Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"
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Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 14:05:25 -0700 (PDT) From: Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud Subject: The Linguistics Encyclopedia, 2nd ed.
EDITOR: Malmkjær, Kirsten TITLE: The Linguistics Encyclopedia SUBTITLE: Second edition PUBLISHER: Routledge YEAR: 2004
Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud, Associate Professor of Linguistics & Acting- Chairman of the English Department, Faculty of Arts, Assiut University, Egypt.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK
This book consists of 643 pages, and it is organized as follows: a long list of entries (566 pages), a preface, a key to contributors, brief notes on contributors, acknowledgements, an introduction and a long bibliography. Entries include a wide variety of topics that cover almost all areas of linguistics. The following is a list of the topics included in these entries in alphabetical order:
Acoustic phonetics, animals and language, aphasia, applied linguistics, articulatory phonetics, artificial intelligence, artificial languages, auditory phonetics, behaviorist linguistics, bilingualism and multilingualism, cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics and cross- linguistic studies, corpora, creoles and pidgins, critical discourse analysis, dialectology, discourse analysis and conversation analysis, distinctive features, dyslexia, field methods, finite-state (Markov process) grammar, forensic linguistics, formal grammar, formal logic and model logic, formal semantics, functional phonology, functionalist linguistics, generative grammar, generative phonology, generative semantics, genre analysis, glossematics, historical linguistics, history of grammar, International Phonetics Alphabet, interpretive semantics, intonation, kinesics, language acquisition, language and education, language and gender, language pathology and neurolinguistics, language surveys, language typology, language universals, lexis and lexicology, linguistic relativity, metaphor, morphology, non-transformational grammar, origin of language, philosophy of language, phonemics, port-royal grammar, pragmatics, prosodic phonology, psycholinguistics, rhetoric, semantics, semiotics, set theory, sign language, sociolinguistics, speech-act theory, speech and language therapy, stratificational linguistics, stylistics, systematic- functional grammar, teaching English as a foreign language, text linguistics, tone languages and writing systems.
These entries are arranged alphabetically, and each entry contains a list of suggestions for further reading. The book ends with a long index consisting of 24 pages. It contains all the linguistics terms included in the different entries. This edition of THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA has been thoroughly revised and updated and a substantial new introduction, which forms a concise history of the field, has been added. Substantially revised entries include the following: bilingualism and multilingualism, grammatical models and theories, critical linguistics/critical discourse analysis, language acquisition, morphology, discourse analysis and conversation analysis, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, generative phonology, stratification linguistics, genre analysis, stylistics.
The list of contributors includes the following linguists (in alphabetical order): Tsutomu Akamatsu, James M. Anderson, Colin Baker, James P. Blevins, Jacques Bourquin, David C. Brazil, E. Keith Brown, Ronald A. Carter, Richard Cauldwell, R. Malcolm Coulthard, Nikolas Coupland, René Dirven, Tony Dudley-Evans, Susan Edwards, Norman Fairclough, Eli Fischer- Jørgensen, William A. Foley, Roger Fowler, Anthony Fox, Michael A. Garman, Christopher Hookway, Tony Howatt, Robert F. Ilson, Adam Jaworski, Chin-W. Kim, James P. Lantolf, Geoffrey N. Leech, David G. Lockwood, Michael J. McCarthy, Michael K. C. MacMahon, Molly Mack, Kirsten Malmkjær, Mark Newbrook, Frederic J. Newmeyer, Margaret Newton, Teresa Parodi, Allan M. Ramsay, William S.-Y. Wang and John N. Williams.
THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA provides a comprehensive coverage of the major and minor fields of linguistic studies. The entries covering these fields are designed in alphabetical order, and they are easy to access. The language used to explain the linguistic concepts included in these entries is far from complexity. Indeed, some of the entries do not contain too much details, but I believe all the entries can provide the user with sufficient information about any of the included topics. Especially valuable about the book is the fact that, as far as my knowledge is concerned, no area in linguistic studies was ignored. To facilitate and simplify the linguistic notions for the reader, the authors have included illustrations, examples and diagrams.
Moreover, new entries on applied linguistics, such as cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics and cross- linguistic studies, and forensic linguistics are included in the book. The list of contributors includes a large number of linguists representing the different schools of thought. The academic reputation and the competence of those authors are indeed beyond dispute. The book presents the linguistic concepts in a simple manner and a scholarly fashion as well. For anyone with an academic or professional interest in linguistics, I believe that THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA is an indispensable reference. Therefore, I strongly recommend this book for both graduate and undergraduate students of linguistics, as well as researchers in this field. I also believe that the book is a very useful reference and is an asset to any linguistics library.
However, I have few remarks regarding the form rather than the content of the book. These remarks are listed below:
First, I think the way the different areas of linguistics are listed as entries may imply what I would call "lack of parallelism", in the sense that some areas of linguistics are represented in the book by certain entries while others are not. To make the idea clear let me state an example. While the book, for instance, contains an entry entitled Semantics, it does not contain an entry entitled Syntax. Similarly, while the book contains an entry entitled Phonemics, it does not contain an entry entitled Phonetics. Indeed, instead of an entry on Syntax, the book has an elaborate entry entitled Generative Grammar (22 pages), where most of the syntactic topics and syntactic theories are covered.
Second, I think the way the entries are organized might imply what I would call "Gapping". For instance, since there is an entry devoted to Generative Grammar, the reader would expect parallel entries for the other types of grammar such as Functional Grammar, Relational Grammar, Lexical Functional Grammar etc.. Instead, the book contains one entry on Non- transformational Grammar, where all the other types of grammar are listed.
Third, given the way the entries are organized, the reader expects that a topic like Case Grammar would be listed under the entry assigned for Non- transformational Grammar; otherwise the book would contain another entry for this topic. However, in this book, Case Grammar is listed under the entry concerned with the History of Grammar. It might be difficult for the reader to relate a topic like Case Grammar to the entry concerned with the History of Grammar rather than to the entry concerned with Non- transformational Grammar. Given the way the entries are designed and organized, I believe the entry concerned with the Case Grammar should have been listed under the entry assigned for Non-transformational Grammar.
Fourth, I think that the way the entries are organized involves some sort of "overlap". For instance, while the book contains an entry on Sociolinguistics, it also contains other entries on such topics as Bilingualism, Multilingualism and Language and Gender, which are considered branches of Sociolinguistics. Similarly, while the book contains an entry on Psycholinguistics, it also contains another entry on Language Acquisition, which may be considered a branch of Psycholinguistics. I wonder if topics such as Bilingualism, Multilingualism and Language and Gender would be listed under the entry on Sociolinguistics. Similarly, a topics like Language Acquisition would be listed under the entry on Psycholinguistics
Fifth, given the remarks stated above, I wonder if it might be simpler for the reader if the book was organized as areas of linguistics (e., g., Syntax ,Semantics, Morphology, Phonology, Phonetics, Lexicology, Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics etc.), and then each area is broken down into entries such that entries related to each area are alphabetically listed under their respective areas. It seems to me that this suggested type of listing would be simpler for the reader. Also, the problem of "overlap" and "gapping" pointed out above would not arise according to this suggestion.
As mentioned before, the remarks stated above are merely tentative suggestions concerning the form of the book. As far as the content of the book is concerned, I do not see any drawbacks. In fact, I have personally enjoyed reading this book so much. I have also learned a lot from the book. Thus, despite the remarks stated above, I strongly believe that THE LINGUISTICS ENCYCLOPEDIA is an indispensable reference for anyone who has interest in linguistics.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Abdelgawad T. Mahmoud has obtained his Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1989. He taught Arabic/English translation and Arabic as an FL at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, he works as Associate Professor of Linguistics & Acting-Chairman of the English Department, Assiut University, Egypt. He is also the Director of the English Language Center at the same university. He has published a number of articles on Arabic and English Linguistics (e.g. The Syntax and Semantics of Middle and Unaccusative Constructions, Locative Alternations, Oblique Subject Alternations, Dative Shift, Psych- Verbs, Lexical Incorporation and Resultative Predication and Implicit Objecthood). His current research interest is the relevance of Lexical Semantics to Syntax and Arabic/English translation.