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From Grammar to Politics: Linguistic anthropology in a Western Samoan village (review)

From Grammar to Politics: Linguistic anthropology in a Western Samoan village (review) Alessandro Duranti. 1994. From grammar to politics: Linguistic anthropology in a Western Samoan village. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. xiii + 208 pp. $40.00 cloth, $15.00 paper. For perhaps the last twenty-²ve years, ergativity has been a topic of increasing popularity and frequency of occurrence in the linguistics literature. For at least that long, questions regarding "the well-documented nonactor orientation of Austronesian languages" (Gil 1999:424) have had prominence in work on, especially, Philippine languages. The book under review merits the attention of all scholars interested in ergativity and in nonactor orientation. I would hope that not only scholars with special interest in Samoan or in Polynesian languages ²nd their way to it. Certainly all Polynesianists have special reason to attend to the book. Beyond Polynesianists, not only all Austronesianists, but also others in linguistics more generally, might pro²t from reading this book. I fear, however, that even for Polynesian specialists, there is a danger that the work will in too many instances be classi²ed as "anthropology" and thus "not of interest." At least that is my suspicion. In that case, I can only hope that the book ²nds its way into the hands of any http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oceanic Linguistics University of Hawai'I Press

From Grammar to Politics: Linguistic anthropology in a Western Samoan village (review)

Oceanic Linguistics , Volume 38 (2) – Dec 1, 1999

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Abstract

Alessandro Duranti. 1994. From grammar to politics: Linguistic anthropology in a Western Samoan village. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. xiii + 208 pp. $40.00 cloth, $15.00 paper. For perhaps the last twenty-²ve years, ergativity has been a topic of increasing popularity and frequency of occurrence in the linguistics literature. For at least that long, questions regarding "the well-documented nonactor orientation of Austronesian languages" (Gil 1999:424) have had prominence in work on, especially, Philippine languages. The book under review merits the attention of all scholars interested in ergativity and in nonactor orientation. I would hope that not only scholars with special interest in Samoan or in Polynesian languages ²nd their way to it. Certainly all Polynesianists have special reason to attend to the book. Beyond Polynesianists, not only all Austronesianists, but also others in linguistics more generally, might pro²t from reading this book. I fear, however, that even for Polynesian specialists, there is a danger that the work will in too many instances be classi²ed as "anthropology" and thus "not of interest." At least that is my suspicion. In that case, I can only hope that the book ²nds its way into the hands of any

Journal

Oceanic LinguisticsUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 1, 1999

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