Murray, Stephen O., 1985. Toward a mc,del of members" methods for recognizing interruption. Language in Society 13: 31-41. Murray, Stephen O., 1987. Power and solidarity in 'interruption'. Symbolic Interaction 10: 10Ill0. Tannen, Deborah, 1984. Conversational style. Norwood, N J: Ablex. Tannen, Deborah, 1986. That's not what I meant! New York: Morrow.
Giulio C. Lepschy, Nuovi saggi di linguistica italiana, Studi linguistici e semiologici/29. Bologna, Il Mulino, 1989. 239 pp., £ 28.000, and Sulla linguistica moderna. Bologna, Il Mulino, 1989. 465 pp., £ 48.000. Reviewed by Giuliana Giusti* These two volumes, both published by Il Mulino in the same year, contain selected writings by Giulio C. Lepschy~ one of Italy's most prominent linguists. The essays that appear in the two books properly represent this scholar's vast range of interests. Nuovi saggi di linguistica italiana ('New essays in Italian linguistics') is a sequel to the previous Saggi di linguistica italiana ('Essays in Italian linguistics') that were issued by the same publisher about ten years ago. It deals with central issues in descriptive Italian Linguistics, as is indicated by the section headings: 'Aspetti dell'italianc contemporaneo' ('Aspects of contemporary Italian'), 'Questioni di grammatica' ('Issues in grammar'), 'Struttura e storia di parole' ('Structure and history of words'). The book under review, 'Sulla linguistica moderna' ('On modern linguistics') represents a more theoretical angle to the history of the field. It is divided into three parts: 'Tendenze' ('Trends'). 'Questioni teoriche' ('Theoretical issues') and 'Indagini storiche' ('Historical inquiries'). The Appendix provides a very useful selected bibliography divided into eighteen sections ranging from general reference books, journals, anthologies, and dictionaries over main works on various topics (such as historical linguistics, comparative linguistics, geolinguistics, typological linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure, European and American structuralism, generative linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics) to more recent publications in those areas of linguistics which interact with other disciplines, such as logic, statistics, computer science, and translation techniques. Due to lack of space, we will focus here on a very limited number of problems from the various issues dealt with in the two books. From the papers in Nuovi saggi, we will discuss some dealing with every-day Italian * I thank Lorenzo Renzi for comments and Carmel Coonan for having checked the English. Correspondence to: G. Giusti, Seminario di Linguistica e Didattica, Ca' Garzoni, S. Marco 3417, 1-30124Venezia, Italy.
and some notes on the manifestation of sexism in this language; from Sulla linguistica moderna, we will examine two related issues: the question of (the possibility of) translation, and the different distribution of the definite and indefinite articles in various languages (and related translation problems). The first three articles in Nuovi saggi discuss the vexata questio of the nature and usage of the various Italian dialects and their interaction with Standard Italian. The first article, 'II movimento della norma nelritaliano contemporaneo' ('The change in the norm in contemporary Italian'), written in collaboration with Lorenza Raponi, challenges the notion, which is often expressed, viz. that Italian is nowadays 'spoiled' by the influence of the dialects, by an undisciplined usage on the part of the media, and by sloppy linguistic education in primary school. L. and his co-author adopt a statistical approach; they analyse a number of grammars and a choice of texts on various stylistic levels from the middle of the last century (i.e. since the unification of Italy) up to the present day. Their general observation about the grammars is that it is not true that the norm of the last century only refers to literary usage, as is often claimed. On the contrary, it turns out that the influence of the national writer Alessandro Manzoni led grammarians to refer to the spoken language of Florence. Later, however, certain typically Florentine usages came to be considered by the grammarians as no longer preferable and later still as merely marginal. Therefore, it is apparent that prescriptive grammar changed (although slower than the spoken language) parallel to the changes that took place in mainly literary usage. The second general observation made by Lepschy and Raponi is that the texts of a given stylistic register are more similar to each other across time than to texts of their own time which belong to different registers. This contradicts the stereotype that Italian has been 'corrupted' particularly in recent years, and shows that different constructions simply pertain to different registers. As Lepschy points out, it is probable that certain low registers appear in a written form more frequently at present than before, but this is certainly due to the wide-spread increase in literacy of the population and to the expansion of editorial enterprises something to be praised, not to be despised. The title of the second paper 'Quanto popolare 6 l'Itaqano' ('How popular is Italian') plays with the meaning of the word popolare (which means 'popular' in the sense of 'liked by everybody', but also 'of the lower classes', 'non-standard'). 'Italiano popolare' is the language spoken (and written) by the uneducated or lower classes. Lepschy observes that Italian dialects are so different from each other that mutual understanding is often impossible, and also that many people in Italy still have a dialect as their first language. On the other hand he notes that there is a whole range of variants available to the speaker, and these create a continuum between the dialect and the literary language. These considerations raise the following two questions: how popular is Italian (in the sense of how extensive is its use) and, what exactly is
italiano popolare (in the sense of which variant of Italian on the continuum is close enough to each dialect to be used with ease while it still permits mutual understanding)? L. attributes the coinage of the term italiano popolare to De Mauro in 1963, and in his third paper 'L'italiano popolare', he reviews the usage of the term and its changing definitions ever since. It turns out that the term is'quite controversial. Spontaneous instances of speech are difficult to analyse, and furthermore, since different variants can be used at the same time in the same instance of speech, a formal distinction between them may be difficult to work with. L. does not draw any quick conclusions about the latter issue, but he notes that the standard language, or its regional variants, are used nowadays more than ever and that one should certainly be optimistic about the vitality of Italian. The fifth paper, 'Lingua e sessismo' CLanguage and sexism'), was originally written as a review of the Raccomandazioni per un uso non sessista della lingua italiana ('Guidelines for a non-sexist usage of the Italian language') by Alma Sabatini (1986). After an introduction on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, L. examines and criticizes the proposals presented in the Raccomandazioni one by one, but doing this he loses sight of Sabatini's message, viz. that there is a certain usage of Italian which perpetuates old stereotypes and impedes the process towards equality between the sexes. Of course, proposing guidelines is in itself an artificial and normative way of inducing language change. If there were commonly used non-sexist alternatives to sexist terms, and if these alternatives already had an as easy and as elegant "feeling" as the latter (whatever that may mean), there would be no need for guidelines in the first place. Sabatini was aware of this and stressed the tentative character of her guidelines. She addressed her proposals to those who through their very usage in the media and in school textbooks create the norm. In spite of their early publication the guidelines were definitely not the central part of Sabatini's research. In fact, they were followed by a more consistent analysis of the language of the press and textbooks in I1 sessismo e la lingua italiana ('Sexism and the Italian language') (Sabatini 1987). This work is certainly more interesting for a linguist and, at the same time, it justifies the need for the Raccomandazioni. L.'s point of view on this problem is quite balanced and he is aware of the importance of this issue, but his legitimate refusal of normativism leads him to take a very critical stance on Sabatini's enterprise. uewever, as noted by L. himself at the end of the paper, it is perhaps ironical that the more than justified opposition to the authoritarian normativism of the Fascist regime might now jeopardize the cause for equality between the sexes. Chapter 7 and chapter 12 of Sulla linguistica moderna are both related to the problem of translating a message from one language to another, especially if the two languages are quite distinct fiom each other both in cultural and structural terms. The chapter on 'Traduzione' ('Translation') sketches the
fascinating history of this human activity. The translation of the Bible is taken as a good example of how the various issues that arise in relation to translation are approached, starting from ancient times to the modern age. Since the time of Saint Jerome, the need for a faithful translation was balanced off by the need for clarification of certain expressions that are not literally translatable into the target language. The tension between the idea that languages represent different perceptions of the world, and a belief in universalism is at the root of the querelle that arose at the beginning of the 19th century, due to the Romantic interest in exotic cultures and the ensuing demand for a translation that was able to reproduce the distinctive features of the original version. The paradox that translation is impossible and yet necessary play~ also an important role in Croce's idealistic philosophy which had a strong influence on the Italian literature of the first half of our century. In the last two paragraphs of the paper, L. provides some 'rules of thumb' for the translator as well as some examples. Poetry is obviously the most difficult to translate, and here the alternative referred to above between a 'beautiful unfaithful' or an 'ugly faithful' translation is always present. On the other hand, translations of scientific texts or everyday technical instructions present themselves as 'originals', in that they do not require any interpretation, since they are very often completely parallel in the source and target languages. But this is, of course, only true if the relevant field of scientific research or the object the instruction is about are available in both cultures. In fact, one can easily imagine that if instructions on how to open a can of food are to be 'cooperative', they should be much more detailed if canned food is only about to be introduced in a culture to which it was previously unknown. A parallel example could be instructions on how to perform a rite of an unknown religion successfully. Cultural interpretation remains therefore always the basic problem of translation. The other side of the coin, namely the problems presented by translation between two languages with structural differences, is presented in chapter 12: 'L'uso delrarticolo: confronti interlinguistici' ('The use of the article: Interlinguistic comparisons'). In this chapter, L. suggests that the differences in the use of the definite and indefinite articles in Italian, English and French are more a matter of cosmesi linguistica ('linguistic cosmetics') than of a deep difference in the three languages. L. provides evidence for this on the basis of the results of an experiment: the author asked native speakers of Italian to reinsert the articles in a passage taken from an Italian novel from which they had been removed. The fact that the results were surprisingly in accordance with the original and consistent among each other, leads Lepschy to the conclusion that the articles are more redundant than usually assumed. However, the fact that information can be recovered in some other way, does not allow us to regard the syntax of the articles as a matter of superficial 'cosmetics'. Precisely because we find so much agreement among speakers,
we should ask ourselves what structural rules govern the distribution of the articles. Merely aesthetic or superficial rules cannot account for the obligatory presence of the definite article in generic statements in Italian but not in English, as in i castori construiscono dighe vs. beavers build dams - apart from the fact that i castori constuiscono le dighe also has a different interpretation, while *castori costruiscono dighe is impossible. It is not enough to say that for some reason generically used nouns prefer, or better require, a definite article in Italian but not in English, since the structural position of the noun phrase also appears to play a crucial role. A more complex question is the translation from a language without articles into a language with articles. The examples presented in the paper are a passage from Aulularia by Plauto and one from Kapitan'skaja do6ka by Pushkin translated into Italian, English and French. In this case the problem is that what the source language may choose to leave ambiguous, the target language must often disambiguate. The translator, concludes L., should not decide arbitrarily but must let the structure of the text guide his or her choice. The papers reviewed here represent only a limited selection of all the issues raised in these two books. Only for reasons of space have we disregarded the theoretical issues and the sections on the history of linguistics that represent the main part of Sulla linguistica moderna. But they are certainly significant contributions to the understanding of central questions concerning the relationship between structura!ism ar:d other trends in modern linguistics. In summary, these two books confirm what we already knew about the author's research, viz. that he pays full attention to descriptive issues while being profound in theoretical matters. Two gifts that are not often found together. References De Mauro, Tullio, 1963. Storia linguistica dell'Italia unita. Bari: Laterza. Sabatini, Alma, 1986. Raccomandazioni per un uso non sessista della lingua italiana. Per la scuola e reditoria scolastica. Roma: Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. Sabatini, Alma, 1987. I1 sessismo e la lingua italiana. Roma: Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri.
Keith Allan and Kate Burridge, Euphemism & dysphemism: Language used as a shield and weapon. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. x+ 263 pp. $24.95. Reviewed by Timothy B. Jay* Most readers are familiar with euphemisms, expressions coined to avoid or * Correspondence to: T.B. Jay, Department of Psychology, North Adams State College, North Adams, MA 01247, USA.