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Vol. 38, no. 3 (Fall 1996)


Contents

Articles

A Reconstruction of the Earliest Songish Text Timothy Montler 405
A Widespread Marking Reversal in Languages of the Southeastern United States Cecil H. Brown 439
A Deep Breath and a Second Wind: The Substrate Hypothesis Reassessed John H. McWhorter 461
Yodeling of the Indiana Swiss Amish Chad L. Thompson 495
The Proverb as a Mitigating and Politeness Strategy in Akan Discourse Samuel Gyasi Obeng 521

Review Essay

Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary: Materials for a Reconstruction (Vladimir E. Orel and Olga V. Stolbova) Joseph H. Greenberg 550

Book Reviews

Syntactic Iconicity and Linguistic Freezes: The Human Dimension (Marge E. Landsberg, editor) Linda Schwartz 557
The Dialogic Emergence of Culture (Dennis Tedlock and Bruce Mannheim, editors) Regna Darnell 560
Constructing Panic: The Discourse of Agoraphobia (Lisa Capps and Elinor Ochs) A. Jamie Saris 563
Coherence in Psychotic Discourse (Branca Telles Ribeiro) Charlotte Linde 567
'Talking Proper': The Rise of Accent as Social Symbol (Lynda Mugglestone) Rosina Lippi-Green 569
Sociolinguistic Perspectives: Papers on Language in Society, 1959-1994 (Charles A. Ferguson. Thom Huebner, editor) Allen D. Grimshaw 571
Language Contact in the American Deaf Community (Ceil Lucas and Clayton Valli) Christine Monikowski 575
Western Abenaki Dictionary. Volume 1: Abenaki-English; Volume 2: English-Abenaki (Gordon M. Day) Anthony P. Grant 576
Delaware-English/English-Delaware Dictionary (John O'Meara) David J. Costa 578
Lengua Maká: Estudio descriptivo (Ana Gerzenstein) Lucía A. Golluscio 581
The Voices of Eden: A History of Hawaiian Language Studies (Albert J. Schütz) Jack H. Ward 586
Language, Religion, and Ethnic Assertiveness: The Growth of Sinhalese Nationalism in Sri Lanka (K. N. O. Dharmadasa) Arjun Guneratne 588
Modality, Mood, and Aspect in Spoken Arabic, with Special Reference to Egypt and the Levant (T. F. Mitchell and S. A. El-Hassan) John C. Eisele 591
Die Shinassha-Sprache: Materialien zum Boro (Marcello Lamberti) Catherine Griefenow-Mewis 593
Materialien zum Yemsa (Marcello Lamberti) Catherine Griefenow-Mewis 596
The Mystery of Culture Contacts, Historical Reconstruction, and Text Analysis: An Emic Approach (Kenneth Pike, Gary F. Simons, Carol V. McKinney, and Donald A. Burquest. Kurt R. Jankowsky, editor) David K. Beine 598

Abstracts

A Reconstruction of the Earliest Songish Text

Timothy Montler
University of North Texas

Abstract. This paper presents a reconstruction of what is probably the earliest recorded text in any Straits Salishan language. The text, a traditional tale told by Thomas James of Songhees, near Victoria, British Columbia, was recorded and first published in 1907 by Charles Hill-Tout. Modern researchers have routinely dismissed Hill-Tout's linguistic work on Northern Straits as unusable. This paper shows that Hill-Tout's transcription is better than it first appears and that, given our current understanding of the phonology and grammar of Northern Straits and other Salishan languages, useful versions of his work can be reconstructed.

A Widespread Marking Reversal
in Languages of the Southeastern United States

Cecil H. Brown
Northern Illinois University

Abstract. Across the southeastern United States, native American languages have linguistically accommodated the European-introduced peach by referring to it through the use of respective terms for the native plum. This has taken the form of marking reversals in which native words originally designating plum have shifted in reference to peach, with modified (overtly marked) 'peach' terms used to denote plum (e.g., 'little peach' = plum). Marking reversals were motivated throughout the region by a radical change in the relative cultural importance of the two referents, wherein the introduced peach surpassed the native plum in salience. The broad distribution of this nomenclatural feature is probably attributable both to diffusion and to independent development. Other widespread features involving words for introduced items are noted including a marking reversal in which the introduced pig and the native opossum are nomenclaturally linked. These lexical traits suggest the southeastern United States to be a post-contact linguistic area.

A Deep Breath and a Second Wind:
The Substrate Hypothesis Reassessed

John H. McWhorter
University of California, Berkeley

Abstract. Substrate transfer in creoles is often attributed to slaves brought to a colony at the time that the creole emerged as a distinct variety. This approach neglects genetic relationships between various creoles, thus often making a substrate analysis invalid without reference to progenitors of the creole in question. This paper demonstrates this fact via Saramaccan, showing that it inherited its fundamental structure from pre-existent Sranan, which in turn is likely to have emerged on the Ghanaian coast. Developmental accounts of Saramaccan are thus incomplete when they refer only to creators of Saramaccan itself, and West African influence on Saramaccan must be seen as partly inherited from structures that were properly transferred into Sranan. Also, an explicit method for identifying transfer in creoles is proposed.

Yodeling of the Indiana Swiss Amish

Chad L. Thompson
Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne

Abstract. The Old Order Amish of Adams County, Indiana, and to a lesser extent, of Allen County, maintain the practice of yodeling. Yodeling, along with the continued use of an Alemannic German dialect, make the Swiss Amish unique in the Amish world. The practice of yodeling persists because it serves several important functions in the community: it is an accepted form of entertainment in a society that shuns commercial entertainment; it serves as a symbol of separation from the English-speaking world, as well as from the non-Swiss Amish communities; and it serves as a integral part of certain types of social interaction. The yodels themselves can be alyrical (without accompanying song), postlyrical (following lines or verses), or contralyrical (simultaneous with yodeling). The lyrics to yodel songs are typically either in Bernese Swiss or English, but some of the Swiss lyrics have Standard or Pennsylvania German elements.

The Proverb as a Mitigating
and Politeness Strategy
in Akan Discourse

Samuel Gyasi Obeng
Indiana University

Abstract. Among the Akan of Ghana, the proverb is highly valued as a mode of communication. Pragmatically, it may be used in the management of "face." Specifically, it may act as a mitigator that minimizes the offensive intent of an upcoming "difficult" utterance, it may show a speaker's humility or his acknowledgment of the addressee's sensibility by providing a common ground that does not impale the sensibility of any of the conversational participants; or it may show deference or solidarity. Structurally, it may function as a predifficult, a preclosing, or a closing.

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