Three New Books in of Functional Interest

Paul Peranteau paul at BENJAMINS.COM
Thu Apr 27 18:28:57 UTC 2000

John Benjamins Publishing has published these three books which deal with
Functional themes:

Studies in Latin and Romance morphosyntax.
Jurgen KLAUSENBURGER (University of Washington)
Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 193
US & Canada: 1 55619 971 6 / USD 59.00 (Hardcover)
Rest of world: 90 272 3700 X / NLG 118.00 (Hardcover)

In this monograph, various aspects of the morphosyntactic evolution of the
Romance languages are shown to interact in a theory of grammaticalization.
The study argues for the incorporation and subordination of inflectional
morphology within a grammaticalization continuum, constituting but a
portion of the latter. Parameters of natural morphology are seen as
principles of grammaticalization, but the reverse is also true, rendering
grammaticalization and natural morphology indistinguishable. In the
context of this theoretical framework, Chapter 2 deals with Latin, French,
and Italian verbal inflection, focusing on universal and system-dependent
parameters of natural morphology. In Chapter 3, a theory of
grammaticalization is built on divergent elements, including not only
grammaticalization studies proper, but also the perception/production line
of inquiry, and typology and branching issues, permitting the phasing out
of the traditional synthesis/analyis cycle. Chapter 4 touches on nominal
inflection, in particular that of Old French and Rumanian, the most
revealing histories in the Romance domain. Chapter 5, finally, thoroughly
discusses extant theoretical questions in grammaticalization, prominently
featuring the relevance of 'invisible hand' explanations and the crucial
role played by unidirectionality. This study will be of interest to
specialists in Romance and historical linguistics, as well as
morphological theory.

Text and Context in Functional Linguistics.
Mohsen GHADESSY  (University of Brunei Darussalam) (ed.)
Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 169
US & Canada: 1 55619 885 X / USD 89.00 (Hardcover)
Rest of world: 90 272 3674 7 / NLG 178.00 (Hardcover)

The shift towards a sociolinguistic approach to the analysis of language
in the last few decades has necessitated new definitions for a number of
concepts that linguists have taken for granted for a long time. This
volume attempts to demystify the important notions of 'text' and 'context'
by providing clear definitions and examples within the assumptions of
Systemic Functional (SF) linguistics. After a discussion of the role and
significance of context by three eminent SF linguists in section one, the
influence of context on text is dealt with in section two 'From Context to
Language'. Section three 'From Language to Context' considers textual
features and their relationship to contextual factors. All the
contributors base their analyses on data collected from a variety of
spoken and written registers of contemporary English.
Contributions by: M.A.K. Halliday; J.R. Martin; W. Bowcher; M. O'Donnell;
R. Hasan; C. Cloran; G. Thompson; M. Ghadessy.

The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood.
D.N.S. BHAT (Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore)
Studies in Language Companion Series 49
US & Canada: 1 55619 935 X / USD 65.00 (Hardcover)
Rest of world: 90 272 3052 8 / NLG 130.00 (Hardcover)

The book puts forth an exciting hypothesis for the typologist. Its major
claim is that languages can generally be regarded as belonging to a
tense-prominent, aspect-prominent or mood-prominent language type. This
grouping can be based upon the relative prominence that languages attach
to one or the other of the three verbal categories, namely tense, aspect
and mood, by grammaticalizing the chosen category to a greater degree than
others, and by making it more obligatory, more systematic and more
pervasive than others. The grouping, however, involves a gradation, as is
indeed the case with other typological groupings, with some languages
manifesting the relevant characteristic more strikingly than others.
There are several characteristics that can be correlated with the relative
prominence that languages attach to verbal categories. For example,
tense-prominent languages tend to have mostly active but not stative
verbs. They also tend to keep adjectives as a distinct category, or group
them with nouns but not with verbs. Verbal forms used for foregrounding
generally belong to the most prominent verbal category. These and other
similar correlations make this typological classification worth pursuing.
The book also contains a descriptive study of the three verbal categories.

                                John Benjamins Publishing Co.
Offices:                Philadelphia                                    Amsterdam:
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Phone:          +215 836-1200                                   +31 20 6762325
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