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Anthropological Linguistics

Trustees of Indiana University

Review
Reviewed Work(s): Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution by Brent Berlin
and Paul Kay
Review by: William Bright
Source: Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 32, No. 1/2 (Spring - Summer, 1990), pp. 184-185
Published by: The Trustees of Indiana University on behalf of Anthropological Linguistics
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30028152
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184 BOOK REVIEWS

Languages in Contact and Contrast: Essays in Contact Linguistics. Edited by


Vladimir Ivir and Damir Kalogjera. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Mono-
graphs, no. 54. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1991. Pp. xi + 502. $199.00 (cloth).

Reviewed by William Bright, University of Colorado

Contact linguistics is defined by the editors as "not only the study of language contact
in the narrow sense but also of contrastive relationships between languages" (vii), with
emphasis on the "contactee"-the bilingual speaker-and on the contrastive
relationships such speakers experience between their native languages and other lan-
guages. The present collection of invited papers, dedicated to the Yugoslav linguist
Rudolf Filipovid, includes forty-two papers by European and American scholars; two
are in German, the rest in English. Some articles are general and theoretical, while
others treat material from a variety of Indo-European languages (a dozen essays deal
specifically with Slavic). The value of individual papers will vary depending on their
readers, as must be expected in such a large collection. Contributions that may appeal
especially to readers of AL include Robert Austerlitz, "The European Absolute Superla-
tive: An Orphan of Grammar, of the Lexicon, and of History" (1-13); Joshua Fishman,
"Cartoons about Language: A Case Study of the Visual Representations of Sociolinguis-
tic Attitudes" (179-93); Eric Hamp, "Language Contact in the Prehistory of English"
(221-23); and Rudolph C. Troike, "Transfer Grammar: From Machine Translation to
Pedagogical Tool" (469-76).
The brief preface by the editors (a little over one page) does little to orient the
reader to the diversity of the book's contents. Although a subject index exists, it is
sketchy. Thus, no index entries are given for the following terms highlighted in the
preface: semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, stylistics, acquisition, methodology,
social context, cultural context. The names of human beings are not indexed, nor are
those of countries, although the text repeatedly refers to such bilingual and multilin-
gual nations as Belgium, Canada, and Yugoslavia. Although the volume is a well-de-
served tribute to Filipovid--a festschrift in fact if not in title-it is not fully useful as a
source on current research in contact linguistics.

Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. Brent Berlin and Paul Kay.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. Pp. xiii + 196. $12.95 (paper).

Reviewed by William Bright, University of Colorado

We must be grateful to have, at last, a paperback edition of this classic work, first
published in 1969. Furthermore, it is not merely an altered reprint of the original: there
is a new preface, and an appended "Bibliography of Color Categorization Research,
1970-1990," by Luisa Maffi (173-89). The 230 titles in this appendix point up the
seminal nature of the 1969 volume; at the same time, however, they indicate the great
need not merely for a reprint, but for a whole new look at the universality and evolution
of color terminologies.
In fact, much important material has very recently been published, notably The
World Color Survey by Brent Berlin, Paul Kay, and William Merrifield (Dallas: Summer
Institute of Linguistics, 1991). And several articles by Robert E. MacLaury have looked
at some different data-such as the fact that yellow, green, and blue seem to form a
single basic color in certain languages (e.g., Karuk, as first reported in 1952).
MacLaury's alternative views of the topic have appeared in The Journal of Linguistic
Anthropology 1(1991):26-51; in Language 67(1991):34-62; in The Annual Review of

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BOOK REVIEWS 185

Anthropology 20(1991):55
pology 33(1992):137-86.
Viewpoint and Category
Texas Press. It is clear t
during the coming years.

Reduplication in South Asian Languages: An Areal, Typological and Histori-


cal Study. Anvita Abbi. New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1992. Pp. xxii + 193. N.p.

Reviewed by William Bright, University of Colorado

The Indian subcontinent is famous among linguists for both its diversity and its unity.
On one hand, the area is home to scores of languages, of four principal stocks: Indo-
Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, and Tibeto-Burman. But on the other hand, the
diffusion of phonological and grammatical features, as well as vocabulary, has created
a large "common core" of elements shared by languages of diverse genetic origins. One
such type of shared structure is reduplication, exemplified in phrases like Hindi khaa-
naa vaanaa 'food, etc.' (< khaanaa 'food') or Tamil puli gili 'tigers, etc.' (< puli 'tiger').
Various studies have been written about such phenomena in specific languages, but
Abbi goes much further. Her research is based on new fieldwork, as well as on pub-
lished literature, in thirty-three modern languages of South Asia proper; she also com-
pares data from several languages of ancient times and of adjacent regions.
Abbi's second chapter is a typology of reduplicated structures, applicable to lan-
guages throughout the world. However, in the chapters that follow, she restricts her
investigation to a single type: that in which complete words are reduplicated-as in
Hindi ghar ghar 'from house to house' (< ghar 'house')--especially the variety she calls
the Reduplicated Verbal Adverb, as in Hindi calte calte 'while walking'. (Here calte is a
participial form of cal-naa 'to walk'.) Abbi shows that the reduplicative process can
have a variety of semantic functions, depending on the senses of the lexical items in-
volved. Meanings of intensification, continuation, and distributiveness are common; but
in adjectives, diminution can also be expressed, as in Hindi khattaa khattaa 'some-
what sour'.
In the latter chapters of her book, Abbi takes up historical and areal considerations
and proposes that the most typical South Asian patterns of reduplication are likely to
have originated in the Munda branch of the Austro-Asiatic family. Areally speaking, t
Reduplicated Verbal Adverb turns out to characterize precisely the geographical area of
South Asia; but when other patterns of reduplication are taken into account, they are
seen to define an area encompassing Southeast Asia as well. By contrast, there is much
less evidence of reduplication in the Iranian language area or in Central Asia.
Apart from the grammaticalized structures Abbi has studied, reduplication is o
course a significant feature in the babbling and the early speech of children; it is also
universal characteristic of verbal art such as riddles, proverbs, and poetry. That Abbi
mentions those matters only briefly is certainly not a fault in her book. However, ser
ous criticisms can be leveled at some mechanical aspects of the volume. It is filled with
errors in spelling and printing; the transcribed examples bristle with inconsistenc
and inaccuracies; bibliographical citations are sometimes untraceable. Those featur
are regrettable; however, they do not diminish the fact that Abbi has made an impres
sive contribution to the linguistic typology and history of South Asia, and to our unde
standing of reduplication in general.

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