From: Daniel Riaņo (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Nov 09 2000 - 10:17:23 EST
The following review of a book + CD ROM with tools for
linguistic analysis (including diagramming) appeared on the LINGUIST
list, and I thought it could be of general interest. [I never saw the
book or the programs myself, so I can't either recommend or
At 05:38 +0000 27/10/00, The LINGUIST Network wrote:
>Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 18:36:21 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Shravan Vasishth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: Review request: Weisler,
> Steven and Slavko Milekic (2000) Theory of Language.
>Steven E. Weisler and Slavko Milekic (2000) Theory of Language. MIT Press,
>Cambridge, MA Pages: 344+xv
>Price (paperback or CD version): $35
>Reviewed by Shravan Vasishth, Ohio State University
>This is an introductory textbook for linguistics and language courses and
>is designed for beginning- and intermediate-level undergraduate classes in
>linguistic theory. There are two versions of the book, a paperback
>hard-copy and an audio CD. The text is the same in both the hard-copy and
>CD versions, but the latter includes video clips (excerpts from interviews
>with various linguists), a Tree Builder tool for construction and
>evaluation of phonological, metrical, and syntactic analysis of trees, a
>word processor, various annotation mechanisms (hiliters, voice memos),
>among other things.
>There are six chapters. The book begins by introducing general issues
>about language, and the remainder of the book deals with phonetics and
>phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and psycholinguistics (brain and
>language). All the chapters give a fairly detailed treatment. For
>example, in the semantics chapter (Chapter 5, Meaning), we see a
>simplified version of Montague grammar, definite descriptions, possible
>world semantics, quantifier scope ambiguities. More advanced topics are
>mentioned as an aside in boxes, which should allow an instructor using
>this text to use adjust the level of discussion depending on the audience.
>The chapters generally read well, and relatively difficult concepts are
>explained quite clearly. The textbook is aimed at an undergraduate
>audience, but it may be a little too detailed for students not intending
>to major in linguistics or those taking a language course to satisfy a
>course requirement. The more novel aspect of the book lies in the CD
>edition, and I will focus on this in the remainder of the review.
>The CD does not accompany the book; it is a CD version of the book along
>with some extra teaching tools. The CD works only with Macintosh computers
>and has the following system requirements: Apple Macintosh with a 68040 or
>better processor; Power Macintosh (PPC) recommended 16MB of free RAM
>(20MB recommended) approximately 25MB of free hard drive space 256 color,
>640x480 pixel monitor or better MacOS System 7.5 or later QuickTime 2.5 or
>later. Optional: PlainTalk microphone (for voice recording) Macintosh
>text-to-speech (TTS) software (source for system requirements:
>The software installation is straightforward and the interface is also
>fairly easy to use. The goal of the authors, to create a "digital learning
>environment", seems to have been amply achieved. The CD could plausibly be
>used in classroom for instruction, or as a teaching aid.
>There are some minor improvements possible; for example, the voice quality
>of the video clips varies and the occasional background music could be a
>bit distracting in a classroom setting. Another possible problem is the
>Mac environment that the software is limited to. Windows users and others
>are likely to be deterred from using the CD simply because many will not
>have Macs available to them.
>On the whole, however, the textbook and the CD are a very welcome
>addition to existing introductory texts, and should prove useful in
>enhancing linguistics instruction.
>Short biography of author:
>Shravan Vasishth is a PhD student at Ohio State University, with
>research interests in human sentence processing.
>If you buy this book please tell the publisher or author
>that you saw it reviewed on the LINGUIST list.
>LINGUIST List: Vol-11-2319
Daniel Riaņo Rufilanchas
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