As such, its appearance is a significant event, especially since its author is a well known and respected authority on Turkish. He has been working on Turkish and the other Turkic languages for many years, and published the first grammar in English of the Turkic language Karachay. Jaklin Kornfilt provides a wealth of examples drawn from different levels of vocabulary: A notable feature of the book is the kofnfilt and detailed Table of Contents. New Research Perspectives ; R.

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London and New York: Routledge. As such, its appearance is a significant event, especially since its author is a well known and respected authority on Turkish. This is the latest title in the Descriptive Grammars series, edited by Bernard Comrie and published by Routledge. The goals of the works in this series are different from those of most grammars: the Descriptive Grammars are intended for linguists rather than general users.

All of the grammars in the series address the same issues in a uniform format so that a given feature may be easily compared across languages, and they contain information of a sort that is often absent from more traditional grammars.

Toward the end of the review I will comment briefly on the potential utility of this grammar for non-linguists, but for the most part I will focus on usefulness of the grammar for linguists. The Descriptive Grammars series now includes nearly 30 titles. According to the editorial preface, the series gives preference to languages for which comprehensive descriptions are not presently available iv. The aim of the series is to provide information to linguists who are interested in language typology, language universals, and comparative grammar, employing a terminology and a notation that will make the information accessible to linguists regardless of their particular specialization or orientation.

Authors of the grammars in the series are expected to organize their descriptions as answers to a series of questions originally published in LINGUA vol. The grammatical description alone amounts to just over pages. It is thus roughly twice as long as Lewis and about pages longer than Underhill The book contains five chapters of widely varying lengths.

Thus approximately 90 per cent of the book is devoted to morphology and syntax. Furthermore, a good deal of the information in the Morphology chapter deals with syntactic matters, giving the book an especially heavy bias toward syntax.. This distribution of information no doubt reflects both the interests of the author and the current emphasis of typological research.

The chapters on phonology and the lexicon are both very well done and very useful more on this below , but they do not address all of the issues that might be of interest to a phonologist or a lexical semanticist.

A notable feature of the book is the extensive and detailed Table of Contents. It is eleven pages long and, used in conjunction with the fourteen-page index, provides easy access to the an extensive body of information about Turkish. I think it handles syntax and morphology marvelously well, phonology and the lexicon adequately, and ideophones and interjections in a cursory fashion. The chapters on syntax and morphology provide the best, most detailed descriptions of these parts of the language available.

The analyses are up to date and insightful, and Kornfilt has done a superb job of bringing clarity to some of the most difficult parts of the language. In concept and terminology, the description straddles the line between generative and traditional or non-generative approaches. This is probably the right choice, given the diverse backgrounds of the probable users of the grammar.

The range of coverage is broad and thorough. Kornfilt deals with sentence types, both simple and complex; with negation and questions; with grammatical categories and phrase types; and with most of the other grammatical phenomena that might interest linguists. The morphology chapter contains information not just on inflection and derivation, but also on the uses of the various morphological forms.

Cross-referencing is extensive, making it easy for the reader to find all of the relevant information on a topic even if it is not found in the same section of the book. This approach of interrelating syntax and morphology is very useful and allows Kornfilt to clarify some of the cloudy areas of Turkish grammar.

Perhaps most notable are her treatments of the participial and nominal systems and their relation to subordination pp. Finite subordination is rare in Turkish. A far more frequent pattern of subordination involves the use of a participial or nominalized verbal stem. Her treatment of other aspects of Turkish morphology and syntax are equally well done. This is often essential information for linguists whether studying typology, syntax, or morphology and is rarely included in more traditional grammars.

In Lewis , this information can be inferred from the discussion of cases on pages , but it is not so easy to find and not so categorically stated. There are many similar examples, especially in the syntax chapter. The chapter on phonology is short, clear, and precise, but it does not contain the amount of detail found in the syntax and morphology chapters. While the information presented will be adequate for many purposes, phonologists will no doubt wish for more elaborate discussions of issues like vowel harmony, stress assignment, and phonological or morphophonemic alternations.

I found one omission in this chapter. On page , the final devoicing rule is described as applying to syllable-final plosives and affricates, yet on page there are examples of final devoicing of liquids as well, described as being standard but not universal. A cross-reference would have been useful here. For the most part, transcriptions in the phonology chapter follow the IPA norms.

One exception, though, is the transcription of palatalized consonants by means of a comma rather than a raised j.

Chapter 4, Ideophones and Interjections, is only 3 pages long and provides only the briefest commentary on these phenomena. While many linguists myself included will not mind the short shrift given to these topics, some will no doubt be disappointed that the list of ideophones occupies less than a page and a half.

Chapter 5, Lexicon, is a short but interesting sample of the lexicon of Turkish. The chapter contains lists of words organized by semantic field. These include kinship terminology, color terms, body parts, and cooking terminology.

Also included is a list of just over items of "Basic Vocabulary," which seems to correspond to the so-called Swadesh List. Linguists interested in historical linguistics and language classification will be grateful to find this set of words conveniently collected together. It is more comprehensive, more up to date, and more effectively organized than any other description of the language. The method of organization, as well as the detailed Table of Contents and the Index, make a wealth of information available almost instantaneously.

It is, simply put, an admirable reference work on Turkish for linguists. There are two main reasons why the book will not be accessible to non-linguistic audiences. First, Kornfilt assumes familiarity with linguistic terminology. Kornfilt has little to say, for example, about questions of stylistic variation, formal versus colloquial speech, or any of a range of topics that the typical student or scholar of Turkish might be interested in. This is not really a criticism, since the Descriptive Grammar series has a well defined audience that excludes non-linguists.

Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that the grammar will not be useful to a wider audience. It will supplement but will not replace Lewis and Underhill First, there is a relatively large number of errors and inconsistencies. A sentence on page 30, which addresses the of question whether pied-piping of postpositions is obligatory, leaves the reader unsure of the answer. There are also some contradictions. On page , the claim is made that the reflexive can never occur in subject position, but on page we learn that the reflexive can occur as an honorific subject and on page three references are given to works that discuss reflexive subjects in subordinate clauses.

Other inconsistencies are found in the bibliography, where some Turkish titles are translated into English and others are not. The author is aware of some of the errors and has prepared an Addendum which contains a short list of errata, but many of the errors that I found are not included. The Addendum is available free of charge from the author or the publisher. This is unfortunate; since the book is so useful, linguists interested in Turkish will want to have it close at hand.

Oxford: Oxford University Press. Underhill, Robert , Turkish Grammar. Steve Seegmiller is interested universal and comparative grammar. He has been working on Turkish and the other Turkic languages for many years, and published the first grammar in English of the Turkic language Karachay.

He is presently at work on a comparative syntax of English and Japanese. E-mail: seegmillermalpha.





LINGUIST List 9.645



Jaklin Kornfilt


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