12.1989, Review: Beedham, Langue & Parole

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Date:  Tue, 7 Aug 2001 21:32:36 -0400 (EDT)
From:  linguistlist reviews <reviews at linguistlist.org>
Subject:  Anderson review

-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------

Date:  Tue, 7 Aug 2001 21:32:36 -0400 (EDT)
From:  linguistlist reviews <reviews at linguistlist.org>
Subject:  Anderson review

Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2001 10:50:53 +0100
From: Wendy J. Anderson <wja at st-andrews.ac.uk>
Subject: review of C. Beedham, Langue and Parole

Beedham, Christopher, ed. (1999) Langue and Parole in Synchronic and
Diachronic Perspective: Selected Proceedings of the XXXIst Annual
Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, St. Andrews, 1998.
Pergamon (imprint of Elsevier), hardback ISBN: 0-08-043581-5, xi+519pp.

Wendy J. Anderson, Department of French, University of St. Andrews,


The papers in this collection were presented at the 31st Annual Meeting
of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, held in St. Andrews, Scotland in
August 1998. Following a general introduction by the editor,
Christopher Beedham, lecturer in German at St. Andrews University, the
37 papers in this volume fall into ten categories, each of which covers
a different area of linguistics, from the history of linguistics to
generative grammar and 'Langue versus Parole', the general theme of the
conference. Eight of the papers are in German, the others in English.

The first category deals with the history of linguistics, and begins
with a paper by E. F. K. Koerner: 'Three Saussures - One
'Structuralist' Avant la Lettre', which traces Saussure's concept of
'system' through his work, arguing, contrary to much of the discussion
of Saussure thoughout the 20th century, for the unity of his linguistic
thinking. The second paper, Ralph A. Hartmann's 'Gegen eine
herkömmliche Interpretation von Saussures Langage, Langue und Parole -
ein Merkzettel', continues the theme of Saussure and particularly the
status of his three concepts 'langage', 'langue' and 'parole'. Hartmann
questions the purely social character of 'langue' and individualistic
nature of 'parole', and ends by proposing a more 'pragmatistic'

Pieter A. M. Seuren's contribution 'Eubulides as a 20th Century
Semanticist' provides a fascinating discussion of the Greek philosopher
best known for the four paradoxes of the Liar, the Sorites (also known
as 'the Bald Man'), the Electra and the Horns. Seuren shows that these
paradoxes have implications for the study of meaning in natural
language today. Finally in this section, R. H. Robins' 'Key Dates in
Twentieth Century Linguistics' looks back from the perspective of the
turn of the twenty-first century to the linguistic events, people and
schools of the twentieth.

The next section focuses specifically on the general theme of the
conference: Langue versus Parole. Bozena Bednarikova's 'System
Description or Systematic Prescription?' looks at the description of
adjectival forms in modern Czech. Mati Hint in his paper 'Completeness
and Symmetricity of Paradigms' discusses change in morphological
paradigms in Estonian. Next, Roland Harweg in 'Langue und Parole - eine
Neubestimmung unter den Gesichtspunkten von Referenz und Geltung', as
the title indicates, distinguishes 'langue' and 'parole' from the point
of view of reference and validity. Tadao Shimomiya's short paper,
'Parole as an individual realisation of langue', finally, applies the
distinction between 'langue' and 'parole' to extra-linguistic
phenomena, making the point that while 'langue is the train scheduled
to leave Geneva for Paris every day at 2:00 p.m. as listed in the
timetable', 'parole is the actual train'.'

The third section, with the theme 'Deixis', contains two papers: Youri
A. Poupynin's 'Aspect, voice and deixis in Russian', which argues that
both aspect and voice have deictic functions in Russian, and Gabriele
Diewald's 'The integration of the German modals into the paradigm of
verbal moods', which claims that grammaticalised modals are deictic
signs, and that this has consequences for the description of German
verbal categories.

The fourth section concerns Morphology. K. Connors' paper 'Noun
classifiers and gender classes - another look' looks at the distinction
between classifier systems and gender-class systems and postulates a
continuum of classifier-language features. The other paper in the
section is Jósef Darski: 'Was ist Stamm?', which seeks a solution to
the distinction between the stem and the ending of analysable words.

The section on Semantics contains three papers, the first of which is
Yishai Tobin's 'One size does not fit all: a semantic analysis of
'small/large'  vs. 'little/big'', in which Tobin brings to light subtle
semantic distinctions between these adjective pairs. Isabel Forbes and
Gabor Kiss's paper 'Colour categorization and naming in French and
Hungarian' looks at a similarity between the two languages, namely that
each has two basic terms for a colour category (brown for French and
red for Hungarian). Larissa Naiditch's contribution 'Associative and
semantic word fields in bilinguals: the case of Russian-Hebrew
bilingualism' concludes the section, with the findings of a word
association experiment on Russian-Hebrew bilinguals, namely that there
have been shifts in associative and semantic fields caused by
interference and internal change among other factors.

The next section is on Phraseology, and contains two papers: Dmitrij
Dobrovol'skij's 'On the cross-linguistic equivalence of idioms', and
Chris Gledhill's 'Towards a description of English and French
phraseology'. Dobrovol'skij seeks to develop a typology of parameters
for the comparison of idioms across languages. Gledhill relates idioms
and collocations to a general model of phraseology, and shows that
collocational norms depend on their context of situation.

The first paper in section seven, on Discourse Analysis, is by Sven-
Gunnar Andersson: 'Register-motivated variation of tense and mood in
German final clauses introduced by damit'. This study finds that in
spoken language the final 'damit' clause is recategorised as a case of
indirect speech. Igor Boguslavsky's paper, 'Modals, comparatives, and
negation', looks at ambiguity in comparative sentences and explains
this by the interaction of lexical semantics, communicative structure
and conversational maxims. Elisabetta Fava, in 'Langue and parole in
speech act theories: some considerations and a proposal', then returns
to the theme of langue and parole, and attempts to clarify the
complexity of the two with reference to speech act theory.

Still under the heading of Discourse Analysis, Andreas Musolff, in his
paper 'Dinosaurs, metaphors and political argument' complements the
cognitivist approach to metaphor by a discussion of the pragmatic
dimension. Magdalena Jurewicz (in 'Metatext-Sequenzen in deutchen-
polnischen Gesprächen: Eine Fallstudie anhand konsekutiv gedolmetschter
Texte') then looks at the consecutive interpretation of conversation
between German and Polish.

The following section, on Sociolinguistics, begins with Natalia
Guermanova's paper 'National Profiles of Language Perception:
Instrumental vs Cultural-Value Conceptions', which distinguishes
between languages, standardised during the Enlightenment, which value
precision, and those which underwent standardisation later and tend to
value expressiveness. Senta Setinc, next, in 'Wieviel Verliert und
Profitiert ein Wort auf seinem Weg von der Gebenden in die Aufnehmende
Sprache', concentrates on interference in German loanwords in

The largest section gathers together ten papers on Historical
Linguistics. This section begins with Radmila B. Sevic's paper 'Early
collections of private documents: the missing link in the diachronic
corpora?', which discusses diachronic linguistic variation and suggests
that private letters and documents should be preferred to literary
texts for a closer understanding of contemporary spoken language.
'Social networks and language change in Middle English: the challenge
of diachrony', by Alexander T. Bergs, continues the discussion of
Middle English private letters, and applies a Social Network Analysis
to such documents as the 15th century Paston letters.

Isabella Buniyatova moves back in time to Old Germanic and Old Russian
in 'On the history of non-finite clauses in English and other
languages', and suggests that the reanalysis of reduced clauses might
have been a source of the development of hypotaxis. Wladimir D.
Klimonow, in his paper 'Einfluss der Aspekte auf die Umgestaltung der
Futurparadigmen im Russischen', begins from Old Russian and looks at
changes in the future tense under the influence of grammatical aspect.

The volume contains two papers by Michail L. Kotin: 'Possessivaussagen
im Deutschen und die Auxiliarisierung von 'Haben'', and 'Dichotomische
Zugriffe im Bereich der Aktionalität des Westgermanischen (im Vergleich
zum Slawischen)'. The former looks at 'haben' as an auxiliary, while
the latter compares actionality in Germanic with that of Slavic.

Olga Ossipova, in 'The mystery of consonantal nominal stem-building
markers in Ancient Germanic' investigates the various functions of
these stem-building markers in Ancient Germanic, Indo-European and
Gothic. Next, Thomas V. Gamkrelidze in 'Langue and parole in proto-
Indo-European reconstructions', returns explicitly to the theme of the
volume and applies the 'langue'/'parole' distinction to the
phonological level of Proto-Indo-European. He ends by suggesting that
Grassmann's Law of Deaspiration, among other historical linguistic
laws, must be reinterpreted in this light.

Fernande Krier in 'Linguistic dynamics in a German autobiography', then
takes the autobiography of an industrial worker from 1905 and presents
a synchronic analysis of it which takes account of diachronic facts.
Akiko Matsumori's paper 'Accentual reconstruction of the proto-system
of mainland Japanese dialects', finally, questions the assumption that
the proto-system of accent for Japanese dialects is that of the Old
Kyoto dialect, and instead proposes an earlier accentual system which
explains problems presented by the Shikoku dialects.

Finally, there is a short section of papers linked by the theme of
Generative Grammar, where 'langue' and 'parole' are instead
'competence' and 'performance'. The first is Florian Panitz's 'Temporal
reasoning in iterative and habitual contexts', which analyses a text
sample to show how default principles govern the interpretation of
narrative texts. Next Ivanka P. Schick's 'Doubling clitics and
information structure in modern Bulgarian' works within the Minimalist
framework and suggests that clitic doubling acts as markers of
information structure. Nedzad Leko, in the final contribution to the
volume, 'The categorial status and case properties of quantified
phrases in Slavic', discusses unusual morphosyntactic properties of
Slavic languages and proposes a radically new analysis.


This is a handsome volume which, read as a whole or dipped into for
individual papers, provides many insights and alternative readings on a
well-established theme. Of course, it is impossible to make any global
evaluation of a volume which contains so many contributions (thirty-
seven in total, by researchers in around twenty countries), and which
covers ten major areas of linguistics. Inevitably, certain papers will
appeal to and be of greater relevance to specialists in their
respective fields. Despite the heterogeneity of the papers, however,
the volume has a strong unity provided by its theme. Several of the
papers deal with the 'langue'/'parole' dichotomy directly, while many
more approach the issue as a marginal theme, or apply the distinction
in their own analysis. Although the volume as a whole would not be
suitable for a newcomer to linguistics, many of the papers catch the
imagination and inspire further reading, especially those by Seuren,
Musolff, and Robins.

One minor criticism which I have is that while three of the papers in
German have abstracts in English, the abstracts for the other five are
in German. Further, these five papers are also neither discussed in
detail nor even summarised in the editor's introduction. These papers
would consequently be inaccessible to a non-German speaker: a dual
abstract or a line or two just to outline their main points in the
introduction would be welcome.

Biographical sketch Wendy Anderson is a PhD student in the Department
of French of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is
currently completing her thesis, a corpus-based analysis of collocation
in the register of present-day administrative French, under the
supervision of Dr. Christopher Gledhill.


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LINGUIST List: Vol-12-1989

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