table of foreign languages offered in the 4th, 8th, 10th and 12th
level: English is taught to 98.6% of Austrian pupils, French to 1.7%, Italian
to 1.4%, Slovenian to 0.8%, Croatian to 0.5%, Czech to 0.3%, Hungarian and
Russian to 0.2%, Slovak and Spanish to 0.1%. The authors finally turn to
discussion/recommendations regarding multilinguality and innovative teaching

Martin Stegu, Regina Winkler and Barbara Seidlhofer describe foreign language
teaching in Austria’s higher education system(”Fremdsprachenlernen an
Universitäten, Fachhochschulen und Pädagogischen Hochschulen”). They list all
languages taught, curricula and competences needed for starting a study, then
turn to recent developments. The chapter ends with 13 concrete demands
(including a general concept for tertiary language studies, a tight connection
between research and teaching, the adoption of international standards).

Thomas Fritz gives an overview of language learning in adult education (”60
Sprachen lernen in Österreich. Sprachenpolitik — Sprachenlernen —
Erwachsenenbildung”). There are no statistical data, but one can say that 60
languages are offered by the many institutions active in the field; there is a
recent increase especially in German as a second language. The most frequently
taught languages in about 10,000 courses of one of the biggest institutions,
the Austrian Adult Education Centers (”Volkshochschule”), are English with
28% of all courses, German with 20%, Italian with 15%, Spanish with 10% and
French with 6%. 78% of Austrians are competent in one foreign language, 27% in
two, and 9% in three 9. Legal basics and the situation/training of teachers
are also discussed.

Antje Doberer-Bey, Angelika Hrubesch and Otto Rath describe adult literacy and
basic education (”Alphabetisierung und Basisbildung seit 2002. Vom Frosch zum
Prinzen?”). The article starts with discussing the German notion of
”functional analphabetism” which is now given up in favor of ”basic
education” (”Basisbildung”) or ”literacy” (”Literalität”). Especially
in the context of integration of immigrants, different concepts of basic
education can be found. The authors discuss them and their respective
practices using the terms ”critical”, ”social”, and ”new literacies”, as
well as ”multiliteracies”, including digital competences. In order to
establish criteria for the evaluation of basic education for abilities at the
workplace, the ”Austrian National Framework of Qualification” was developed.
Many necessary data are lacking, but at least the scientific engagement in the
field is increasing. Basic education plays a major role in the strategy of
lifelong learning and is predominantly realized by networks of organizations
and projects. Quality standards and profiles of trainers as well as their
training are discussed and the situation of actual trainers is analyzed.
Besides other recommendations the authors propose a nationwide campaign for
basic education.

Judith Purkarthofer analyzes the relationship between language policy and the
media (”Lokal, global und mehrsprachig? Sprachenpolitik und Medien”),
especially that of the public-legal broadcasting institution ORF
(”Oesterreichischer Rundfunk Fernsehen”/Austrian Radio Television). This
institution has secured some legal support for e.g. autochthonous minority
languages (there are regular broadcasts in these languages). Since 1998 there
are also ”free radio” broadcasting companies, mostly small, which dedicate
up to 30% of their time to languages besides German. Printed media are
overwhelmingly German, but there are a few commercial ones printed in Turkish
or Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian (i.e. the largest immigrant groups) and also a few
small printed media for autochthonous minority groups, partially funded by the
state. Books and films in foreign languages as material for language learning
are used by about 11% of the population, radio courses are not offered at the
moment. The article ends with short recommendations to offer more integrative
media initiatives.

Rudolf Muhr describes the situation of Austrian German (”Zur
sprachenpolitischen Situation des Oesterreichischen Deutsch 2000-2012”),
exhaustively covering language political issues 2000-2012 and comparing them
with 1995. Furthermore, a complete annotated list of publications on Austrian
German is offered: The number of publications on Austrian German has increased
enormously in comparison to earlier decades: the author quotes 140 books and
95 articles and classifies them formally (monographs, collections of articles,
dictionaries, etc.) as well as content-related (identity, literary language,
attitudes, terminology, teaching of German, etc.). Muhr defines the notion
‘Austrian German’ comprehensively as covering all language phenomena in
Austria related to German. This means that not only the Austrian variety of
Standard German, but also all other language forms (regional colloquial
variants and dialects of different extension) are taken under this notion, as
they contribute to Austrian identity in the perspective of the author. With
this he denies that Austrian German is only one among various regional
varieties but instead a national variety of pluricentric German (which has
been approved by the European Union). All relevant literature (including
information in the internet) can be found in the chapter.

From a sociolinguistic/pragmatic perspective Muhr describes the image problem
of Austrian German vs. German in Germany, the latter the dominant variety.
This results in a lower status of Austrian German related to teaching German
as a foreign language, in a tendency to replace Austrian German terms by
‘German German’ ones, leading to a gradual assimilation of the former to the
latter, especially also by the media. Muhr takes what he calls the tabooizing
of the relationship between nation and language in Austria as the main reason
for the following phenomena: the non-codification of Austrian German; some
ambivalences of Austrian identity; the characteristics of ”double language
use”, i.e. public use of standard vs. internal use of colloquial registers;
the dogma of ”good and unified German” (= monocentric German), the
stigmatization of Austrian German in some dictionaries, the ”purification”
of the language of Austrian writers by German editors (deleting Austrian
variants) and the ignorance of ”internal plurilingualism” in Austria.
Related to the last, Muhr criticizes the ”old” linguistic trichotomy of
”dialect — colloquial/regional language — standard” as outdated due e.g.
to a high mobility of the population. He would rather see a complex diglossia
between the Austrian variant of Standard German and different forms of
colloquial varieties, the respective communicative/pragmatic choice of
speakers mainly dependent on the privacy of communication, namely nearness or
distance, less on social status. The article closes with a discussion of the
notion ”Austrian German” vs. the notion ”German in Austria” and of the
allegation of nationalism toward those who insist on ”Austrian German”. The
summary contains measures in favor of this language variant.

Karin Wetschanow and Ursula Doleschal write about feminist language policy
(”Feministische Sprachpolitik”). Starting from the history of feminist
linguistics in the 1980s they list 4 possible strategies for representing
gender in German in a fair, symmetrical manner (see Mark Twain’s ”Awful
German language”): (1) to build upon the proposed generic meaning of the
masculine; (2) to actively change the morphology of German; (3) to use the
existing system for naming both genders equitably or ”feminize” texts; (4)
to ”degenderize” texts. From the perspective of acceptability and economy,
they go for the third variant in order to make women in German ”visible” and
generate gender ”symmetry”. They discuss ”psychocognitive” effects of
feminist language policy and describe the Austrian law on the issue of
equality as well as its implementation e.g. in calls for proposals or in
official texts, offering many examples from everyday usage (representing the
diverse orthographic proposals). Negative attitudes against feminist language
planning from public discourse are analyzed, followed by aspects of queer
language policy. Finally, they propose public discussion of and research on
the issue.

An appendix contains the ”Klagenfurter Erklärung 2011” (Klagenfurt
declaration 2011) on Austrian language policy containing a general statement
and 12 recommendations related to the outcomes of the articles.

The book is of interest for every reader who reads German and wants
comprehensive information on Austrian language policy or sociolinguistic
issues. The 13 articles offer a wide spectrum from kindergarten to higher
education, gives sound information and illustrates how Austrian linguists
would like to configure language policy. I conclude that the book as a whole
achieves their goals. Readers can acquire either a picture of a special area
of Austria’s language policy by concentrating on single articles or a rather
coherent picture of this policy when working through the whole book (though
the editors do not give a closing overview, but offer it indirectly with the
Klagenfurt declaration). The comprehensive references make the chapters a
valuable source for any survey or research task (as they are mostly overview
articles of about 15-30 pages, they do not contain detailed data on e.g.
school success of different types of pupils or on attitudes or opinions of
politicians, parents or teachers). Muhr’s article on Austrian German is
exceptionally long (50 pages) and offers a complete bibliography for the years

In order to illustrate the book’s main features, I highlight first Austrian
school law, then Austrian German as a traditionally controversial issue, and
conclude with comments on the situation of Austrian Sign Language.

First, Austrian school policy is regulated by a constitutional law stating
that all school issues have to be decided on by a 2/3 majority in the
parliament. Since that law was passed, many reforms advocated by scientists or
educators were simply blocked because they did not attain this majority.
Therefore progress in the Austrian school system is rather slow or even
non-existant  on major points.

Second, Muhr’s statement that more or less all German dialects had died out
and one should no longer use the trichotomy  ”dialect – colloquial/regional
language — standard” does not seem convincing: Naturally, mobility and other
factors like tourism affect especially local dialects. But there are still at
least valleys or regions, even towns with their ”dialect”. These are not the
“dialects” of 1900 but reflect massively changed circumstances: In the 1950s,
many farmers or workers had rather limited education; since the 1970s
educational opportunities were increased radically. Therefore I argue for a
dynamic view of the notion of ”dialect”, related to education: Many
Austrians use the word ”dialect” for decribing their ”variant of local
nearness”, keeping some ”old”, specific usage to signal their identity, but
also adapting to the regional society, by avoiding usages which they interpret
as outdated or difficult to understand. The notion ”colloquial/regional
language” I would rather assign to official and partially public
communication in the regions or provinces. And many speakers’ utterances still
show register phenomena which have to be distinguished into either dialectal
or colloquial. It is also clear that the number of native dialect speakers
decreases because there are e.g. many children of couples from different
regions, then developing a compromise variety. In any of the registers,
however, many people ‘know’ rather exactly which signals to use in which
social-communicative context. Examples for the use of more than one register
in pragmatic/stylistic functions in a single communication can be found in the
speech of many Austrian politicians and in literature (hear e.g. into the
recordings of Qualtinger’s ”Herr Karl”).

Finally, though the VERBAL group strongly advocates for OeGS, the editors
unfortunately ‘separate’ it from all other languages, concentrating discussion
in one article (Krausneker) and isolating the language and its users from
spoken languages since most other authors ignore it, making a comparison of
the language rights of sign language users with others impossible. As a
result, it has to be added to Fleck’s article that autochthonous Austrian Sign
Language is not contained in the list of languages available at school. This
results in severe discrimination against deaf people. Similarly, it has to be
added to Fischer’s & Doleschal’s article that ÖGS is not acknowledged as an
autochthonous minority language because minorities are defined ethnically by
the constitution and the Austrian government is not willing to change this
(cf., again
resulting in fundamental discrimination against Austrian Deaf despite the
UNCRPD. Finally, Susanna Buttaroni ignores sign language for early language

In summary, the volume is a valuable resource for future research on Austrian
language policy.

Franz Dotter has been retired since has 2013 and before that served as
Associate Professor for General Linguistics at the Alps-Adria University of
Klagenfurt, Austria. He earned his dr. phil. in 1975, and wrote his
habilitation on iconicity in syntax in 1990. 1996-2013 he served as head of
the Centre for Sign Language and Deaf Communication
( His main interests are typology and cognitive
linguistics, sign languages, sociolinguistics of politics and minorities,
text/discourse analysis, and deaf education.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2477

Review: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics: Kádár (2013)

Monday, June 9th, 2014

AUTHOR: Dániel Zoltan Kádár
TITLE: Relational Rituals and Communication
SUBTITLE: Ritual Interaction in Groups
PUBLISHER: Palgrave Macmillan
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Sukriye Ruhi, Middle East Technical University

‘Relational Rituals and Communication’ can be viewed as the full-blown
product of Kádár’s longstanding interest in linguistic rituals and
ritualization (e.g., Kádár, 2007). The monograph is theoretical in orientation
and argues for a discursive and relational approach to researching
constructive and destructive rituals in interpersonal communication. It
illustrates the approach with data drawn from both written and spoken language
in a variety of social contexts and languages. Drawing on insights and
concepts from various fields such as anthropology, cultural history,
(im)politeness, and psychology, the book offers an innovative perspective on
how people (re-)create their interpersonal relationships through ritual acts.
With this work, Kádár aims to

–  offer a discursive, relational perspective on the ritual aspects of
communication, particularly in the context of in-group social networks,
–  examine how ritual relational practices shape discourse and our relations
with people,
–  show that rituals and ritualization are wider in scope in interpersonal
communication, both in terms of the ‘unit’ of the ritual act and in terms of
the social contexts in which rituals are performed.

Chapter One opens with the book’s motivation, and presents preliminaries for
its relational and discursive approach to rituals and rituality in language
use and interaction. It highlights the book’s scope as a study on relational
rituals primarily in in-group social networks, and situates the relational
approach against the background of traditional approaches to rituals such as
in the foundational work of Durkheim (1912/1995). Contrary to the idea that
interaction in contemporary Western societies is characterized by
deritualisation (e.g., Burke, 2005), Kádár argues that rituality in language
use is very much a part of both Western and Eastern societies, albeit in
different forms. The author defines and describes the characteristics of
relational ritual in the following manner: “Relational ritual is a
formalised/schematic, conventionalized and recurrent act, which is
relationship forcing, i.e. by operating it reinforces/transforms in-group
relationships. “Ritual is realized as an embedded (mini-)performance
(mimesis), and this performance is bound to relational history (and related
ethos), or historicity in general (and related social ethos). Ritual is an
emotively invested affective action, as anthropological research has shown”
(pp. 11-12).

Chapter One continues with a discussion of the data and the data analytic
methodology employed in the study. Kádár underscores that the discursive
approach necessitates the analysis of “longer stretches of interaction” (p.
14), to observe how rituals are deployed in interaction. The discursive
methodology is complemented by a look at the data from both participant and
theoretical perspectives. In line with this approach, the author utilizes data
from diverse languages (English, Hungarian and Chinese), comprising
conversations with his family and friends, “post-event interviews” (p. 18),
computer-mediated communication, historical epistolary discourse, and literary

Chapter Two presents the theoretical framework and expands on the features of
relational rituals. The first two features identified in the definition of
relational rituals are their “formalised/schematic and conventionalised”
nature and their recurrence. Kádár places relational rituals within the
innermost circle of three concentric circles comprising (linguistic) acts that
have relatively fixed forms. Ordered from the outermost towards to innermost,
these are: Schematic acts, conventional relational acts, and ritual relational
acts. Schematic acts are defined as “pre-existing forms of behaviour used in
recurrent ways that are readily recognisable to members” (p. 25). Relational
rituals share with schematic acts their reference to the relational history of
the interactants and their possible lack of transparency to the outsider.
Conventional relational acts form the next level of the inner circle. These
are acts that pertain to relating and may operate in both societal and
in-group networks. They create normative expectancies and acquire fixed
pragmatic meanings for the group in question (p. 42). While relational rituals
are also conventionalised, they are distinguished by an emphasis on “mimetic
performance” (ibid.). Kádár describes the central feature of mimetic
performance as the enactment and re-enactment of “certain beliefs and values”
(p. 45). Ritual practice thereby co-constitutes relations in a ‘ritual
moment’. Quoting Koster (2003: 219), Kádár states that the ritual moment
creates “a temporary destruction of awareness of the wider meaningful
relations of one’s individuality and the reduction of the self to the
immediate experience of the here and now” (p. 48). Performance is central to
the understanding of ritual in the book, and I give one example below to
illustrate a number of recurring themes in the argumentation: how rituals may
‘neutralise’ to a convention or disappear; how they may crucially depend on
relational history; how they may interface with politeness; and how they
differ in the extent of their possibility of being recognised by outsiders to
a relational network.

During his stay in Taiwan, the author went to martial art training sessions
every day, where he became friends with a Taiwanese who was attending a
Chinese chef school and who was keen to talk about Chinese recipes and advise
the author on what Chinese dishes to taste. It became the author’s habit to
greet his friend with the question “What do we need to eat today?” uttered in
Chinese. The greeting enhances the “Taiwanese person’s professional identity
as a chef” and thus has politeness value for the interactants (p. 41). But it
also displays a performance value as it harks back to their conversations
about Chinese food. In this respect the utterance is not transparent as an
in-group conventionally polite act of greeting to an outsider. However, the
author remarks that the greeting lost its ritual value in time and “was
responded to with a standard ‘Hi’ and … was normatively expected to occur”
(p. 43). He cautions, however, that ritual value may be different for the
participants in an interaction.

The focus of Chapter Three is on the constructive and discursively organised,
fixed formal and functional properties of in-group rituals and network
identity formation, which may rely on in-group ethos and topics that are
significant for the network. In this chapter Kádár draws here on both e-mail
and historical Chinese epistolary discourse. He underscores that besides
network identity formation, rituals allow people to “act beyond social
conventions” (p. 62) and thereby prevent offence.

Chapter Four develops a typology of relational rituals based on their
visibility to outsiders rather than the size of the network. Ordered with
respect to transparency from the least to the most transparent, these are
covert, personal, in-group, and social rituals. The first type includes
rituals that are described in psychology as compulsive (delusional) rituals
which relate the performer to imaginary entities (e.g. imaginary relatives) or
compulsive behaviour (e.g. touching people several times when they touch the
performer). Covert rituals may evoke negative evaluations and be considered
unconventional for network insiders and outsiders. Irrespective of the
evaluation, Kádár notes that they assist “social ‘survival’” (p. 89). Personal
rituals, on the other hand, are more likely to conform to network expectancies
(e.g. praying). Significantly, covert rituals may become personal rituals if
they are not negatively evaluated (e.g., talk between parents and children on
imaginary entities). Similarly, if taken up by the in-group, personal rituals
may become in-group rituals. The author notes that the last two types also
differ in terms of accessibility. Yet another difference between in-group and
social rituals concerns their lifespans such that the former is more likely to
disappear if the relational network no longer exists.

The cognitive dimension of relational rituals is further examined in Chapter
Five with respect to their recognition in interaction and to their affective
value. Regarding the noticing of rituals, Kádár argues that rituals may rise
from “consciousness” to “awareness” through the performer’s reflexive
awareness that the ritual may be more noticeable to other participants. From
the perspective of the participant, the ritual may become “marked” if it is
counter to expectations or if the participant’s “interactional situation”
changes (p. 110). Based on this terminology, the author mainly discusses how
rituals may be (strategically) brought from unmarked consciousness to marked
awareness to effect relational outcomes (e.g. avoiding relational tension and
giving face). Following earlier work, Kádár describes emotion as an “internal
response” and affection as a “process of social interaction”, which produces
emotion. While short-term emotions may be tied to interaction per se,
long-term emotions produced by rituals concerns feelings of relatedness and
are referred to as affectivity/affection (pp. 114, 125, 197). The author
underscores that emotion in ritual may not have a means-ends pattern and that
they may fluctuate during the interaction itself.

Chapter Six investigates destructive rituals, which are defined as acts that
stigmatise a person and corrupt the relationship. The analysis shows that some
forms of impoliteness also occur in destructive rituals, with the difference
that destructive rituals are recurrent phenomena. Kádár explains that the
destructive rituals in his data fall into three types. Ordered from the least
visible to the most visible these are: Recurrent non-doing (e.g., exclusion
from social events); recurrent covert offence (e.g., seemingly harmless but
destructive jokes; and recurrent reference to the stigma (e.g., personal
features) (pp. 148-160). The analysis also points to the significance of
recognising rituals, but this time it is observed that stigmatised persons
attribute the higher-order intention of planning (Talliard 2002; Bratman,
1999) to victimise the person.

Chapter Seven, the conclusion, first summarises the advantages of viewing
rituals as discursive relational phenomena. Kádár notes that the relational
approach places rituals within the broader context of
schematic/conventionalised acts, thereby allowing for their contextualised
investigation. He further notes that the approach also provides a framework
for researching the ritual-politeness interface at the discursive level. Based
on findings in his ongoing cross-cultural project on rituals, Kádár points out
the need to research the cross-cultural significance attached to social
rituals and ideologies of rituality. Further avenues of research are also
notedm, such as studying historical conceptualisations of rituality, the
function of discursive repetition in the development of ritual, and rituals
between networks.

With its explicit focus on relating, ‘Relational Rituals and Communication’
offers a new dimension to researching (linguistic) rituals from a discursive
perspective. As already noted, this work charts the analytic framework from
both the participant and the theoretical perspectives. A further significant
contribution is that it moves beyond the study of conventionalised
(ritualistic) speech act analysis to show that rituals may be expressed
through words, phrases and discourse frames. One of the volume’s strengths is
the variety of languages used to illustrate the framework. As such the book
promises to be a valuable resource for graduate students and researchers
investigating rituals and communication in pragmatics, social interaction,
(im)politeness, and cultural anthropology. In the following I dwell on some
theoretical aspects that are intended to develop future research, and point to
a terminological issue, with a suggestion for re-wording.

With good reason, Kádár’s definition of relational rituals highlights the
emergence of ritualised language from the relational history or the social
ethos of the participants. In this respect, the ritual practices that the
author discusses can be interpreted as dialogic in the Bakhtinian sense in
that one hears polyphonic voices and discourses (Bakhtin, 1981) that
(re-)create and (re-)shape ritual performances and frames of interaction
(e.g., the greeting reported in the summary). Intertwined with polyphony is
the notion of chronotopes, which place individuals within multiple time-space
dialogic interaction frames (Bakhtin 1981: 252). Systematically incorporating
such a dialogic understanding of ritual performance would enrich the analysis
of ritual moments in terms of changes in footing in the sense of participation
statuses (Goffman, 1979/1981) and the social frameworks (Goffman, 1974) that
are evoked in both constructive and destructive ritual practices. Expansion of
the framework along these lines would fall neatly into the analytic approach
in the work as the author himself too frequently refers to the animation of
voices and in-group ethos (e.g., pp. 19, 59). As ritual performance is closely
related to discursive identity construction (Koster, 2003), a dialogic
analysis could further elaborate how and what aspects of (relational) identity
are brought to consciousness and (strategically) employed in ritual practices.
Such an analytic approach could also open the way to future discursive
investigations of the interplay between relational rituals and power.

The recognition of a ritual practice is a significant aspect of the discursive
framework developed by Kádár. The author proposes two sets of terms in
discussing ritual practice that is considered normative for interactants and
cases of ritual practice that are made discursively salient either through
shifts in ritual frames effected by implicit and explicit metapragmatic
language or through metapragmatic talk on the ritual practice itself:
‘consciousness’ and ‘unmarked’ for ritual practice that is uncontested by
participants; and ‘awareness’ and ‘marked’ when a ritual practice becomes or
is made salient through metapragmatic devices (Verscheuren, 2000) or
discourse. Since the analyses of the data concern metapragmatic language and
discourse, a more suitable term in describing salient ritual practice
recognition could be ‘metapragmatic awareness’, as ‘consciousness’ and
‘awareness’ are used in overlapping senses both in everyday language and in
the technical literature, where terminology is notoriously varied (Velmans,
2009). It also seems to be more appropriate given the discursive analytic
approach employed in the book.

Bakhtin, Mikhail M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin, TX: University of
Texas Press.

Bratman, Michael E. 1999. Faces of Intention: Selected Essays on Intention and
Agency. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Burke, Peter. 2005. The Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Italy: Essays
on Perception and Communication. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University

Durkheim, Emile. 1912/1995. Karen E. Fields (trans.), The Elementary Forms of
Religious Life. New York: The Free Press.

Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of
Experience. New York: Harper & Row.

Goffman, Erving. 1979/1981. Footing. In Forms of Talk (pp. 124-159).
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Kádár, Daniel Z. 2007. On historical Chinese apology and its strategic
application. Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture 3.

Koster, Jan. 2003. Ritual performance and the politics of identity: On the
function and uses of ritual. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 4. 211-248.

Taillard, Marie-Odile. 2002. Beyond communicative intention. UCL Working
Papers in Linguistics 14. 189-206.

Velmans, Max. 2009. Understanding Consciousness (2nd. edn). London/New York:

Verschueren, Jef. 2000.  Notes on the role of metapragmatic awareness in
language use. Pragmatics 10. 439-456.

Sukriye Ruhi retired from Middle East Technical University as professor of
linguistics in 2012. She is currently manager of the Spoken Turkish Corpus
project. She has published articles and chapters on face and (im)politeness,
and continues research in these areas, along with research on emotion in
relating, and corpus linguistics.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2454

Review: Cognitive Science; Socioling; Text/Corpus Ling: Rácz (2013)

Monday, June 9th, 2014

AUTHOR: Péter  Rácz
TITLE: Salience in Sociolinguistics
SUBTITLE: A Quantitative Approach
SERIES TITLE: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL] 84
PUBLISHER: De Gruyter Mouton
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Victor Fernandez-Mallat, Universität Freiburg


As the author states in the preliminaries, this monograph is intended for
scholars or university students who want to become acquainted with salience as
a theme in linguistics, and, particularly, in sociolinguistics. Rácz believes
that, so far, the concept of salience in sociolinguistics has been regarded as
having a wide range of properties, from being equated with high token
frequency to being attributed an extra-linguistic property (see Siegel 2010:
120-127 for examples). In sum, the author argues that it has been loosely
defined. Thus, one of the general objectives of this book is to give a narrow
definition of salience in sociolinguistics. Among the other objectives are:
putting forward a singular scheme to make salience operational, and
ascertaining the theoretical relevance of salience, particularly, in the field
of language change, which is understood here as the way that novel variants
are transmitted in a speech community.

With these objectives in mind, the book is divided into three parts (excluding
the preliminaries chapter). Part I (pp. 23-54) reviews for us how the notion
of sociolinguistic salience has been practiced so far, builds up a narrow
definition of salience, and introduces a method to make salience operational.
Part II (pp. 55-128) consists of four case studies (definite article
reduction, glottalisation in the south of England, hiatus resolution in
Hungarian, and derhoticisation in Glasgow) in which the mechanism of making
salience operational is used. Part III (pp. 129-156) puts forward the
importance of the notion of salience to a theory of language change.

Part I

This section can be divided into four subsections. In the first one (pp.
23-25), Rácz provides an overview on how salience has been traditionally
defined in phonology, as well as in morphology. He argues that, whereas in
phonology a salient feature is one that stands out among others and that will
be noticeable both for linguists and language users, in morphology, a pattern
can be considered more salient if it is less marked from the point of view of
complexity, thus, “the more regular the pattern, the more it adheres to the
structure, the more salient it will be” (p. 24), in comparison to others, of

In the second section (pp. 25-31), Rácz outlines how the concept has been
generally framed in the field of sociolinguistics, where it “aspires for a
status as a stand-alone theoretical concept” (p. 25). He claims that it has
been interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, it can be used to allude to
linguistic variables that bear social indexation, and thus behave differently,
for example, in language contact situations. In this sense, salience is not
more than a synonym for ‘marker’ (cf. Labov 1972). On the other hand, it can
be a tag applied to variables that have perceptual and/or cognitive
prominence, that is, salience has an external basis and it cannot be justified
only by social dynamics. According to Rácz, opting for the second possibility
enables us to find a general ground for salience, whereas opting for the first
one means that we give up on finding a universal definition of it.

In the third section (pp. 31-35), Rácz looks at salience in visual cognition,
where it is seen as a notion connected to surprise in human perception. To put
it simply, one could consider an entity surprising (thus salient) if its
presence has a high information value compared to its surroundings. In other
words, according to the field of visual cognition, an entity is salient when
its presence among other entities is unexpected.

As we can see in the fourth section of Part I (pp. 36-54), Rácz turns to
salience in visual cognition to implement his own definition of salience in
sociolinguistics, and to subsequently make it operational. Based on his
immersion in the aforementioned field, he defines it as follows: “A segment is
cognitively salient if it has a large surprisal value when compared to an
array of language input” (p. 37). One of the main points that the author
underlines is that salience is a relative concept, that is to say, it is
always interpreted in a context. A linguistic variable can be considered
salient when its behaviour in a dialect is different enough from another one
(usually the norm) to be surprising for language users of the latter.
Particular emphasis is also placed on the fact that socially salient variables
are always cognitively salient, but that the opposite is not always the case.
As for making salience operational, one must measure surprisal through the
comparison of the transitional probabilities of the segmental realisations of
the variable under study, that is, through the contrast of differences in the
distributions of the segmental realisations of a variable in two dialects.

Part II

The first case study presented by Rácz is on definite article reduction (DAR)
in the North of England (pp. 55-69), which he defines as a glottal stop
variant of word-initial “the”, as in, for example, ‘the day’ [ʔdeɪ] or ‘the
order’ [ʔodə]. The author argues that even if glottal stops are already
present in Standard English (that is, they exist in the speech string and thus
will not be totally surprising for listeners), DAR’s salience can be explained
by its unlikelihood of occurrence in the aforementioned position. Therefore,
it can be said that DAR’s salience lies in the distribution of its
realisations, not in its presence. The author also points out that DAR’s
cognitive salience makes it an ideal candidate for being a marker. Indeed, he
stresses that it has been used for a long time in England as a feature to
illustrate typical Northern speech; thus “one can safely says that DAR is a
dialectal marker, used to express social or regional differences” (p. 59).

Rácz continues with the case of the glottalisation of /t/ in Southern English
(pp. 71-86), a well-documented feature that has been reported by various
authors (e.g. Williams & Kerswill 1999). Nowadays, it can occur in all
positions, but it is vigorously avoided among the middle class and upper
middle class before vowels — both word-finally and word-medially. According
to the author, one possible explanation for this avoidance is that, unlike
pre-consonantal glottalisation — a phonetically natural phenomenon whose
occurrence has been reported for a while now, pre-vocalic glottalisation is
rather new. Thus, its transitional probability is basically equal to zero. In
other words, any glottal stop in this environment is extremely unexpected,
thus it has a large surprisal value compared to pre-consonantal
glottalisation. Consequently, the author suggest that the glottalisation of
/t/ has developed salience as it spread to a new environment.

The third case study deals with hiatus resolution in Hungarian (pp. 89-100).
Rácz argues that while it is obligatory in vowel clusters including [i], and
variable in clusters with [eː], it is quite innovative in clusters with [ɛ].
Hence, for Educated Colloquial Hungarian (ECH) speakers, who are said to be
non-innovative, the third hiatus resolution pattern is cognitively salient,
since its occurrence has a large surprisal value compared to the first two
hiatus resolution patterns. In order to evaluate if cognitive salience
translates to social salience, Rácz performed an attitude study with native
speakers of ECH. The results show that ECH speakers are aware of the
innovative hiatus resolution pattern regarding the conservative one. According
to the author, the innovative hiatus resolution pattern’s salience emerges
from a difference in transitional probabilities, which “renders the pattern
less familiar to the listeners” (p. 99). The low probability of occurrence for
the pattern was confirmed by data that he draws from the Hungarian Webcorpus.

The last case study presented by Rácz deals with derhoticisation (the
vocalisation of coda /r/) in Glasgow (pp. 101-128), which is, probably, one of
the most widely researched sociolinguistic features in English studies (cf.
Stuart-Smith et al. 2007, for example). Rácz shows that this feature lacks
social salience despite meeting the requirements for being sociolinguistically
salient, namely, it displays differences in segmental distributions and clear
social stratification; and that this dearth of salience can be linked to an
absence of cognitive salience, that is to say, to a lack of surprisal in its
distributions. The latter can be tied to the important extent of inherent
variation exhibited by derhoticisation. Therefore, this is a sort of
counterexample to the previous case studies.

Part III

This section considers the relevance of both cognitive salience and its social
indexation to linguistic theory. One of the questions that Rácz puts forward
is whether we should assume a distinction between salient and non-salient
variables outside the field of sociolinguistics. The author argues that
cognitive salience has strong consequences to models of linguistic competence,
in that it grants us to depict salient variation and its counterpart,
non-salient variation, and explain why the latter receives no consideration
from language users. Rácz also shows salience’s relevance to linguistic
change, namely sound change. He shows that for the case of network-based
models of change (cf. Milroy 2007, Eckert 2000, among others), which pay
considerable attention to speaker/variant prestige in sound change, the theory
of salience that he defends provides additional support, because it puts at
one’s disposal self-reliant tools to confirm the salience of a variable.


This book is sure to appeal to scholars and students that are particularly
interested in the notion of salience in sociolinguistics. It introduces a
corpus-based (i.e. empirical) approach to appraising the salience of
phonological variation — both at a cognitive and a social level, and
contributes a procedure and case studies for this approach. Moreover, it is
also a work that can be appealing for researchers of fields such as linguistic
change and general linguistic theory, since that, in the third part of the
book, the author took the trouble to show how the notion of salience that he
puts forward can be used in these fields. It can thus be said that the author
has achieved the goals set at the beginning of this book.

In spite of that, this book is not without a few (very) minor issues. For one
thing, Rácz introduces a new terminology in place of such conventional terms
as ‘indicators’ and ‘markers’ (cf. Labov 1972), for ‘cognitive salience’ and
‘social salience’, respectively. Although, thanks to the author’s entrance in
the field of visual cognition, this is totally justified, and his approach
ends up making these concepts’ understanding a lot easier, and their
operationalization more practical. The other minor issue might be that of all
the case studies presented, none analyzed salience in so-called standard
dialects. Indeed, the four case studies presented by Rácz describe how a
feature from a nonstandard dialect is salient from the perspective of a
standard one. I am really curious to know how the author would use these
concepts and their operationalization in cases that adopt the opposite
perspective, that is to say, in cases where salience is analyzed from a
nonstandard dialect and its speakers.

These minor issues aside, this book is an interesting and useful resource for
corpus-based research in the field of sociolinguistics.


Eckert, Penelope. 2000. Linguistic variation as social practice: The
linguistic construction of identity in Belten High. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Labov, William. 1972. Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press.

Milroy, Leslie. 2007. Off the shelf or under the counter? On the social
dynamics of sound changes. Studies in History of the English Language 3.

Siegel, Jeff. 2010. Second Dialect Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

Stuart-Smith, Jane, Claire Timmins & Fiona Tweedie. 2007. Talkin’ jockney?
Variation and change in Glaswegian accent. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11 (2).

Williams, Ann & Paul Kerswill. 1999. Dialect levelling; change and continuity
in Milton Keynes, Reading and Hull. In Paul Foulkes & Gerard Docherty (eds.),
Urban voices. Accent studies in the British Isles, 141-162. London: Edward


Víctor Fernández-Mallat is currently an associate researcher for the Research
training group GRK DFG 1624/1 “Frequency effects in language” and a lecturer
for University of Basel’s Institut für Iberoromanistik. His research interests
include sociolinguistic variation and change, dialects in contact, and
Hispanic linguistics. His current research project focuses on the interplay of
convergence and divergence processes in dialect contact situations.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2443

Review: Linguistic Theories; Syntax: Kuiper & Noakes (2013)

Monday, June 9th, 2014

AUTHOR: Koenraad  Kuiper
AUTHOR: Jacqui  Noakes
TITLE: Theories of Syntax
SUBTITLE: Concepts and Case Studies
PUBLISHER: Palgrave Macmillan
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Kariema El Touny, Women’s College for Arts, Science, and Education, Ain Shams University


Although there are many books on syntax and syntactic theories, it is
interesting to read a new approach to the topic. The authors admit to this
truth as early as in the preface. In it, their motives for writing the book
and the route they take in presenting them are explained.

The book is divided into two major parts. Part I (three chapters) deals with
the concepts of syntax to pave the way for Part II, which consists of five
chapters listing four current theories of syntax. These four distinct theories
are presented systematically through seven syntactic phenomena, which the
authors use as case studies to show how each theory tries to explain them.

Part I: Concepts of Syntax

In chapter 1, the authors explain what syntax is, and why we would study it.
One reason they bring up is the existence of some problematic structures, such
as ambiguous sentences and various word orders. Another reason is the
observation that there is a difference between what speakers of the same
language understand/infer and what those who hear the language for the first
time do. By doing so, the authors pose questions to advocate for the creation
of a syntactic theory to answer them. Finally, after establishing the need for
it, they give the methods by which to accomplish that.

Linguists are like scientists of any field in this respect. Studying a
language is compared to studying animals or plants. Zoologists and botanists
not only pick specimens, take samples, run tests, and obtain results, but also
create taxonomic charts to find similarities and differences between species.
The process they implement is called hypothetico-deductive methodology; where
a hypothesis is proposed, followed by tests, if the results are unfavorable,
the hypothesis is modified.

Chapter 2 is dedicated to listing the concepts that any model of syntax for
any natural language should account for. These are: Adjacency, Domain,
Constituency, Dependency, Function, Morpho-syntactic Form, and Inherent and
Assigned Properties.

First, Adjacency requirements and restrictions should be explained. In a
sentence, sometimes it is grammatical for some syntactic units to be adjacent
to other specific units due to their relationship; otherwise the sentence
would be marked as ungrammatical. For example (p. 16):

1.a Alice ate the cake.
1.b *Alice ate quickly the cake.

In (1), the verb ‘eat’ must be adjacent to ‘the cake’. The adverb ‘quickly’,
describing the manner of eating, cannot come between the two words.

Second, Domain is another form of relationship between units. The authors use
the analogy of a wedding photo to explain the concept. The bride and groom are
a domain, the bride’s family is another domain, the groom’s family is another,
the bride’s parents are a sub-domain, the groom’s sisters are a sub-domain,
and so on. Each member of a specific family could not stand in the middle of
the other; for example, a groom’s sister could not stand between the bride’s
parents. The picture/sentence would not be symmetrical/grammatical.

Third, a significant concept of syntax is Constituency, the mechanism by which
smaller units are combined with other units to form larger constituents.
Constituency also deals with the reasoning behind choosing units to form a
coherent constituent.

Dependency is the fourth concept. It occurs when a unit requires the presence,
form, or certain properties of another unit in the sentence. For example (p.

1.a Alice saw herself in the looking glass.

The antecedent ‘Alice’ determines the reflexive pronoun’s gender and number,
thus, using ‘herself’ instead of ‘himself’ or ‘themselves’.

The fifth concept is Function. Each unit has its role to play. This role could
be determining the category of a phrase; consequently, how and where the
phrase is used. For example:

4.a The key opened the door.

The noun ‘key’ identifies ‘the key’ as a noun phrase. Hence, its
grammatical/syntactic function is the head of the noun phrase. The location of
the noun phrase at the beginning of the sentence is its semantic/logical
function as the subject of the sentence. On the other hand, the
semantic/logical function of ‘the door’, another noun phrase, is the object.

Sixth, the Morpho-syntactic Form of a word provides both syntactic and
semantic information. For instance, the singular vs. plural forms affect the
meaning conveyed by the sentence. Consider the examples in (5) (p. 27):

5.a My tooth fell out.
5.b My teeth fell out.

The seventh concept, Inherent and Assigned Properties, could be applied to
many of the previous ones. Function is an example of both inherent and
assigned/relational properties. The noun functions as the head of the noun
phrase inherently, while its function in a sentence as either the subject or
the object is assigned.

Chapter 3 starts with a brief summary of some discourse functions, like
presupposition, and a few semantic concepts, such as reference, that play a
role in syntax. Then, the authors list the case studies and their different
interpretations by each theory. These phenomena are: Phrase Structure and
Complementation, Grammatical Relations, Case, Passive Constructions, WH
Questions, Pronominals, and Phonologically Null Syntactic Elements. The
authors draw on several of the syntactic concepts mentioned in Chapter 2 to
present these case studies:

1) Phrase Structure and Complementation relies on Constituency, Domain,
Dependency, and Adjacency, in the formation of phrases, the choice of
complements, and the relationship between these elements.
2) Grammatical Relations is presented using Function.
3) Case involves Constituency, Domain, Dependency, and Function.
4) Passive Constructions include Dependency and Function, and fall under
Domain constraints.
5) WH Questions rely on Domain, Dependency, and Function.
6) Pronominals or Pro-forms involve Dependency and have Domain restrictions.
7) Phonologically Null Syntactic Elements rely on Dependency and are subject
to Domain constraints.

Depending on the particular theory of syntax, each of these case studies is
presented and explained within that theory.

Part II Theories of Syntax

Each chapter, 4-7, is dedicated to one theory. These are: Systematic
Functional Grammar, the Principles and Parameters Framework, Lexical
Functional Grammar, and the Minimalist Program. They are presented in
chronological order, 1960s to 1990s, to provide the reader with a panoramic
view of the on-going change within the field. The authors start with a brief
history of each theory; then, they outline each using the concepts and case
studies, while mentioning a few of the controversies within it.

In chapter 8, the authors re-examine the problematic structures they
previously mentioned in chapter 1 and state whether each theory could explain
them or not. They conclude that some questions are never answered; and if they
are, some answers are better than others. In addition, syntactic theories are
not the sole criterion by which a language should be studied. There are many
factors involved in its study, such as biology and psychology.

Comparing the four theories could be achieved by taking four factors into
consideration. One is the aims of each theory. A second is the generality of
these aims. A third is whether the theory utilizes the hypothetico-deductive
methodology or not. Last is the explicit nature of the theory and its

The authors end the book by describing how syntactic theories are
locally-based depending on the theorists working on them. Hallidayan
approaches are mainly in Australia, where Michael Halliday works; Lexical
Functional Grammar is based at Stanford University, where Joan Bresnan is; and
Linguistic Inquiry, published by MIT, where Noam Chomsky teaches, is mainly
dedicated to Chomskian framework. Unlike Physics, for instance, these varied
disciplines rarely mingle and collaborations are very few. This is attributed
to the relatively young age of syntactic theories, where many are still


The book is easy to read and flows logically. In it, the authors give the
reader a fresh view on the study of syntax; the reasons for studying it, and
the methods to accomplish that. They maintain that the book will not delve
into any controversies surrounding any particular theory nor will it offer
solutions to any supposed weaknesses. They use examples solely from English to
generalize the concepts and the case studies. Their proposed blueprint could
be applied to any language. The structure of the middle chapters, 4-7, is
unique. Each chapter is repetitive in nature to give the reader the
prerogative to choose specific chapters to read as stand-alones.

The book is not for a true beginner, someone who does not know the basic
concepts and common definitions of syntax. To best use this book, the reader
needs to be familiar with basic grammatical functions like subject, predicate,
and object; grammatical categories like noun, verb, and preposition; phrase
structures like noun phrase and verb phrase; and the difference between a main
and a subordinate clause. In addition, the book makes use of tree diagrams;
hence the ability to reading them is required.

The book suffers from many typos and mis-numbered examples, which may cause
some confusion. For example, p3, 2nd line from the bottom; p12, 9th line from
the bottom; p26, 1st line in 2.7; p33, 4th line in 3.2; the numbers of
examples 1, 2, and 3 in chapter 2 are repeated.

Nevertheless, the book has many redeeming features. One is providing the
reader, at the end of each chapter including the preface, with questions for
revision, reflection, and discussion, plus a list of books for further reading
and the references used. Another is using one source for the examples, Lewis
Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” This way, the reader gets
unified material for the diverse theories to explain, which makes comparing
and contrasting them easier.


Carroll, L., Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (retrieved from (original publication date 1865).


Kariema El Touny has an MA from Women’s College, Ain Shams University. Her
interests include (but are not limited to) Syntax, Arabic Dialectology,
Typology, and Theory Construction. She has presented and published her
research on Cairene Arabic syntax within the frameworks of the Minimalist
Program and Optimality Theory.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2444

Review: Linguistics & Literature: Alexandre (2013)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

EDITOR: Didier  Alexandre
TITLE: L’Ironie: formes et enjeux d’une écriture contemporaine
PUBLISHER: Classiques Garnier
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Sabina Tabacaru, Université Lille – Nord de France

This volume is a collection of articles on irony in contemporary French
literature, discussing the forms and functions irony plays by analyzing it in
relation to modern writers and modern society.

The volume begins with Didier Alexandre and Pierre Schoentjes’ analysis (“Le
point sur l’ironie contemporaine”), surveying major points about irony in
French contemporary literature (1980-2010). They present an overview of the
use of irony in the literature written after the Nouveau Roman, a phenomenon
which is not strictly French (as shown by articles here which often refer to
foreign novels). Regarding the role irony plays in contemporary literature,
they emphasize how starting with writers such as Philippe Hamon, irony has
been used to serve different aims. Moreover, it replaces the serious tone of
previous literary works. Finally, they come up with four categories of irony
found in the works of authors discussed in this collection: playful,
postmodern (with American elements), philosophical, and black.

René Audet’s analysis titled “Une poétique illusionniste” treats irony in the
novels of Chevillard and Langelier. On the one hand, the author focuses on
Chevillard’s strong verbal irony, the way the situations and the characters in
his novels are clearly ironic, as well as his use of multiple intertextual
references. On the other hand, he compares Chevillard’s work to Langelier’s,
whose irony is not verbal, but whose ironic style creates gaps in the
discourse in order to mock the psych-pop culture. The author thus notes the
rich implications and the dynamic of texts that adopt this ironic reflection.

Olivier Bansard-Banquy writes an overview of current French literature in
“Écrits vains. De la futilité des lettres aujourd’hui”, commenting that
“nothing is to be taken seriously anymore” (p. 33, my translation). He
compares contemporary literature to earlier work, and sees this new trend as a
kind of entertainment, that has not  preserved anything from the values and
style of classical writers. In his view, this type of literature follows the
same template, combining irony and self-deprecatory humor. In modern society,
literature is only a product, and the purpose is to sell.

On a similar note, Bruno Blanckeman’s article “L’ironie dans l’œuvre
romanesque de Michel Houellebecq” refers to the literary work of Houellebecq,
whose irony is mixed with satire. This satire is inspired by the classical
view, but it depicts modern society as well as modern characters and should
not be taken at face value. The purpose of irony in these novels is to
highlight ridicule of contemporary society. Blanckeman shows how Houellebecq
uses the influence of 19th century French literature in order to deride
everything that is happening to his characters.

Vicky Colin discusses femininist issues in the work of Darrieussecq (“L’ironie
dans les romans de Marie Darrieussecq”). Particularly, she analyzes three
novels written by Darrieussecq (“Truismes”, “La Naissance des fantômes” and
“Tom est mort”), which present lost and lonely women. Irony is dramatic
because it brings into focus the pain that these women endure. They isolate
themselves and this allows ironic distancing, because these women try to
understand what is happening to them. Colin concludes that “irony does not
underline anxiety … It does not calm, but feeds the crisis” these women
encounter (p. 76, my translation).

Tara Collington examines types of irony in the work of Nothomb (“La «scène» de
l’ironie chez Amélie Nothomb”). According to her the author uses four types of
irony (verbal, situational, intertextual, and auto-referential), for which she
gives lengthy descriptions. Generally, this classification highlights the
incongruity that irony creates, for instance, between what is said and what is
meant. Irony is seen as a play because society itself is nothing but a
“theater” (cf. Hamon 1996).

Irina de Herdt chooses Quignard’s novels (“Vœu de silence”, “Petits traités
“and “Dernier royaume”) to talk about humor and, particularly, verbal irony in
“Une gêne rhétorique à l’égard de l’ironie”. Similar to Collington’s analysis,
she also mentions an incongruity between two incompatible meanings. But
generally, it is the idea of discomfort and awkwardness that best describes
Quignard’s work. She follows Quignard’s development as a writer through these
novels in order to show how irony openly allows an idea of rhetorical

In “Mauvaise foi narratologique dans deux romans de Jean-Philippe Toussaint”,
Laurent Demoulin evaluates two novels by Toussaint (“La Télévision” and “La
Vérité sur Marie”), focusing on the narrator’s bad faith and the author’s
irony that comes from watching the former lie to himself. Again, as noted
above, irony comes from a certain incongruity between different situations.
Demoulin also points out the differences between narrator and author, looking
at clear examples drawn from the two novels.

In “Les ironies post-exotiques : essai de topographie d’espaces instables”,
Joëlle Gleize addresses disaster humor with the work of different novelists
(Bassmann, Draeger and Volodine). The main question is how to explain the
“strange” side of post-exotic irony. This style refers to disasters and
resistance, where humor has the role of creating a distance between the
stories that are told and the narrator.

In “«Ça va v’nir pis ça va v’nir». Autorité narrative et prophéties
postmodernes dans Tarmac de Nicolas Dickner et La Logeuse d’Éric Dupont”
Stéphane Larrivée and Andrée Mercier analyze French Canadian literature,
focusing on two novelists: Dickner (“Tarmac”) and Dupont (“La logeuse”). These
two writers build their contribution around the idea of apocalypse and
predictions, where irony is used in order to put things into perspective.
Moreover, Larrivée and Mercier examine the different voices and roles of
narrators in the two novels.

Katrien Liévois reviews irony in African literature in the works of Tansi,
Kourouma, and Mabanckou (“D’une ironie francophone à une ironie-monde ? Formes
et enjeux de l’ironie chez Labou Tansi, Kourouma et Mabanckou”). Although
these three authors opt for different types of irony (dark in Tansi’s work,
philosophical in Kourouma’s, and, finally, postmodern in Mabanckou’s novels),
they all bring into line parts of African history, by mixing different verbal
styles, intertextual references and satire.

In “Ironie pour endurer la saison froide”, Anne Roche considers irony in
Senges’ “Fragments de Lichtenberg”. Generally, the novel comprises numerous
satirical and distorted elements as well as rich meta-textual references. Even
if irony is a way of putting things into perspective and creating a gap before
historical catastrophes, Roche also provides a precise analysis of the rich
implications in this novel.

Toussaint’s work is again analyzed by Gianfranco Rubino who points out his
situational and verbal irony in  “Parcours de l’ironie chez Jean-Philippe
Toussaint”. These techniques are humorous and comical, but also mirror a
touching side to Toussaint’s novels. Notably, Rubino follows Toussaint’s
development as a writer throughout his novels, and discusses the change in his
literary strategy.

In “L’ironie contemporaine de la fugue à la fantaisie. Chevillard au risque de
l’ironie” Pierre Schoentjes discusses the work of Chevillard (“Le Vaillant
petit tailleur”) by comparing it to Tournier’s. It is shown that irony in
these novels is based on allusions and references that readers have to
recognize and that build an affinity between the author and the readers.
Moreover, he considers some of these references, concluding that they are
accessible enough for readers to be able to ‘play the game’.

Jia Zhao analyzes the work of Echenoz in “L’ironie du sort dans Le Méridien de
Greenwich d’Échenoz”, by discussing the theme of irony of fate. Through a
comparison to Greek tragedy, Zhao manages to nicely show how modern
individuals have replaced Greek heroes. Hence, in Echenoz’s work, the modern
society that he so openly mocks (with its absurd situations and its
bureaucracy) has replaced classical tragedy.

Finally, in her article “L’ironie tragique des vies ordinaires. Dans la foule
de Laurent Mauvignier”, Sarah Sindaco focuses on Mauvignier’s novel “Dans la
foule”. She discusses situational, but also verbal irony, as well as mockery
of national stereotypes. It is the incongruity between surprising situations
that is at work, and Sindaco quotes Muecke (1969: 102) in order to define this
as irony of events: “the ironic incongruity … between the expectation and
the event”. What is more, she examines the diverse ironic techniques used by
the different narrators in the novel.

The book also contains an author index, as well as abstracts of the articles
in this volume and presentations of the authors.

This volume raises important issues concerning contemporary irony. Notably, as
pointed out by Alexandre and Schoentjes from the beginning (p. 13), the
purpose of this volume is not to define irony, but to go beyond a simple
definition of the term. Addressing irony allows pointing out its rich meanings
and purposes. These articles do not only show an overview of irony in
different novels, but also see the profound links and connections this writing
technique implies.

Furthermore, given the growing interest in this topic (in linguistics,
psychology, and so on), this volume provides a much-needed study of irony in
modern French literature. It presents an in-depth analysis, addressing the
issue of forms and aims, and using rich references to contemporary literature
worldwide. Besides, it often goes back and forth with references to classical
novels that help compare the development of the writing technique. By focusing
on novels written in French (i.e., not just from France, but Africa and Canada
as well), it shows the link between all these recent literary works, irony.
The lengthy analyses of irony throughout the volume allow seeing the
phenomenon more explicitly and acknowledge its importance nowadays.

All in all, this volume is highly recommended to anyone interested in irony
and literature. As Schoentjes (p. 223) remarks, it is inconceivable today to
discuss contemporary literature without also finding a place for irony.
Several chapters focus on the same authors from different perspectives, which
adds to the book’s substance. The book is accessible, with examples from the
contemporary works under discussion, as well as clear outlines of the main
characters and the plot. The analyses of the ironic situations are well
presented and provide invaluable insight into the phenomenon.

Hamon, P. 1996. L’Ironie littéraire. Essais sur les formes de l’écriture
oblique. Paris: Hachette.

Muecke, D.C. 1969. The Compass of Irony. London: Methuen.

Sabina Tabacaru is a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Lille 3
(France) and K.U. Leuven (Belgium). She is currently preparing a dissertation
on a cognitive and multi-modal approach to humor and sarcasm. Apart from humor
theories and Cognitive Linguistics, her research interests include discourse
analysis, pragmatics, semantics, and psycholinguistics.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2424

Review: Ling. Theories; Pragmatics; Syntax: Del Campo Martínez (2013)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

AUTHOR: Nuria  Del Campo Martínez
TITLE: Illocutionary constructions in English: Cognitive motivation and linguistic realization
SUBTITLE: A study of the syntactic realizations of the directive, commissive and expressive speech acts in English
SERIES TITLE: Europäische Hochschulschriften / European University Studies / Publications Universitaires Européennes – Band 497
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Kim Ebensgaard Jensen, Aalborg University

This book addresses syntactic realizations of directive, commissive and
expressive speech act functions in English. It grows from a dissertation that
adopts and seeks to further develop the Lexical Constructional Model
(henceforth LCM).

It contains fifteen chapters, including an introduction and a conclusion.
Chapter 2 accounts for the theoretical framework del Campo Martínez’ treatment
of illocutionary acts. Chapters 3 to 15 provide a catalog of illocutionary
constructions, each discussing a particular illocutionary act function and
analyzing its constructional realizations. Chapter 15 concludes.

The introduction, chapter 1, addresses previous work in speech act theory and
analysis, distinguishing between grammatical speech act theories, which focus
on the codification of speech act functions (e.g. Searle 1969, Halliday 1994,
Dik 1989), and inferential speech act theories, which focus on the role of
inference in decoding of speech act functions (e.g. Bach & Harnish 1979, Leech
1983), suggesting that both are insufficient in terms of which phenomena they
can actually account for. She argues that a cognitivist approach may enable
linguists to fill the gaps that grammatical and inferential speech act
theories fail to address. According to del Campo Martínez, illocution is a
matter of applying cognitive processes and inferential schemas to situational
cognitive models. Moreover, illocutionary functions are linked to
constructional structures. To address this, del Campo Martínez adopts LCM
(e.g. Ruiz de Mendoza & Mairal 2011) and argues that speech acts draw on a
cost-benefit idealized cognitive model (Ruiz de Mendoza & Baicchi 2007). Del
Campo Martínez’ study takes a semantics-oriented stance towards illocution
rather than a pragmatics-oriented one, which is made possible by cognitivist
conceptions of semantic structures and processes. Del Campo Martínez also
accounts for her method of analysis in the introduction. She draws on corpus
data retrieved from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and the
British National Corpus (BNC), arguing, however, that the best empirical
approach to illocutionary data includes metalinguistic intuitive judgments.
Essentially, the method consists of elaborating a list of constructions in the
corpora that do illocutionary work; she defends this method by comparing it to
the lexicologist’s challenge of deciding class membership of lexical items.
While drawing on corpus data, and acknowledging the usefulness of statistical
analysis, del Campo Martínez’s position is 1) that statistical analysis is
merely a complementary tool to cognitive linguistic qualitative analysis, 2)
that it does not have explanatory value, and 3) that it is not able to reveal
all constraints that apply to language production. Del Campo Martínez thus
refrains from applying any statistical analysis beyond counting occurrences
realizations of utterance functions, dividing them into construction types and
their tokens of occurrence.

Chapter two is entitled ‘A cognitive approach to illocution’. Spanning 85
pages, this massive chapter contains heaps of important information. The first
subsection provides an overview of conceptual representation in cognitive
accounts of language in general. Her overview of these concepts takes del
Campo Martínez to Ruiz de Mendoza’s distinction between low and high levels of
linguistic description. Low levels cover specific levels of conceptual
representation that involve entrenched links between elements of encyclopedic
knowledge. High levels are generic levels of conceptual representation that
are derived from low levels via generalization and abstraction over
commonalities of low level structures. The second subsection provides an
overview of cognitive approaches to grammar. Del Campo Martínez concludes the
“main weakness of constructionist approaches concerns their inability to give
a solid explanation of the element that constrain the unification of syntactic
patterns and lexical entries” (p. 44). Having covered the essentials of
cognitive linguistics and constructionist approaches to grammar, and having
pointed out what she perceives to be their weaknesses, Del Campo Martínez
devotes the third subsection to describing LCM.  Combining principles from
construction grammar with principles from so-called projectionist functional
grammar models such as Role and Reference Grammar (e.g. Van Valin & LaPolla
1997) and Functional Grammar (e.g. Dik 1989) should, according to del Campo
Martínez, cover the gaps left by its parent models. According to LCM’s
proponents, the model ensures consistency and simplicity in the study of
meaning construction. In simple terms, LCM integrates four constructional
layers: namely, argument structure constructions, implicational constructions,
illocutional constructions, and discourse constructions, all of which are
governed by their own internal constraints. Two cognitive processes control
the interaction between lexemes and constructions. The process of cued
inferencing covers inference of implicit information from utterances via
linguistic and contextual clues. The process of subsumption incorporates low
level structures into high level structures, resulting in semantic
representations ready for syntactic realization. LCM distinguishes between
lexical templates and constructional templates. The former draws on the
logical structures associated with lexemes in Role and Reference Grammar and
the semantic primitives suggested by Wierzbicka (1996). The latter encompasses
distinctive semantic, pragmatic, and contextual parameters within the same
lexical domain. There are four types of constructional template in LCM, which
correspond to the four levels mentioned above. The most important
constructional template type in relation to del Campo Martínez’ study is the
illocutionary construction, which is a constructional templates realize
illocutionary functions, which in LCM is linked up with the cost-benefit
model. The fourth subsection addresses in detail the cost-benefit model, which
consists of a number of idealized social interaction and relation types which
are formulated as conditional structures. Two examples are “If it is manifest
to A that a particular state of affairs is not beneficial to B, and if A has
the capacity to change that state of affairs, then A should do so” (p. 78) and
“If it is manifest to A that A is responsible for a certain state of affairs
to be to A’s benefit, A may feel proud about this situation and make it
manifest to B” (p. 79).

Conventionalized (and non-conventionalized) illocutionary constructions codify
scenarios in this cognitive model. For instance, a request like ‘Could you
bring me a glass of water’ codifies the following idealized scenario in the
cost-benefit model: “If it is manifest to A that a potential state of affairs
is beneficial to B, then A is expected to bring it about” (p. 78), such that
the bringing of water is beneficial to the speaker and the listener is then
expected to bring the speaker a glass of water. In this subsection, del Campo
Martínez also presents her specific approach to illocution which draws on and
refines the framework already provided in LCM. Thus, she introduces a system
of formulation of high-level models that generate the low-level scenarios in
the cost-benefit model, and a specification of constructional realization of
illocutionary functions.

The remaining chapters, save chapter 15, offers del Campo Martínez’ analysis
of constructional realizations of speech act types, which each chapter
addressing its own speech act type. The speech act types covered are orders,
requests, advices, offers, promises, threats, congratulations, thanks,
apologies, pardons, condolences, and boasts. These chapters are similarly
organized, so that a description of the general structure will suffice here.
The first part discusses the semantics of the speech act type in question,
linking it up with the cost-benefit model such that the codified conventions
and parameters associated with the speech act type are specified. This is
followed by an overview of constructional realization procedures of the speech
act type in question. The analysis is tied in with the three basic sentences
types – namely, imperative, declarative, and interrogatives. Before going
through these a quantitative overview is given in which the distribution of
constructional types and tokens over the three sentence types is offered
(using raw frequencies). The qualitative analysis takes the form of a
construction-by-construction description of the realizations of the act
function in question, belonging to each of the three sentence types. Each
description is accompanied by a few examples from COCA and BNC. To give an
example of the nature of her analysis, del Campo Martínez finds that, within
the domain of imperative realizations of the speech act of advising, there are
two constructions the collective number of occurrences of which is sixteen:
‘consider VP’ an ‘think about VP’. The former is described as asking the
listener to evaluate the benefits of doing something, presenting the act as a
hypothetical one rather than a real one. The latter is described as having the
same premise as the former, but ‘think about’ requests an evaluation by the
listener which is less careful. Thus, del Campo Martínez offers not just
descriptions of the constructional realizations in question; she also
addresses the differences  and similarities between several of the
constructions within a given illocutionary domain. At the end of the day, the
analysis strikes me as catalog of illocutionary constructions, which is
definitely useful — both because of the descriptions that are provided and
with a view to future research.

Del Campo Martínez’ book is definitely interesting, and provides some
interesting insights into speech acts from a constructional perspective. There
has been a general focus on semantics in construction grammar, although
pragmatics has always been considered part of what constitutes in the content
of a construction. For instance, Croft (2001) includes discourse-pragmatics on
the content plane of a construction, and Fillmore et al. (1988) operate with
the idea of pragmatic points in their treatment of idiomatic constructions.
However, systematic studies of pragmatic aspects of constructions are still
few and far between, so, in that sense, del Campo Martínez’ dissertation is
definitely a contribution to both construction grammar and illocution theory
that should not be underestimated.

I have some reservations though. I am not quite sure I agree with Martinez’
use of frequency and quantification in her analysis. The quantitative aspect
of her analysis was mentioned above, but here is a closer description. For
each of the three sentence types, she identifies the number of construction
types within its domain, and then specifies the overall token frequency of the
types collectively. For instance with the speech act of boasting, there are 11
declarative construction types, 2 interrogative construction types, and 2
imperative construction types. In all there are 270 occurrences of declarative
speech acts of boasting, 14 occurrences of interrogative speech acts of
boasting, and 6 imperative speech acts of boasting. These numbers are taken to
be correlate with mechanisms of codification. Thus, in the case of boasting,
declaratives are seen as being particularly suitable vehicles of boasting, as
the high frequency of occurrence of boasting declarative constructional
realization tokens correlates, in del Campo Martínez’ analysis, with the fact
that boasting essentially is a statement on the state-of-affairs. Imperatives
and interrogatives, on the other hand, are not suitable for boasting, because
of their non-declarative utterance functions, and this correlates with the low
token frequency or constructional realizations within their domains. Such
correlations may well hold. Indeed, it seems logical that there should be a
correlation between frequency of occurrence and compatibility or
incompatibility between utterance function and illocutionary function.
However, because the data have not been statistically tested, we cannot know
whether or not these correlations are actually statistically significant, and,
strictly speaking, Martinez’ quantifications do not — from a statistical
perspective – provide much evidence. Had they been tested for significance,
then we would at least know whether or not the correlations were coincidental
or not. Moreover, a more fine-grained approach to frequencies might also have
been interesting and have shed some light on the use of the speech act
constructions. For instance, it would be interesting to know if there are
differences in frequency among the constructional realizations of a given
illocutionary function within the domain of one sentence type. For instance,
is ‘can I congratulate you on NP’ a more or less frequent imperative
realization of the thanking speech act function than ‘may I congratulate you
on NP’? And are there differences in association patterns among different
realization patterns?

However, del Campo Martínez does provide arguments for her use of
quantification, so she can obviously not be accused of not having considered
the usability of statistics. The monograph was originally a dissertation, and
dissertations are often subject to space and time limitations. With that in
mind, I find the scope of del Campo Martínez’ study completely satisfactory.
Because it is essentially a dissertation, the volume is of primary interest to
researchers in pragmatics and construction grammar, and not relevant as
teaching material — although students working on a project on illocution
would probably find it very useful.

These reservations aside, del Campo Martínez’ study is an important
contribution to construction grammar and cognitive linguistics in general, and
to LCM in particular. As mentioned above, by addressing a pragmatic issue, it
has generated important knowledge that construction grammarians in general can
draw on in future research, and it reminds us that pragmatics (even if
oriented towards conceptual semantics in this case) does have a place in
constructionist-cognitivist theory. Secondly, given that LCM is a recent
theory, still being developed, del Campo Martínez’ treatment of illocutionary
constructions within that framework is undeniably a contribution to LCM that
will, I really hope, leave an imprint on LCM and play a role in its future
development. Lastly, and this is to me the most important contribution, the
many illocutionary constructions identified by del Campo Martínez in this
study are now available to be further investigated, tested, and elaborated
upon by linguists in the future (including herself, I hope). And the discovery
of phenomena is, after all, one of the most important contributions one can
make to any science.

Bach, Kent & Robert M. Harnish. 1979. Linguistic communication and speech
acts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Croft, William A. 2001. Radical construction grammar: Syntactic theory in
typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dik, Simon. 1989. The theory of functional grammar: The structure of the
clause. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Fillmore, Charles, Paul Kay and Catherine O’Connor (1988). Regularity and
idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone. Language 64.

Halliday, M.A.K. 1994. An introduction to Functional Grammar. 2nd ed. London:
Edward Arnold.

Leech, Geoffrey. 1983. Principles of pragmatics. London: Longman.

Ruiz de Mendoza, Francisco R. & Annalisa Baicchi. 2007. Illocutionary
constructions: Cognitive motivation and linguistic realization. In Kecskés,
István & Laurence R. Horn (eds.), Explorations in Pragmatics: Linguistic,
Cognitive, and Intercultural Aspects. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 95-128.

Ruiz de Mendoza, Francisco R. & Ricardo Mairal. 2011. Constraints on syntactic
alternation: Lexical-constructional subsumption in the Lexical Constructional
Model. In Guerrero, Pilar (ed.), Morphosyntactic alternations in English:
Functional and cognitive perspectives. London: Equinox. 62-82.

Searle, John R. 1969. Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Van Valin, Robert, and Randy LaPolla. 1997. Syntax: Structure, Meaning and
Function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wierzbicka, Anna. 1996. Semantics, Primes and Universals. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.

Kim Ebensgaard Jensen is an associate professor of English at Aalborg
University where he teaches courses in English linguistics and discourse
analysis. His research interests include cognitive linguistics, construction
grammar, and corpus linguistics.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2425

Review: Sociolinguistics; English: Hirano (2013)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

AUTHOR: Keiko  Hirano
TITLE: Dialect Contact and Social Networks
SUBTITLE: Language Change in an Anglophone Community in Japan
SERIES TITLE: Bamberger Beiträge zur Englischen Sprachwissenschaft / Bamberg Studies in English Linguistics – Band 56
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Jason Steve Sarkozi, Central Michigan University


This book is addressed to readers, especially sociolinguists, interested in
the epiphenomenon of linguistic change that occurs alongside dialect contact.
The author attempts to fill a gap in the research on linguistic variation and
change, specifically, contact-induced dialect change in communities where
English is not the primary language (e.g., Japan). Using a theoretical lens
that relies heavily on Accommodation Theory, Hirano argues that the direction
and the amount of dialect accommodation in a second language (L2) situation is
greatly affected by the people with whom the speaker has close contact, and
that the speaker’s social network structures can be reliable predictors of
their individual dialect maintenance and shift. In this book, the author is
motivated to answer the following questions: (1) What happens to the
linguistic behavior of native speakers of English (NSsE) in an L2 situation in
an English as a foreign language (EFL)/Expanding Circle like Japan, where
dialect mixing is constantly taking place?; (2) Do NSsE acquire or accommodate
different dialects even in a community where speakers only have short- to
medium-term contact with other speakers?; (3) If they do, who accommodates to
whose dialect?; (4) How can the social networks of the speakers be influential
on the speakers’ linguistic behavior if their network ties are not necessarily
strong and close-knit? The author analyzed 12 linguistic variables from 39
individual informants from England, North America, and New Zealand in an
attempt to answer the aforementioned questions. All tokens came from
interviews, which took place in Japan between 2000 and 2001, from the same
informants on two separate occasions (in the fall and then again in the
following summer/fall) a year apart.

A lack of studies on the heterogeneity of the varieties of English spoken in
places where English is not the primary language has contributed to a gap in
research on dialect contact. In Chapter 1, Hirano offers the reader a brief
glimpse into previous studies conducted on dialect contact and a theoretical
background on Accommodation Theory and social network analysis. Citing
Kachru’s “Expanding Circle” (1985: 12-15), in which English is a [foreign]
language and no regional dialect or institutional norm privileging one dialect
over another has been established, the author explains that the English
dialect contact situation in the Anglophone community of Japan is quite
different from the communities where dialect contact is typically studied,
and, thus, useful in understanding relevant linguistic processes. The chapter
concludes with a chapter-to-chapter breakdown of the book’s structure.

In Chapter 2, Hirano gives an introduction to English education in Japan and
the demand for native-speaking English teachers there. She first outlines the
short history of English education in Japan and the demand for NSsE, resulting
in a growing population of Anglophone residents in Japan. Then, she presents
information about the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and other
English teaching jobs that attract NSsE to Japan. Lastly, she discusses the
possible linguistic influence of social networks on the English of the JET
Program participants, and English teachers at private institutions, who
establish relationships with speakers from a variety of English dialects, as
well as non-NSsE.

Linguistic change in a dialect contact situation and the social network
effects on it are key themes in this book. Thus, in Chapter 3, the author,
first, reviews theoretical frameworks and previous studies on dialect contact
by examining works relating to speech accommodation, second dialect
acquisition, long-term accommodation, and new-dialect formation, all in an L1
setting where contact occurs between native speakers. Then, she discusses
previous research done on language contact with non-NSsE. Finally, she
examines studies related to social network analysis.

In Chapter 4, in an effort to better understand the linguistic behavior and
the social networks of Anglophones in Japan, Hirano proposes the following
three hypotheses: 1) The speaker’s linguistic behavior and change are strongly
correlated to his or her social network in the dialect contact situation of
the Anglophone community in Japan; 2) The stronger speakers’ social networks
with NSsE from their home country area are, the more encouraged these speakers
are to maintain their vernacular features and/or refrain from adopting
features of other English varieties; 3) The stronger the social networks of
NSsE with speakers of different English varieties are, the more they will
shift away from their vernacular features and/or adopt features of other
English varieties. She then presents the following seven research questions,
which are later addressed in Chapter 8: 1) Which type of network effect has
the greater impact on the linguistic change of individual speakers: positive
network effect or negative network effect?; 2) Are social network effects more
strongly correlated with positive accommodation or with negative
accommodation?; 3) Which of the linguistic features demonstrate social network
effects and, as a result, are subject to accommodation by the NSsE?; 4) Is the
dialect accommodation process of the Anglophone community in Japan similar to
the processes observed in regions where English is the primary language?; 5)
Is intelligibility connected to social network effects on linguistic
variables?; 6) Is the high percentage of Americans within the Anglophone
community in Japan reflected in the linguistic changes?; 7) What similar and
different tendencies will the informants from the three countries — England,
the United States and New Zealand — show in terms of the social network
effects on their linguistic behavior in a dialect contact situation in Japan?

Chapter 5 first introduces the twelve linguistic variables — word-final
intervocalic (t), word-medial intervocalic (t), postvocalic (t),
non-prevocalic (t), intrusive (r), /-t,d/ deletion, TRAP vowel, BATH vowel,
START vowel, LOT vowel, THOUGHT vowel, and CLOTH vowel — that the author
selected to study and her reasons behind their selection. Then, in order to
test the hypotheses presented in Chapter 4, Hirano gives a description of the
three varieties of English in question — Received Pronunciation (RP), General
American (GA), or New Zealand (NZE)  — and how linguistic variables are
connected to each, respectively.

In Chapter 6, the author first presents the methodology of the study, namely,
when and where the data were collected, who participated in the study, and how
the linguistic data were analyzed. Then, she presents the results of the
social network analysis, followed by a description of the statistical methods
that she employed. Finally, she lists the recording device and software used
for the linguistic analysis of the audio data.

In Chapter 7, Hirano presents the result of the linguistic data analysis for
each linguistic variable among English, American, and New Zealand informants
between two points in time. The discussion of each linguistic variable first
begins with an introduction, a description of the change in choice of variants
over real time, the change in relation to social networks, and the results.
Multiple regression analyses according to the informants’ home country
demonstrate the key findings. For example, in relation to change in choice of
variants of word-final intervocalic (t), she found strong network effects
after a year in Japan. There was a tendency to reduce the use of flaps and
increase the use of glottal stops in English informants with a high British
network index score. On the other hand, speakers with a high Australasian
network index score tended to decrease their usage of glottal stops. With
regard to speakers of American English, the average percentage use of glottal
stops significantly increased, whereas the use of flaps significantly

In Chapter 8, Hirano first discusses the findings for her 39 individual
informants. Then, she presents the results from Chapter 7 in relation to
Accommodation Theory and the effects of social networks introduced in Chapter
3. Lastly, the author attempts to substantiate the three hypotheses and answer
the seven research questions from Chapter 4. For instance, six of the 12
linguistic variables revealed significant social network effects among the
informants from the three countries: word-final intervocalic (t), word-medial
intervocalic (t), postvocalic (t), /-t,d/ deletion, TRAP, and BATH. All
together, her findings suggest that American informants, as a whole, who spend
time with members of the other dialect groups appear to be more susceptible to
linguistic change than their English and New Zealander counterparts.

As a conclusion, in Chapter 9, Hirano first evaluates the characteristics of
the Anglophone community in Japan and the findings of the present study. After
examining the theoretical implications of the findings, she argues that, in
this community, a speaker’s social network does indeed impact his/her
linguistic behavior and can reliably predict dialect maintenance and shift.
The three hypotheses were tested and confirmed, revealing that a speaker’s
linguistic behavior and change are indeed strongly correlated to his/her
social network, the stronger his/her networks with NSsE from his/her home
country are, the more encouraged he/she is to maintain his/her vernacular
features and/or refrain from adopting features of other English varieties, and
the stronger the social network of NSsE with speakers of different English
varieties are, the more he/she will shift away from his/her vernacular
features and/or adopt features of other English varieties. Lastly, the author
summarizes the study’s weaknesses and limitations (e.g., sample size, not
covering relevant social factors such as speaker’s age and gender), and offers
suggestions for future research.


It is apparent that Hirano spent a considerable amount of time and effort in
creating this highly data-driven study. Each chapter (with the exception of
Chapters 4, 8, and 9) begins with an introduction and ends with a summary,
facilitating the readability of the content and offering cohesion to each
section of the book. Chapter 3, especially, is a vastly rich source of
information for any researcher requiring an in-depth account of Accommodation
Theory and previous research on dialect contact and social network analysis.

In Chapter 6, the author presents a very thorough account of when, where, and
how she chose her informants, collected (including problems that occurred
during its collection) and coded the linguistic data, and collected and
measured the informants’ social networks; and she did so with the aid of
visuals and in explicit, meticulous detail. However, I feel that the
presentation of this information could have taken place earlier in the book as
to not leave the reader wondering how the data was going to be collected. It
might have been more useful to include a brief summary of the data collection
process in Chapter 4, where the hypotheses and research questions were

In Chapter 5, Hirano provides three maps outlining all geographical accent
groups (e.g., English in the south of England) within each dialect. At first,
it is unclear which variant pertains to which dialect until the reader reaches
the end of the chapter and is presented with a table comprising a comparison
of the typical phonetic realization of each variable with respect to all three
national dialects. It is also important to mention that the author assumes
that, because the informants are all university graduates and English teachers
in schools in Japan, their speech is closer to standard-like pronunciations
than that of the average speaker. However, I found this to be problematic
since sociolinguists, such as Lippi-Green (2012: 61) may argue that using
terms like “standard,” or in this case “standard-like,” is “ideological and
inaccurate.” It might have been more accurate if the author would have posited
a ‘posteriori’ social categorization of the informants’ English based on the
data collected rather than an ‘a priori’ assumption based on her belief
according to their educational backgrounds and profession.

This book is a significant addition to the field of sociolinguistics. One of
its main strengths is its comprehensiveness. The structure of each chapter
facilitates reading and makes this book a great resource for understanding the
effects of social networks on phonological accommodation, especially of
socially mobile adults living in settings where English is a foreign language.
Despite the lucidity of the content in this book and its painstaking
descriptiveness, I would not recommend its use in an undergraduate
introductory course on sociolinguistics due to its length and breadth.
However, any graduate-level seminar on dialect contact would greatly benefit
from its inclusion on the list of recommended readings.

It is undeniable that our social networks have influential effects on our
language use, and Hirano successfully fulfills a previous need for a study
that describes this phenomenon in a context that is often overlooked.


Kachru, B. B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The
English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk and H. G. Widdowson (eds.),
“English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literatures”.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 11-30.

Lippi-Green, R. (2012). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and
discrimination in the United States. (2nd edition). New York, NY: Routledge.


Jason Steve Sarkozi is an Instructor in the English Language Institute at
Central Michigan University, where he is also pursuing a Master’s in TESOL.
His current research interests lie on the hairbreadth boundary between
sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology where he explores language from
several perspectives: language variation and language attitudes, language and
identity, language in interaction and cross-cultural communication, all within
bi/multilingual communities in the Spanish-, English-, and Portuguese-speaking

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2393

Review: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition: Gathercole (ed.) (2013)

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

EDITOR: Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole
TITLE: Issues in the Assessment of Bilinguals
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Liubov Baladzhaeva, University of Haifa


This book is the first of the two edited volumes dedicated to uncovering and
solving issues in the testing of bilinguals. The contributors to the volumes
are committed to demonstrating how bilinguals are different from monolinguals
and how this difference is not a deficiency. The current standardized tests
used in assessment of both children and adults are, according to the
researchers, not adequate for bilinguals as they have been normed on
monolinguals. Most existing tests (mainly those that test language development
and those used for diagnosing language impairments) use monolinguals as a
standard, while normal bilingual development can be deemed abnormal by these
tests. This not only hurts bilinguals by classifying them as
“language-impaired”, but also prevents specialists from diagnosing real
language impairments in bilinguals when they are present. The book is both a
study and a guidance manual for educators and language specialists that asks
them to value and celebrate language diversity and use it in order to
facilitate academic and social success of bilinguals.

Chapter 1: Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole. Assessment of Multi-tasking
Wonders: Music, Olympics and Language.

The first chapter outlines the goals and the composition of this edited volume
and provides a short summary of issues raised in the volume and chapters that
address them. The main goal of the first volume is to demonstrate why current
standardized tests normed on monolinguals are not adequate for testing
bilinguals and what might be realistic expectations for the linguistic
development of bilinguals. The second volume will offer solutions to the
issues raised in the first volume.

The main reason for the inadequacy of existing tests is that bilingual
language development is different from monolingual development in both
languages. Currently most school children around the world are expected to
achieve a certain level of language proficiency in an official language in a
certain amount of time, and failing to do so is considered a problem. However,
the norms for these levels and times are based strictly on monolingual
development, not taking into account bi- or multi-lingual children. Content
areas like math or geography are also built on expectations of monolingual
children to achieve certain language mastery. This might prevent bilingual
children from excelling in these areas even when they know the material
because of insufficient command of the language of instruction. Language
deficiencies and impairments are taken very seriously by both parents and
educators, and during the school years language acquisition is one of the main
means of measuring a child’s academic progress. The chapter describes how
multilingualism is often underestimated in modern nation-states, and how being
multilingual sometimes is seen as an impairment in itself and not an
accomplishment. Multilinguals are compared by the author to talented musicians
playing many instruments or athletes excelling in different disciplines.

Chapter 2: Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole, Enlli Môn Thomas, Emily J. Roberts,
Catrin O. Hughes and Emma K. Hughes. Why Assessment Needs to Take Exposure
into Account: Vocabulary and Grammatical Abilities in Bilingual Children.

This chapter raises the issue of norming used in standardized tests. Current
tests take a monolingual child as the norm for assessment of language
development; however, a monolingual child has much more exposure to her only
language than a bilingual has to either of her two languages, and that might
lead to later development of some exposure-dependent features in either or
both languages. Also, testing a bilingual only in one of her languages might
lead to underestimation of the rich and complex language system that a child
has. The study described in this chapter investigates the influence of
exposure on test performance in Welsh-English bilingual children. It compares
monolingual English children and English-Welsh and Welsh-English bilinguals
using receptive vocabulary tests. The study demonstrates that in younger
children the amount of exposure to a given language conditions the development
in this language. The level attained in one language does not necessarily
reflect the child’s development in other language; therefore, testing young
bilinguals just in one language will tell us very little about their overall
linguistic development. However, in adolescents who over time gain enough
exposure in both their languages, the test results become closer to those of
monolinguals and similar performance in both languages can be observed.
Another issue the researchers look at is cross-linguistic influence and
carryover of grammatical structures. This was tested by using forced-choice
picture tasks. Overall, no carryover on the linguistic level was found.

The authors advocate for a new model of measuring the performance of bilingual
children. In such a model there should be two standards of comparison
developed: a child should be measured relative to all children in her age
group and to children from a similar linguistic background. Two scores
obtained using these comparisons would give a comprehensive picture of the
bilingual child’s language development.

Chapter 3: Shula Chiat, Sharon Armon-Lotem, Theodoros Marinis, Kamila
Polišenská, Penny Roy and Belinda Seeff-Gabriel. Assessment of Language
Abilities in Sequential Bilingual Children: The Potential of Sentence
Imitation Tasks.

The issue raised in this chapter is that testers and educators often do not
know a bilingual child’s L1 and therefore cannot conduct tests in it. The
authors develop a language-neutral test in the form of sentence repetition in
the L2 (meaning the official language of instruction). They review evidence
that in monolingual children sentence repetition can indicate language
impairments. The advantage of using such a task for the testing of bilinguals
is that it is relatively less affected by language exposure and experience
than other testing measures. Four groups of bilingual children in three
different countries were examined: Russian-Hebrew and English-Hebrew in
Israel, Russian-German in Germany and Turkish-English in the UK. When compared
to the monolingual children, most of the bilinguals performed within the
monolingual ranges. However, children whose age of L2 onset was after 2 years
old fell below the monolingual range. Socioeconomic background also played an
important role in the child’s success. One of the limitations of this task is
that great differences in socioeconomic background can lead to different
results in children with similar linguistic backgrounds. The conclusion was
that sentence-repetition tasks with real words are a valid means of measuring
L2 proficiency in bilinguals; however it is not yet clear whether they can be
used for detecting language impairments, since it first requires norming on
bilinguals and this norming should differ according not only to language, but
also to socioeconomic background.

Chapter 4: Netta Abugov and Dorit Ravid. Assessing Yiddish Plurals in
Acquisition: Impacts of Bilingualism.

This chapter takes on an understudied issue; namely how a child can be tested
in a language that is still developing dynamically. The language in question
is modern Hasidic Yiddish spoken in Israel. Due to the contact with Hebrew the
language is rapidly undergoing grammatical and lexical changes and sometimes
it is not clear what the standard usage is. The authors collected data on
plural forms of nouns in adults and then tested children in order to see which
forms (in cases where there is more than one form acceptable) they would
choose. Children mostly chose the forms with the highest frequency, but they
also tended to overgeneralize or adopt some rules of pluralization from
Hebrew. This finding is also relevant for testing in a language with less
dynamic on-going change. The tests might be based on the older or more formal
norm, while children would be sensitive to the new norm, acquiring and
producing it. This study also has important implications for assessing
children from communities where a non-standard dialect is spoken. Often such
children are penalized for using non-standard forms in school settings while
their choice only reflects the normal language acquisition of the community

Chapter 5: Rocío Pérez-Tattam, Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole, Feryal Yavas
and Hans Stadthagen-González. Measuring Grammatical Knowledge and Abilities in
Bilinguals: Implications for Assessment and Testing.

This chapter examines educated bilingual adults: simultaneous or early
Spanish-English bilinguals in Miami. Three groups of bilinguals were examined
from different home environments: both Spanish and English at home, only
Spanish, and early Spanish with addition of English spoken at home. While some
tests have shown that bilinguals over time become more similar in performance
to monolinguals, even simultaneous adult bilinguals might still differ in some
aspects of language knowledge and/or performance. This investigation used two
forced-choice picture tasks for testing abilities in English and Spanish. The
study showed that all bilinguals, no matter their home linguistic environment,
performed in the monolingual range on English tests. That is, by the time they
reach adulthood, early and simultaneous bilinguals are able to acquire the
official language as well as monolinguals. There were, though, significant
differences among them in Spanish: those with less exposure to Spanish
performed less well on the tests. Most of the bilinguals also differed from
the monolingual Spanish speakers in their performance, even those with the
greatest exposure to Spanish. This study, like the one in Chapter 2, found
that bilinguals who perform well in one language tend to also perform well in
another language. The results of the study confirm that being bilingual is not
a disadvantage and does not hinder the acquisition of the official language.

Chapter 6: Miguel Á. Pérez, Cristina Izura, Hans Stadthagen-González and
Javier Marín. Assessment of Bilinguals’ Performance in Lexical Tasks Using
Reaction Times.

In this chapter the issue of the sophistication of current tests is raised.
The authors argue that tests that only check the accuracy of responses might
miss some important aspects of lexical knowledge. They propose using reaction
times for testing bilinguals in such tasks as picture naming, visual lexical
decisions and word categorizations. This would, for example, allow accessing
the difficulty of specific words for an individual, since more complex mental
computations require more processing time. Currently reaction times are almost
nonexistent in standard testing procedures accessing linguistic knowledge and
development. However, given modern technology, tasks using reaction times can
be easy to construct and implement. In order to demonstrate the possibility of
using reaction times, the researchers conducted an empirical study that was
able to assess the effect of the order of acquisition on word processing. The
researchers trained monolingual Spanish speakers on new Welsh words in order
to test whether order of acquisition influences processing time. The words
taught were matched in frequency and predicted phonetic and lexical difficulty
for the participants. Early learned words took less time to process than
late-learned words, while there was no significant difference in accuracy.

Chapter 7: Rebecca Burns. Assessment and Instruction in Multilingual

This chapter offers practical instruction on how teachers can welcome
multilingualism in their classrooms and use other languages in instruction
even without actually knowing them. One of the main issues in the education of
bilinguals is that often their L1 is not used in formal education in any way,
when using it could improve their overall academic success and their L2
acquisition in particular. Public display of home languages at school can also
show appreciation for diversity, affirming students’ bilingual identity and
raising their social status. Considering modern migration patterns, one
classroom can contain speakers of many languages, and in many cases it is not
possible to provide an educator who speaks every child’s L1. However, this
chapter shows that not knowing children’s L1s should not be an obstacle for
using them in the classroom. The chapter describes what kind of resources,
especially ones found on the Internet, can be used. For example, the teacher
can use posters and other print materials in the home languages. She can
employ online dictionaries in order to ensure that the learners understand
specific words. Multilingual materials can be used for assignments. The
chapter lists specific materials and resources for some languages that might
be encountered in US classrooms. One of the issues is that in some US states
using languages other than English in classrooms is discouraged or even
prohibited. The author gives advice on a way around such prohibitions, for
example, sending multilingual materials home with a student.

However, the author cautions that using some elements of child’s L1 in the
classroom do not substitute fully for bilingual education.

The chapter’s main target group is US teachers educating L2 English learners.
The author states that one of the goals is to raise teachers’ language

Chapter 8: Jasone Cenoz, Eli Arozena and Durk Gorter. Assessing Multilingual
Students’ Writing Skills in Basque, Spanish and English.

This chapter raises the issue of the effect of home language and language of
instruction on bi- and multilingualism and compares L1 Basque and L1 Spanish
high school students in the Basque country with Basque as the language of
instruction. Spanish and English are taught as foreign languages in their
school. The authors compare the academic performance of L1 Basque and L1
Spanish speakers in all three settings, assessing their writing skills in
Spanish, Basque and English. For these two groups the level of exposure to
Spanish is relatively similar, since Spanish is the main language of the
community outside school; however their exposure to Basque differs
significantly, as Spanish speakers do not encounter much Basque outside
school. The participants wrote essays in each of three languages describing
pictures that were provided by researchers. The essays were then scored for
content, organization, vocabulary, language use and mechanics. While both
groups were similar in their scores for essays in Spanish, L1 Basque students
outperformed L1 Spanish students on both Basque and English essays. While
better results on Basque are expected for the L1 Basque group, as they had
more exposure to the language than L1 Spanish students, it is not clear why
they perform better in English as well. The study demonstrates that even in
the case of multilinguals in the same school settings different linguistic
development patterns can be found, influenced by many factors.

Chapter 9: Stephen J. Caldas. Assessment of Academic Performance: The Impact
of No Child Left Behind Policies on Bilingual Education: A Ten Year

This chapter addresses the impact of the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) policy
on the academic performance of US children. The policy charges schools with
the responsibility for raising the academic performance of underachieving
student groups, including children with home languages other than English
(called English Language Learners — ELLs). The author provides a history of
language education policies in the US and compares test results in Math and
Reading from before and after the NCLB policy was instated in 2001. According
to the author, the policy strongly encourages acquisition of English without
assigning importance to child’s L1. The main focus of the study is
Spanish-English bilinguals, since they are the majority of ELLs in US schools.
The study found that NCBL actually negatively affected this population with
the gap between them and monolinguals increasing after the policy’s adoption.
The issue of defining English learners and how it affects testing policies is
also raised. Currently ELLs are defined as such when they underperform on the
standard tests. Thus by definition ELLs are never able to achieve the same
results as the main population. This prevents educators from seeing the real
results of all children with home languages other than English, as those of
them who perform well on the tests are not counted as ELLs. Another issue is
that under the NCLB policy schools are encouraged to produce good test results
and they train their students to pass tests instead of teaching the material,
which ultimately lowers the quality of education. The author suggests that
language policy in school should be based less on politics and more on
empirical research, since the data demonstrate how the current policies may
not be beneficial either for the children or for the schools.

Chapter 10: Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole. Summary of Issues Surrounding the
Assessment of Bilinguals and the Way Forward to Solutions.

The last chapter once again summarizes the issues raised in the volume. The
author concludes that current test measures used in academic settings should
be revised as they are not adequate for testing bilinguals and multilinguals.


This edited volume raises an important issue of testing bilinguals in
educational settings. The issue is not only theoretical, as the tests in their
current form may both hurt bilingual students’ academic opportunities and
prevent specialists from noticing language impairments in bilingual children.
The volume is of great value for researchers, educators, and education policy
makers. It should definitely be used in teachers’ education programs around
the world to raise their awareness of multilingualism. While all the studies
in this volume are interesting and valuable, on the whole, there is an issue
of coherence. The logic of transition from chapter to chapter is not clear,
and two chapters seem a bit too specific and out of place: Chapter 7 that
provides a practical guide to US teachers and Chapter 9 that reviews the No
Child Left Behind policy. First, these two chapters, unlike the others in this
volume, do not present empirical studies. Second, they both focus strictly on
US education, while the other chapters offer a more general approach. Since
the volume does not address a US audience exclusively, it is not clear why
such specific chapters should be included with no attempt to generalize from
them. Finally, the chapter addressing teachers would make a better
contribution to the second volume that offers solutions to the problems of
educating bilingual students. Organizing the studies in several thematic
sections prefaced by theoretical introductions might have improved the
coherence of the volume.


Liubov Baladzhaeva is a PhD student at the University of Haifa. She is
interested in multilingualism, language acquisition and attrition.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2391

Review: Historical Linguistics; Lexicography; Sociolinguistics: Gordón Peral (2013)

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

EDITOR: María Dolores Gordón Peral
TITLE: Lengua, espacio y sociedad [Language, Space, and Society]
SUBTITLE: Investigaciones sobre normalización toponímica en España
SERIES TITLE: De Gruyter Patronymica Romanica 25
PUBLISHER: De Gruyter Mouton
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Víctor Valdivia, University of New Mexico


This book consists of 14 papers born, in the editor’s words, during “Jornadas
sobre toponimia y norma” (‘Conference on toponymy and norm’), an academic
meeting organized by Gordón Peral and other scholars in the fall of 2010, and
held at the University of Seville. In addition to being a venue to exchange
experiences, opinions, and knowledge about the fields of toponymy and
onomastics, the meeting was planned as the first step of a project aiming to
provide consistent linguistic criteria to address issues of toponymy across
Spain; criteria that, these scholars hope, will result in an official norm.

As typical in edited books, this one starts with an introduction by Gordón,
the coordinator of the aforementioned meeting and editor of the present
volume. She argues that names for geographic spaces – from towns to cities,
and rivers to mountains — are, or should be, important for any society, not
just because of the historical and cultural events associated with those
places, but also because of the linguistic heritage they represent,
particularly for societies formed by different linguistic communities.
Unfortunately, she argues, most countries pay little attention to the
importance of toponyms, which is evident by the lack of well-designed norms to
regulate and standardize them. Even though in Spain, the situation is not as
critical as in other countries with similar linguistic diversity, the editor
claims that the development of efforts across different communities within the
country has been uneven; thus, while projects for reviewing, fixing and
standardizing both major and minor toponymy started long ago in multilingual
communities of Spain, a process of such nature has barely been approached in
monolingual regions of the country. Although the presentation does a good job
of raising awareness of the importance of this complex field of study, it
would be desirable that the presentation briefly described the papers included
in the book so the reader can approach each paper with a better idea of how
challenges from one region correlate to those from other regions, and how
strategies implemented in one case agree or disagree from those applied in
other regions. In particular, a description of this type would have been very
useful for a better understanding of the papers by Boullón Agrelo and by
Miralles, written in Galician and Catalan, respectively, languages that,
unfortunately, might be spoken by few scholars outside Spain.

Four types of studies can be observed: the state of the discipline, without
focusing on a particular case, the project PRONORMA (“Proyecto de
recopilación, análisis y normalización de la toponimia de las áreas
meridionales de España” ‘Project for the collection, analysis and
normalization of Southern Spain’s toponymy’), ongoing and implemented
projects, and project proposals.

Within the first set of papers, Stefan Ruhstaller and Gordón present “Procesos
de transmisión de los nombres de lugar y su relevancia para la normalización
toponímica” (‘Processes of transmission of place’s names, and their relevance
for toponymic normalization’), a study in which the authors approach the
processes both by oral and written means, where names from minor toponymy
transcend the boundaries of their original community. Also, because said
toponyms often come from languages other than Spanish, the authors explore the
linguistic implications and challenges of each method of transmission. Thus,
names transmitted by oral communication often experience phonetic and
morphological changes, either because they enter the path of regular evolution
of the language (e.g., the diphthongization of short Latin tonic vowels), or
because historical events required immediate adaptation of foreign names
(e.g., adaptation of Arabic toponyms after the Reconquest of Spain). Worth
mentioning is the role of pseudo-cultured judgments on the adaptation of
traditional names, as is the case of the loss of definite articles with major
toponyms (e.g., La Puebla de Cazalla > Puebla de Cazalla) because of the false
idea that articles are vulgar before locations’ names. For written
transmission, the authors identify as the main issue the vacillation
experienced by speakers regarding whether to follow Spanish orthography or,
rather, to reproduce names based on their pronunciation. For the authors, such
hesitancy is often caused by the lack of clear and consistent criteria, not to
mention a lack of concern on behalf of official institutions. For instance, it
is not rare for street names’ signs to be misspelled, causing speakers to
doubt how to pronounce those names. Such doubts may result in linguistic
variation and even change.

In an individual paper (“Principios para la normalización de la topominia de
base castellana” ‘Principles for the normalization of Castilian based
toponymy’), Ruhstaller explains the causes for the uneven development of
normalization processes in Spain and presents a series of principles that any
project attempting normalization and standardization should follow. First, the
author states that linguists must undertake the nuclear phases of the process
because, if linguistic goals and mechanisms are not set at the beginning, any
project is fated to fail. Second, the process must be respectful toward local
languages and traditional dialects. Third, the process must consider existing
written traditions. Fourth, when choosing the normalized form, the name’s
etymological origin must be considered. Fifth, normalized written forms should
guarantee a univocal oral reproduction, i.e., there must be only one way to
pronounce the name. Sixth, written forms must allow a simple oral
pronunciation; no knowledge beyond simple literacy should be required.
Seventh, normalized forms should be acceptable for all users, no matter where
they come from or what social class they belong to. Eighth, even if there are
dialectal differences, the transcription’s criteria must be the same across
the region where the normalization applies. Ninth, the process should favor
interpretation from morphological, lexical, and semantic points of view. As
the reader will see these principles appear, either as a reality or a need, in
all of the papers in the book.

In the second set of papers, Gordón presents the project PRONORMA, from its
justification, to its methodology, to its goals, to some of its challenges.
Also, she illustrates the proposal through the analysis of concrete names. In
an implicit way, the paper approaches and illustrates many of the principles
previously presented. In particular, it allows the reader to understand how
such principles interact to avoid interfering with one another. For instance,
she states that the starting point for standardization must be the name used
in spoken speech, although this does not mean providing an over-detailed
phonetic transcription of the oldest traditional form, especially if such
transcription would result in a form difficult for speakers across Spain to
pronounce or write. The author is confident the project will set the basis for
official policies, not only for the standardization of toponyms of general use
but also for a systematic collection, analysis, and regulation of less
frequently used names.

Javier Terrado (“La normalización de la toponimia hispánica y el léxico
románico” ‘Normalization of Hispanic toponymy and Romanic vocabulary’) also
addresses PRONORMA in his paper, which focuses on the concept of
normalization. He proposes and defends that said concept must be understood
not as a mere administrative task seeking the creation of fixed written forms
for official purposes, but as a process to create conditions for names, in
this case toponyms, to be used in the most natural way possible. Because of
this, he argues that the product of normalization must be for all citizens,
not just for those who, for professional duties, require a standard form to
write the names of places. Finally, he proposes that the process must approach
all of the linguistic components of toponyms, not just the written

Within the third type of paper, Xosé Ll. García Arias examines the process of
toponymic Castillianization implemented in Asturias (“Corrección toponímica en
el Principado de Asturias/Principáu d’Asrturies” ‘Toponymic correction in the
Principality of Asturias’). In particular, he focuses on the actions of the
city government of Teberga related to toponymic correction as an example of
poorly designed and executed official projects. To the author, any proposal
for normativization must consider both linguistic and social criteria in order
to be successful and, more importantly, respectful of the language of the
community. In the case of Teberga, neither criterion was followed, which
caused the following problems: discrepancy between administrative and popular
Asturian names; inconsistency in the application of linguistic processes; and
encouragement, consciously or unconsciously, of Castilian substitution by
choosing cultured Asturian names, which often appear to be Castilian, instead
of popular Asturian names. The author concludes that any attempt to change the
toponymy system of an independent community must have clear legal and
administrative regulations based on criteria proposed by academic

In “Normativización, oficialización y normalización de la toponimia en Euskal
Herria” (‘Normativization, officialization and normalization of toponymy in
Euskal Herria’) Mikel Gorrotxategi offers a diachronic and synchronic account
of toponyms in the Basque Country. The author discusses the replacement of
original names by “invented” Castilian names, the existence of double names
(historical and modern) for some places, and the influence of Castilian on the
written form of some names. Regarding the differences between the situation of
Basque toponyms and those from other minority languages, he states that the
main one comes from the condition of Euskera as a language island, which
causes many Spanish speakers to not recognize the origin of several loans from
Basque (e.g., “Bolivar” from “bolu” ‘mill’ + “ibar” ‘meadow’). At the end of
the paper, he briefly approaches legislative projects for normativization in
two communities, Navarra and Euskadi. In both cases, the “Real Academia de la
lengua Vasca” (‘Royal Academy of Basque Language’) has been the authority in
charge of matters of toponymy, and its criteria have been used in the
normativization of minor toponymy in both regions. Nevertheless, conflicts
have emerged in each one due to disagreements between the agents involve in
the process. In the case of Navarra, names are often written in different ways
(e.g., “Echauri” and “Etxauri”) and, in some areas, major toponyms appear only
in Spanish, while minor toponyms appear in both Basque and Spanish. In
Euskadi, the fact that some names are decided by the county, while others are
selected by city councils, causes discrepancies regarding written forms.
Furthermore, the choice of what names to use and how they should be written
was entrusted to geographers rather than to philologists, which defeats the
purpose of having linguistic criteria.

In “La normalización toponímica de Cataluña” (‘Catalonia’s toponymic
normalization’), Joan Anton describes the on-going process undertaken by the
“Comissió de Toponímia de Catalunya” (‘Commission of Catalonia’s toponymy’) to
increase  the “Nomenclàtor Oficial” (‘Official Nomenclature’), with the goal
of completing the normalization and officialization of names collected by the
Cartographic Institute of Catalonia. The author offers a general, yet deep,
overview of the project by focusing on linguistic criteria used to address
seven specific issues: first, the written form of toponyms (e.g., living form
of the toponym, historical documentation, etymology and oral tradition);
second, the use of definite articles in some Catalan toponyms; third, the use
of descriptive nouns in geographic names; fourth, agglutination; fifth, the
use of hyphens; sixth, the use of country houses’ names; and seventh, the
names of businesses.

Emili Casanova presents “Pautas para la normalización toponímica en la
Comunidad Valenciana” (‘Guidelines for the toponymic normalization in the
Valencian Community’), in which he emphasizes the respect the project has
towards the two languages, Valencian and Castilian, spoken in the community.
The author also stresses the importance of designing and implementing tools
for collecting data in a methodical and controlled way, and expresses the
urgency of collecting and studying dying toponyms from the Spanish-speaking
region of the community.

Ana I. Boullón  describes a project for standardization of Galician toponyms
(“Variación e estandarizatión na toponimia galega” ‘Variation and
standardization of Galician toponymy’) and Joan Miralles approches the
normativization of toponymy in the Balearic Islands (“La normativizatió
toponímica a les Illes Balears” ‘Toponymic normativization in the Balearic
Islands’). Being a speaker of a Romance language, I was able to get a general
understanding of both papers. Nevertheless, I do not speak Galician nor
Catalan; thus, as a matter of respect to speakers of these languages, and in
particular, both authors, I will not comment on these two papers.

In the last set of studies, Jesús Vázquez (“En torno a la normalización
toponímica en Aragón” ‘About toponymic normalization in Aragon’) describes the
change that many Catalan and Aragonese toponyms have experienced through the
years. The author finds that said phenomenon is caused not only because of
contact between such languages and Castilian, but also because a significant
segment of the population erroneously considers those names to be vulgar or
characteristic of the lower class. After describing specific linguistic
phenomena resulting from the changes, the author calls for a project to
normalize the use of native toponyms. In his proposal, the author also
emphasizes the importance of considering sociolinguistic and grammatical
features (e.g., phonology and phonetics, respect to local linguistic
varieties, clear orthographic criteria, etc.) in the design and implementation
of a project of such nature.

Ma. Teresa García del Moral (“Propuesta de normalización de algunos topónimos
de la provincia de Granada” ‘Proposal for the normalization of some toponyms
of the Province of Granada’) conducts linguistic-based research on fifteen
topographic names from Lecrín, Granada, and offers the results to any official
authorities interested in using the study as the basis for a project on
normalization of toponymy. From the analysis of names such as “Alfaguara” and
“Chifarreras”, the author proposes two ways of categorization: one based on
whether the toponym agrees with the form used in official documents (e.g.,
land records) and another one based on the toponym’s etymology.

In “Propuesta de normalización de algunos topónimos de la provincia de Huelva”
(‘Proposal for the normalization of some toponyms of the Province of Huelva’),
Francisco Molina examines the use of toponyms in maps and land records of this
region of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Even though Huelva is a
monolingual region, at least from a synchronic perspective, the author finds
variation in the names used in the documents. Because of this situation, the
author argues that normalization needs to be applied not only in cases where
different languages coexist, but also when dialectal differences influence the
linguistic representation of toponyms. From the analysis of specific cases of
variation (e.g., “Ballesteros / Vallestares” or “Espita / Las Pitas”), the
author asserts that documentary evidence should be the main criterion in the
process of normalization.

In the last paper of the book (“Toponimia canaria: propuestas para su
normalización” ‘Canarian toponymy: proposals for its normalization’), Carmen
Díaz  and Gonzalo Ortega present a proposal for the normalization of toponyms
in The Canary Islands. The authors distinguish two main groups of toponyms:
one including names of Roman origin (mainly Hispanic but also a few Portuguese
forms) and another including names from languages spoken in there before
Spanish colonization. Coexisting with these names, the authors also identify a
minor third group formed by non-Roman modern toponyms, usually from Flemish
last names. As in other multilingual regions, the coexistence of toponyms of
different origins results in phenomena such as phonetic deformation,
orthographic inaccuracy and morphosyntactic changes. To address these issues
and the social implications they entail, Díaz and Ortega propose a
normalization process whose main purpose must be to create conditions that
allow the community to use those forms in a proper and natural way. The
authors argue that, for being successful, the project must consider the needs
of all members of the community and should normalize all components of the
linguistic sign.


The variety of papers included in this book provides readers with a wide and
well supported perspective on the significance of toponyms for any society, of
the diversity of the linguistic phenomena involved in the study of toponymy
and, most importantly, of all of the implications entailed by the lack of
official norms addressing the use of toponyms. In addition, by comparing
ongoing projects and proposals from different communities, readers gain a full
understanding of the conditions and principles any project must follow in
order to achieve solutions that satisfy and respect all members of communities
in which the process of normalization is to be applied.

Among all the contributions, I found particularly compelling Gorrotxategi’s
paper on the toponymy of the Basque Country. By approaching, explaining and
discussing a variety of diachronic and synchronic issues, he allows the reader
to understand the formal and sociological factors from which modern toponymy
arose, the social implications of using said toponyms, and, most importantly,
the role of extralinguistic factors in the design and implementation of any
proposal attempting to deal with such a complex situation.

One minor criticism of the volume is that general and specific goals of the
book could have been achieved more effectively if the papers had been grouped
into sections according to the specific issue addressed or if they had been
presented in an order that allowed readers to go from a general approach to
specific projects.

Considering the projects presented and discussed in each paper, the volume is
of special interest to scholars on toponymy and sociolinguists studying the
effects of language and dialect contact. Nevertheless, because a variety of
linguistic phenomena are related to each one of the normalization projects
(e.g., phonetic, morphosyntax, linguistic attitudes, etc.), the volume is of
interest for linguists in general.


Víctor Valdivia is a PhD student at the Department of Linguistics at the
University of New Mexico. His doctoral dissertation is on structural patterns
in spoken New Mexican Spanish. His research interests include Functional
Syntax, Semantics, language contact, and language variation.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2361

Review: Sociolinguistics: Du Bois & Baumgarten (2013)

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

EDITOR: Inke C. Du Bois
EDITOR: Nicole  Baumgarten
TITLE: Multilingual Identities: New Global Perspectives
YEAR: 2013

REVIEWER: Zuzana Elliott, University of Edinburgh


Inke Du Bois and Nicole Baumgarten’s volume brings new approaches in
understanding and analysing multilingual migrants’ backgrounds and identities.
This collection of essays investigates migrants’ “linguistic-ethnic-national”
(p. 8) identities performed in different cultural societies. The studies shed
new light on multilingualism around the globe, focusing primarily on identity
construction in urban settings of less-documented languages in Europe, the
United States, and the Middle East.

The chapters are organised thematically, where the first three chapters deal
with multilingual identity of children and adolescents and the last four are
concerned with multilingual identity construction of adults. Each chapter
includes a brief literature review and references, which inspire opportunities
for further research. In the introduction, the editors combine the materials
from subsequent chapters and apply them to global perspectives.

The first chapter in this volume (‘Communicative practices among migrant youth
in Germany: “Insulting address forms” as a multi-functional activity’, by
Susanne Günthner) explores functions of insulting address forms among 2nd and
3rd generation male youths of German and Turkish origin residing in Germany.
The data were collected in youth centres via informal interactions between 17-
to 23-year-old men of migrant backgrounds in four different regions in
Germany. The author analyses adolescents’ everyday interactions and identities
in mixed-speech communities to uncover the meaning of insulting terms and
their usage. Following the previous studies by Eckert & McConnel-Ginet (1998)
and Bucholtz (2007), Günthner found that insulting forms are predominantly
used “as resources for asserting particular positions within the group and for
establishing hierarchy and status” (p. 26). In addition, Günther found that
there are other purposes behind insult use, from creating group identity to
forming (or breaking) social ideologies. The study suggests that the use of
insults is therefore not limited to any specific purpose, and that their use
varies according to the social functions associated with each one.

In the second chapter, ‘Made in Berlin: Bilingualism and identity among
immigrant and German-background children,’ Janet M. Fuller analyses the
concepts of ideologies and identities of pre-teen bilingual children in
Berlin. The chapter investigates how children perceive what it means to ‘be
German’ when positioned between two or more languages with various social
backgrounds. This study was based on ethnographic research conducted in
Berlin’s two English-German bilingual schools, the Charles Dickens School and
the John F. Kennedy School. More than 100 hours of audio recordings of
classroom activities were collected, along with participants’ observations and
questionnaires, which examined “children’s backgrounds, language use,
attitudes, self-identification, and views on what it means to be German” (p.
37). The first part of the methodology featured a survey exploring children’s
attitudes towards their own bilingualism and choice in language use. The
author argues that while policy changes define German-ness in terms of
language and culture instead of descent, there is some ambiguity about how the
changes are reflected in the bilingual classroom setting. The data for the
second part of the methodology were obtained through multilingual classroom
interactions, and revealed that code-switching was still prevalent among
immigrant students who identified themselves as German. The results of this
study showed that “‘being German’ is accessible to anyone who is culturally
part of Germany” (p. 48), demonstrating that language use was not the sole
factor involved in cultural identification. Particularly interesting is the
discussion of multilingual language ideologies and self-representations
through the eyes of children. As Fuller rightly points out, the data collected
were not objective, as they reflected mere behaviours and feelings, of which
children might not be well aware.

A. Lane Igoudin’s short chapter, ‘Asian American girls who speak African
American English: A subcultural language identity’, investigates language use
and attitudes among three first-generation Asian-American teenage girls (two
Filipino-American and one Cambodian-American) who use African American
Vernacular English (AAVE) in their everyday speech. Based on three recorded
group interviews, the researcher observed that the girls appeared to adopt “a
wide variety of phonological, morphosyntactic and lexical features of AAVE”
(p. 54). Interestingly, as Igoudin points, the results did not correlate with
a previous study by Wardhaugh (2002), who claimed that “the less standard the
variety of English spoken [is], the more successfully formal education appears
to be resisted” (p. 55). The academic performances of the girls were above
average, but they frequently switched between AAVE and Standard American
English (SAE) (and their home languages Khmer and Tagalog) based on different
situations. The girls’ code choices appeared to be very unconventional because
the AAVE dialect “more than any other dialect of American English, has been
stigmatized as a socially unacceptable code — something, we learned, the
girls were well aware of” (p. 60). The chapter includes useful examples of
phonological and morphosyntactic AAVE features of the subjects’ speech, thus
providing a clear understanding of the identity construction and sensitivity
of the subjects.

Katharina Meng and Ekaterina Protassova’s chapter, ‘Deutsche or rusaki?
Transformation of the cultural self-conceptions after (r)emigration’, seeks to
answer questions regarding ‘cultural self-conceptions’ of immigrants in
Germany. This interesting study provides insight into Russia-Germans, or
ethnic Germans who emigrated from the Soviet Union to Germany. Using analyses
from interviews, newspapers and internet forums, the authors compared the
complex societies’ attitudes towards Germans and Russians. They identified two
terms which represent the migrants’ multilingual identities: Deutscher
(German) and rusaki. Both terms mark integration in Germany to varying
degrees. While Deutscher marks immigrants’ German-ness through accepting their
German ancestries or names, or even decisions to be registered as Germans in
their Soviet passports (p. 70), rusaki defines “[a] group of Russians and
underlines its specific ethnicity, the Russianness, above all in its rural
appearance” (p. 73).

In her chapter, ‘Loving Bollywood and being Dutch: Language choice and
identity issues among Surinamese-Hindustani women in Amsterdam’, Dipika
Mukherjee shares her findings of women with regard to their language
maintenance and loss, as well as the obstacles they face concerning their own
identity. The author observed twenty-two Surinamese-Hindustani women enrolled
in a Bollywood dance class in Amsterdam for the duration of 16 months. These
women used four languages in their daily lives; however, in the class, they
spoke exclusively Dutch. Mukherjee observed that women who migrated into the
country young had much stronger ties to the Netherlands than to India,
although they identified themselves as ‘Hindustani’ over the other categories
of ‘Dutch’ or ‘Indian’. The author found that these women did not share any
desire to consider India as their home country; however, the notion of
“Hindustaniness” was perceived to be very high, as related to preserving the
language for their children and community. Also, Suriname is “conceived as
‘home,’ [though] they realise that there is no going back” (p. 95). The author
concludes that despite the cultural and language barriers, Bollywood presents
itself as “an accessible means for language retention of a familiar tongue”
(p. 96), thus preserving the strong sense of fellowship among the
Surinamese-Hindustani community.

Heike Baldauf-Quilliatre’s study, ‘The role of public opinion in
argumentation: Immigrants in the French radio broadcast Là-bas si j’y suis’,
seeks to answer how multiple identities shape the cultural notions of speakers
with migrant backgrounds in France. Public opinions are often viewed in light
of politics and culture; therefore, as the author points, analysing them
through the eyes of migrants often creates debatable and controversial
opinions on the acceptance and tolerance of speakers’ communities. In her
study, Baldauf-Quilliatre aimed to identify immigrants’ opinions on
immigration laws and their situation in poor suburbs in relation to the
arguments presented by Nicolas Sarkozy. Her analysis was based on a one-hour
French radio broadcast with a “regular” audience, where she paid particular
attention to radio listeners and their complex contributions left on answering
machines. Although the study didn’t allow for broad generalizations, in her
fifteen contributions, the results seem to differentiate “between European and
South-American migrants on the one side, and African/North-African migrants on
the other” (p. 108). While the first group showed integration and positive
attitudes towards the host country and people, the second group seemed to
resist and instead, showed rather negative attitudes and ‘resignation’ toward
problems faced in their communities. Each group used unique tactics to add
weight to their opinions on the radio show, demonstrating multiple paths to
immigrants’ public integration.

Inke Du Bois’ study, ‘And then I had to hold my first Referat on Beethoven as
a politischer Mensch: Multilingual identities and L1 language loss of US
Americans in Germany’, identifies sociodemographic factors affecting lexical
levels in immigrants’ speech. This study presents quantitative and qualitative
analyses of a corpus of multilingual interviews of thirty American immigrants
who left America for Germany between 1964 and 2001. Investigation of
code-switching and language attrition were analysed statistically. The results
were correlated with extralinguistic variables such as length of residency in
Germany, educational level, and social networks via a demographic
questionnaire. The results indicated that German-American code-switching
appeared more often when Americans were exposed to the society of other
Americans. Thus, Americans who used their first language (L1) tended to
experience fewer problems in retrieving English lexical items. Interestingly,
Du Bois’ study showed that education, length of residence and L1 social
networks were the main factors influencing the varying degrees of “L1
attrition and the intercultural identities of speakers” (p. 134).

The last chapter, ‘Indigenous and immigrant identities in multilingual Israel:
Insights from focus groups and discourse analysis’, by Dafna Yitzhaki, Carmit
Altman, Zhanna Feldman-Burstein, Leor Cohen and Joel Walters, offers a variety
of insights into indigenous and immigrant minority languages. The chapter
consists of a “linguistic taster” in which the authors examine four studies
that focus on identity constructions among immigrants of different ethnic
backgrounds in Israel. The first study analyses a language policy interaction
between indigenous and immigrant language groups of Israeli and Arabic. The
study found that arguments supporting indigenous minority language instruction
rely on two recurring elements: that ‘indigenousness’ is either irrelevant or
hierarchical in deciding language instruction (p. 143). The contradictory
nature of these elements makes for highly complex and volatile debates. The
second study focuses on identity formation in four Russian immigrant adult
parents and their six adolescent children, all of whom are second language
(L2) speakers with high proficiency in Hebrew. The authors offer two excerpts
from interviews of two of the adolescents with different backgrounds. The
first adolescent, Faina, demonstrated a strong attachment to her host country,
including near-total integration into Israeli and secular Jewish culture.
Though she preserved her Russian roots for ‘practical’ reasons and did not
hide her Russian background, she distanced herself from similar immigrants who
self-identified as Russian. The second adolescent, Rina, showed more
attachment towards her Russian identity, but demonstrated a keen awareness of
the complexity of her immigrant identity. Both of these girls held their
opinions without antagonising differing opinions. The third study presents the
complexity of Ethiopian-Israeli identity display, as characterised through
self-perception and ethnicity. Four Ethiopian-Israeli college students were
recorded, showing how their soldier identity conflicts with but also ascends
beyond other social norms. In this way, these students use their soldier
identity to break through or remove limitations imposed by other social
identities (e.g., gender, nationality, religion) and to become more socially
mobile as a result. The fourth study focuses on analysing relationships
between code-switching and identity among twelve English-Hebrew participants
who immigrated to Israel in adulthood from the United States. The research
questions focused on motivations behind code-switching between L1 and L2
narratives, and identifying discourse markers that reflect a variety of
aspects of motivation for code-switching across different identities.


Researchers interested in discourse analysis and L2 acquisition will certainly
find this small collection of essays to be an interesting and inspiring
resource. This volume investigates new approaches towards global multilingual
migrant identities while addressing various topics in the fields of language
loss, discourse analysis, and code-switching.

Overall, the book provides invaluable reading for anyone interested in the
growing development of global multilingualism, where the primary focus applies
to immigrants’ national and ethnic backgrounds and cultural identities. As a
student who does extensive research on multilingualism and immigrants’
identities, I find this book to be a great contribution to my research. When
compared with similar sources, this volume presents the most recent studies in
a well-structured and cohesive manner, taking into account different
communicative and social interactions of global personae.

Despite the small number of chapters, this book identifies different concepts
of children’s and adults’ multilingual identity constructions while focusing
primarily on lesser-researched languages, such as Israeli, French, or Dutch.
The volume is also highly inclusive, as it considers lesser-known national and
ethnic identities such as Surinamese-Hindustani, German-Croatians, and
German-Americans, among others.

As a researcher focusing on immigrants and their identities, I found Fuller’s
‘Made in Berlin’ and Igoudin’s ‘Asian American girls who speak African
American English’ particularly poignant; both chapters examine
first-generation immigrant children who identify themselves as part of their
local community as a result of strong ideologies and perceptions towards their
peers and cultures. In contrast, Yitzhaki et al.’s ‘Indigenous and immigrant
identities in multilingual Israel’ reviewed four separate studies. Although I
found the section ‘Identity construction in the discourse of Russian-Israeli
immigrant adolescents’ intriguing, I would have appreciated more information,
in general, in each of the sections. This chapter felt constrained, primarily
due to its covering four separate studies in the space of one chapter.

In sum, Du Bois and Baumgarten provide a measured and effective analysis of
increasing global multilingualism, and their book acts as an excellent source
of cutting-edge social research to stimulate discussion in classrooms and
research centres alike.


Eckert, P. & McConnell-Ginet, S. (1998). Communities of practice. Where
language, gender, and power all live. In J. Coates (Ed.) “Language and gender:
A Reader” (484-494). Mass.: Blackwell.

Bucholtz, M. (2007). Word up. Social meanings of slang in California youth
culture. In L. Monaghan and J. E. Goodman (Eds.) “A Cultural approach to
interpersonal communication. Essential readings” (244-267). Malden, MA:

Wardhaugh, R. (2002). “An introduction to sociolinguistics.” Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishers.


Zuzana Elliott is a doctoral student of Linguistics and English Language at
the University of Edinburgh. Her previous research experience examined
literacy in children across five European languages. She is interested in
multilingualism, language identity, and acquisition of linguistic variation in
migrant second language learners. Her current research is investigating
sociolinguistic aspects of long-term Slovak and Czech immigrants who reside in

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2362