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Vol. 33, no. 2 (Summer 1991)


Contents

Articles

Patterns in Language Change, Acquisition and Dissolution: Noun Prefixes and Concords in Bantu. Robert K. Herbert 103
The Old and the New World: Incorporating American Indian Forms of Discourse and Modes of Communication into Colonial Missionary Texts Colleen Ebacher 135
An Incipient Ethnic Model for Urban Sango William J. Samarin 166
Information Sequencing in Mandarin Letters of Request Andy Kirkpatrick 183

Notes and Research Reports

Renaming a Country: The Case of Czechoslovakia Zdenek Salzmann 204

Book Reviews

Language Death: Factual and Theoretical Explorations with Special Reference to East Africa (Matthias Brenzinger) Nancy C. Dorian 209
Language in Context: Essays for Robert E. Longacre (Shin Ja J. Hwang and William R. Merrifield, eds.) Eugene A. Nida 211
Studying and Describing Unwritten Languages (Luc Bouquiaux and Jacqueline M. C. Thomas) William J. Samarin 213
When Literacy Empowers: Navajo Language in Print (Daniel McLaughlin) Deborah House 216
Schmick's Mahican Dictionary (Carl Masthay, ed.) David J. Costa 217
The Structure of Thai Narrative (Somsonge Burusphat) Anthony Diller 220
The Language of Jokes: Analysing Verbal Play (Delia Chiaro) Mary Shapiro 221
Politeness Phenomena in England and Greece (Maria Sifianou) Michael Herzfeld 223
Narrating Our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History (Elizabeth Tonkin) Akosua Anyidoho 224
Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution (Kathleen R. Gibson and Tim Ingold, eds.) Derek Bickerton 226

Abstracts

Patterns in Language Change, Acquisition, and Dissolution: Noun Prefixes and Concords in Bantu

Robert K. Herbert
State University of New York at Binghamton and University of the Witwatersrand

Abstract. The central focus of the paper concerns the system of noun classes and agreement patterns in Bantu languages. Empirical data from three realms of language behavior are considered: processes of historical change, language acquisition, and aphasic dissolution. Samples of aphasic data were collected from Zulu-speaking aphasics in Johannesburg. These data are used to address a number of questions bearing on the issues of lexical representation and agreement: the hierarchical arrangement of noun classes in Banu, the role of alliteration in language-impaired performance, and the possibility of recognizing distinct breakdown types, one in which lexical representation is impaired and another in which morphosyntax is disturbed. Finally, the similarities and differences between the three data sets are discussed, with particular attention to the often reported "pedomorphic character" of much aphasic speech.

The Old and the New World: Incorporating American Indian Forms of Discourse and Modes of Communication into Colonial Missionary Texts

Colleen Ebacher
University of Utah

Abstract. New World colonial doctrinal writings have traditionally been viewed from a Eurocentric perspective. This paper explores missionary texts as part of a complex multicultural reality. Analysis of doctrinal texts is based on two examples--Juan de la Cruz's Doctrina christiana and Bernardino de Sahagún's Coloquios--and focuses on the communication context of those works in order to demonstrate that indigenous forms and modes of communication often lent shape to doctrinal writings.

An Incipient Ethnic Model for Urban Sango

William J. Samarin
University of Toronto

Abstract. In a study to determine whether speakers of Sango could distinguish between urban and rural varieties of the language, 171 inhabitants of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, were asked to identify the relative age, gender, ethnicity, and provenience (urban vs. rural) of persons speaking Sango, based on tape-recorded samples. Analysis reveals that judgments were poorer than expected for age and gender, largely random for ethnicity, and interestingly suggestive for provenience. Moreover, speakers who were identified as Yakoma (or Riverine) were also associated with urbanity, a fact that implies a certain "ideal" or norm of urban Sango. This finding is linked with conclusions from other studies by the author.

Information Sequencing in Mandarin Letters of Request

Andy Kirkpatrick
Australian National University

Abstract. Native speakers of Chinese prefer to place requests toward the end of interactions or messages. Such requests generally conform to the following schema: salutation, preamble (facework), reasons, and then the request itself. This article analyzes requests that appear in letters written by Mainland Chinese to the China Section of Radio Australia.

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