Newly published: Books for review in LT

Frans Plank frans.plank at UNI-KONSTANZ.DE
Wed Mar 24 18:09:41 UTC 2010

Recently Published and of Typological Interest / iii 2010

New publications of potential typological interest are periodically  
advertised on the lingtyp list.  This used to be a feature of ALT  
News;  but whereas ALT News are for reading, this listing is meant to  
elicit action – reviewing action.

Apart from directly commissioning reviews, LT solicits offers from  
lingtypists to review books – those listed here or whichever others  
you’d like to add on your own understanding of the attribute  
“typologically relevant”.  (And do construe its scope liberally!)   
For purposes of book reviewing in LT, what matters is that REVIEWS are  
done from a distinctively typological angle, from whatever angles the  
books reviewed are done.  Prospective reviewers so intentioned please  
get in touch.

Drop me a line with bibliographical particulars if you want to make  
sure your own relevant publications will be included in the next  
listing.   The most effective indication of the existence of a new  
relevant book is the receipt of a review copy;  do remind your  
publisher to send one to:



Universität Konstanz,

78457 Konstanz, Germany.

My apologies for any listings inadvertently repeated from previous ALT  
News.  But then, many previously listed titles have remained  
unreviewed in LT, and since typological publications can have long  
shelf-lives, you’re welcome to make your pick and review now what has  
been listed before but is not past the sell-by date.

Do feel free to also offer to review grammars for LT (again, from a  
distinctively typological angle).  Those new grammars we were aware of  
have so far been listed in GRAMMAR WATCH, periodically updated and  
with a consolidated listing on the ALT website.  GRAMMAR WATCH is  
about to be converted to wiki format, continuingly housed on the ALT  
website;  and in future you’ll be able to enter new grammars  
yourselves.  For the time being, we continue to include grammars and  
such in this listing.

Frans Plank

frans.plank at

Adger, David, Daniel Harbour & Laurel J. Watkins. 2010. Mirrors and  
microparameters: Phrase structure beyond free word order. Cambridge:  
Cambridge University Press.

["What is the nature of syntactic structure? Why do some languages  
have radically free word order ('nonconfigurationality')? Do  
parameters vary independently (the micro-view) or can they co-vary en  
masse (the macro-view)? Mirrors and Microparameters examines these  
questions by looking beyond the definitional criterion of  
nonconfigurationality -- that arguments may be freely ordered,  
omitted, and split. Drawing on newly discovered data from Kiowa, a  
member of the largely undescribed Kiowa-Tanoan language family, the  
book reveals that classically nonconfigurational languages can  
nonetheless exhibit robustly configurational effects. Reconciling the  
cooccurrence of such freedom with such rigidity has major implications  
for the Principles and Parameters program. This novel approach to  
nonconfigurational languages challenges widespread assumptions of  
linguistic theory and throws light on the syntactic structures,  
ordering principles, and nature of parametrization that comprise  
Universal Grammar" -- CUP]

Ansaldo, Umberto. 2009. Contact languages: Ecology and evolution in  
Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bricyn, V. M., E. V. Raxilina, T. I. Reznikova, G. M. Javorskaja  
(eds.). 2009. Koncept bol' v tipologičeskom osveščenii.  Kiïv:  
Vidavničnij dim dmitre burago.

Cyffer, Norbert, Erwin Ebermann, & Georg Ziegelmeyer (eds.). 2009.  
Negation patterns in West African languages and beyond (TSL 87).  
Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Dixon, R. M. W. 2009. Basic linguistic theory. Vol. 1: Methodology;  
vol. 2: Grammatical topics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dixon, R. M. W. & Alexandra Aikhenvald (eds.). 2009. The semantics of  
clause linking: A cross-linguistic typology. Oxford: Oxford University  

[This book is a cross-linguistic examination of the different  
grammatical means languages employ to represent a general set of  
semantic relations between clauses. The investigations focus on ways  
of combining clauses other than through relative and complement clause  
constructions. These span a number of types of semantic linking.  
Three, for example, describe varieties of consequence -- cause,  
result, and purpose - which may be illustrated in English by,  
respectively: Because John has been studying German for years, he  
speaks it well; John has been studying German for years, thus he  
speaks it well; and John has been studying German for years, in order  
that he should speak it well. Syntactic descriptions of languages  
provide a grammatical analysis of clause types. The chapters in this  
book add the further dimension of semantics, generally in the form of  
focal and supporting clauses, the former referring to the central  
activity or state of the biclausal linking; and the latter to the  
clause attached to it. The supporting clause may set out the temporal  
milieu for the focal clause or specify a condition or presupposition  
for it or a preliminary statement of it, as in Although John has been  
studying German for years (the supporting clause), he does not speak  
it well (the focal clause). Professor Dixon's extensive opening  
discussion is followed by fourteen case studies of languages ranging  
from Korean and Kham to Iquito and Ojibwe. The book's concluding  
synthesis is provided by Professor Aikhenvald. -- OUP]

Fiedler, Ines & Anne Schwarz (eds.) 2010. The expression of  
information structure: A documentation of its diversity across Africa.  
Amsterdam: Benjamins.

[This book analyzes the different patterns found across subsaharan  
Africa to express information structure. Based on languages from all  
four African language phyla, it documents the great diversity of  
linguistic means used to encode information-structural phenomena and  
is therefore highly relevant for some of the most pertinent questions  
in modern linguistic theory. The special contribution of this volume  
is the perspective on a variety of information-structurally related  
phenomena which go far beyond classical notions such as focus and  
topic. Detailed investigations are dedicated to so far less discussed  
focal subcategories, like focus on verbal operators or the thetic- 
categorical distinction. Finally, the information-structural  
configuration of unmarked, canonical sentence structures is  
recognized. The papers provide evidence that the formal means to  
encode information-structural categories range from means such as  
morphological markers or syntactic operations, famous in linguistics,  
to less well-known strategies, such as defocalization rather than  
focalization. -- Benjamins]

Floricic, Franck (ed.). 2010. Essais de typologie et de linguistique  
générale: Mélanges offerts à Denis Creissels. Lyon: ENS Editions.

Grijzenhout, Janet & Barıs Kabak (eds.). 2009. Phonological domains:  
Universals and deviations. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Haarmann, Harald. 2004. Elementare Wortordnung in den Sprachen der  
Welt: Dokumentation und Analysen zur Entstehung von Wortfolgemustern.  
Hamburg: Buske.

[Documents basic word order in 1420 languages:  a new dimension for  
comparative syntax -- Author's Preface]

Haspelmath, Martin & Uri Tadmor. 2009. Loanwords in the world's  
languages: A comparative handbook. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

[Coming in conjunction with World loanword database, edited by Marin  
Haspelmath & Uri Tadmor,]

Heine, Bernd & Heiko Narrog (eds.) (2010). The Oxford Handbook of  
linguistic analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Helmbrecht, Johannes, Yoko Nishina, Yong-Min Shin, Stavros Skopetas, &  
Elisabeth Verhoeven (eds.). 2009. Form and function in language  
research: Papers in honour of Christian Lehmann. Berlin: Mouton de  

Hinrichs, Uwe, Norbert Reiter, & Siegfried Tornow (eds.) 2009.  
Eurolinguistik: Entwicklungen und Perspektiven. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Humboldt, Wilhelm von. 2009. Mittelamerikanische Grammatiken. Edited  
by Manfred Ringmacher & Ute Tintenmann. (Wilhelm von Humboldt,  
Schriften zur Sprachwissenschaft III, 4.) Paderborn: Ferdinand  

Landau, Idan. 2009.  The locative syntax of experiencers. Cambridge:  
Cambridge University Press.

[Experiencers—grammatical participants that undergo a certain  
psychological change or are in certain psychological states—are  
grammatically special. As objects ('John scared Mary'; 'loud music  
annoy me'), experiencers display two peculiar clusters of nonobject  
properties across different languages: their syntax is often typical  
of oblique arguments and their semantic scope is typical of subjects.  
In The Locative Syntax of Experiencers, Idan Landau investigates this  
puzzling correlation and argues that experiencers are syntactically  
coded as (mental) locations. Drawing on results from a range of  
languages and theoretical frameworks, Landau examines the far-reaching  
repercussions of this simple claim.

Landau shows that all experiencer objects are grammaticalized as  
locative phrases, introduced by a dative/locative preposition.  
“Bare” experiencer objects are in fact oblique, too, the  
preposition being null. This preposition accounts for the oblique  
psych(ological) properties, attested in case alternations,  
cliticization, resumption, restrictions on passive formation, and so  
on. As locatives, object experiencers may undergo locative inversion,  
giving rise to the common phenomenon of quirky experiencers. When  
covert, this inversion endows object experiencers with wide scope,  
attested in control, binding, and wh-quantifier interactions.  
Landau’s synthesis thus provides a novel solution to some of the  
oldest puzzles in the generative study of psychological verbs.

The Locative Syntax of Experiencers offers the most comprehensive  
description of the syntax of psychological verbs to date, documenting  
their special properties in more than twenty languages. Its basic  
theoretical claim is readily translatable into alternative frameworks.  
Existing accounts of psychological verbs either consider very few  
languages or fail to incorporate other theoretical frameworks; this  
study takes a broader perspective, informed by findings of four  
decades of research. -- MIT Press]

Mengden, Ferdinand von. 2010. Cardinal numerals: Old English from a  
cross-linguistic perspective. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

[The book embeds a description and an analysis of the Old English  
numeral system into a broader, cross-linguistic discussion. It  
provides a theoretical framework for the study of numerals and numeral  
systems of natural languages, bridging the gap between recent findings  
in the cognitive sciences on numeracy and the known typological  
generalisations on cardinal numerals.

The Old English numeral system shows a number of peculiarities not  
found in the present-day languages of Europe. Its detailed description  
is therefore an ideal locus for studying the features of linguistic  
number expressions in terms of their morpho-syntactic properties and  
of the structure of numeral systems. The approach is innovative in  
that it combines a detailed analysis of the numeral system with the  
analysis of the grammatical properties of cardinal numerals. For the  
description of Old English, the study focuses on aspects of  
information structure and of referent identification in  
quantificational constructions. This leads to a novel perspective on  
the language-internal variation in the agreement patterns between  
numerals and quantified nouns, allowing the author to test and refine  
some long standing tenets in the study of numerals and to offer  
alternative explanations.

Rather than seeing numerals as a hybrid word class, the author argues  
that this variation in the morpho-syntactic behaviour follows  
identifiable patterns specific to the word class numeral. He accounts  
for these patterns by positing different, cross-linguistically uniform  
stages in the emergence of numeral systems, as well as varying degrees  
of discreteness of the quantified noun. Moreover, the author  
demonstrates that the constraints determining this variation in Old  
English have obvious parallels across languages. -- DGM]

Schmidtke-Bode, Karsten. 2009. A typology of purpose clauses (TSL 88).  
Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Wohlgemut, Jan & Michael Cysouw (eds.). 2010. Rethinking universals:  
How rarities affect linguistic theory. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

[Universals of language have been studied extensively for the last  
four decades, allowing fundamental insight into the principles and  
general properties of human language. Only incidentally have  
researchers looked at the other end of the scale. And even when they  
did, they mostly just noted peculiar facts as ''quirks'' or ''unusual  
behavior'', without making too much of an effort at explaining them  
beyond calling them ''exceptions'' to various rules or generalizations.

Rarissima and rara, features and properties found only in one or very  
few languages, tell us as much about the capacities and limits of  
human language(s) as do universals. Explaining the existence of such  
rare phenomena on the one hand, and the fact of their rareness or  
uniqueness on the other, is a reasonable and interesting challenge to  
any theory of how human language works.

The present volume for the first time compiles selected papers on the  
study of rare linguistic features from various fields of linguistics  
and from a wide range of languages. -- DGM]
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