Townsend and Janda's book provides a thorough description of the phonology and inflection of Late Common Slavic with copious background on its precursors and a detailed survey of its stages of development. The comparative approach is blended in from the beginning, with particular attention paid to Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian continuations in both phonology and inflection. Nine chapters cover the basic material of the book, which includes such phenomena as the ruki rule, the satem-centum distinction, rising sonority, syllabic synharmony, prosodic features, ablaut, declension, and conjugation. The tenth chapter consists of brief characterizations of the phonology of each of the five languages emphasized, complete with their phonological inventories and the most salient features of their inflectional patterns. The book's orientation is structural and traditional, yet also modern and innovative in certain ways. One of its unique features is its analysis of phonological developments in terms of Jakobsonian distinctive features, which are introduced in detail in the first chapter and then used to explain sonority and tonality adjustments in the phonology. Also unique is the detailed breakdown of the development of Slavic declensions (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals) and verb classes, treated from both one-stem and traditional points of view. Common and Comparative Slavic will make a superb textbook for courses on the history of Slavic and the five languages it emphasizes, but there are also new formulations which should make the book of interest to the specialist as well as the teacher and graduate student. Common and Comparative Slavic will be an excellent source for students of the Slavic languages who want to learn more about where the modern languages came from and how they differ from one another. It will be just as suitable for reading on one's own as it is for class work. Since it does not presume a deep knowledge of Slavic in advance, it will moreover serve students of general linguistics, Germanic, Romance, etc. who wish to look over the fence and see how another Indo-European language family evolved.

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Twenty short stories glossed and annotated by Oscar E. Swan


Mirosław Żuławski. Opowieśći mojej żony/Tales of My Wife is a glossed reader containing 20 short stories by the late Polish writer and diplomat Mirosław Żulławski. Loosely connected to the nostalgia-enhanced but true history of a Polish family over four generations, first in the Przemyśl area under Austro-Hungary and eventually in Warsaw during and after World War II, each "tale" takes departure from some social gathering at which the narrator's wife is reluctantly prevailed upon to tell a story to which she has alluded in conversation. Partly funny, partly philosophical, sometimes moving, often with unexpected twists and morals and tinged with irony, the stories reflect a belief in the ultimate sense of the way things turn out in life. Rich in concrete everyday vocabulary, the opowieśći are narrated in a simple direct conversational style, ideal for recitation and retelling. They are course-tested and are guaranteed to be read with pleasure by the advanced-intermediate or advanced-level student of Polish, whether as a supplement or as the primary text in a semester-long reading, writing, and conversation course. Occasional difficult passages and cultural obscurities are explained in notes, and the text is enhanced by several pages of photographs relating to places mentioned, some of them taken by the editor on a bicycle trip through the sub-Carpathians, recapturing the backdrop of several of the stories.

For additional materials, visit the author's website at: http://lektorek.org

ca. + 215

The Will to Chance: Necessity and Arbitrariness in the Czech Avant-Garde from Poetism to Surrealism is the first monograph study on the Czech avant-garde that positions the Czech movements of poetism and surrealism at the radical center of debates on what the avant-garde was, is, and can be. It is motivated by post-structuralist theory to ascertain what indeed constitutes the avant-garde in and of itself. The overarching inquiry of the book is that raised by Peter BŸrger in his seminal if imperfect Theory of the Avant-Garde (1984): "The theory of the avant-garde cannot wholly dispense with the study of chance for it is of decisive importance for the self-understanding of the Surrealist movement, at the very least. One will therefore view the category with the meaning the Surrealists gave it as an ideological one that permits scholars to understand the intention of the movement but simultaneously makes it their task to criticize it" (BŸrger 66). Though BŸrger subsumes his discussion of chance to other considerations (montage foremost among them) what BŸrger does say about chance turns the fulcrum of what I see as the avant-gardeÕs totalizing designs. More than a preoccupation with the new or the vernacular of shocking the bourgeoisie, I argue, the obsession with chance and its objective meaning delimits the ideology of the avant-garde. About the Author: Malynne Sternstein is an Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the College. Her interests include Czech Literature and Culture, Russian Literature, Avant-Grade Studies, Central European Studies, Literary, Psychoanalytic and Cultural Theory, Art and Media Theory, The "Retro-Avant-garde," and Czech Film.

Oscar E. Swan


This book is a sequel to and continuation of the author's immensely successful First Year Polish. It is intended for use in the late second through the third year of language study.

For additional materials, visit the author's website at: http://lektorek.org

The text is also suited for independent study. Upon completing this course, the student should have a good control of standard colloquial Polish, a broad knowledge of Polish slang and idioms, and the ability to read with confidence the language of Polish journalism and scholarly prose. Additionally, from the selection of conversations and readings, the student will have built up a broad store of knowledge about contemporary Polish culture and customs in such areas as travel, shopping, dating, telephone use, cuisine, manners, apartment living, and others. An extensive grammatical appendix is included at the end of the book, so that grammatical review may be incorporated into the study plan wherever necessary. The book is profusely illustrated with photographs, cartoons, drawings, and other graphic material.


"But there is no doubt that this rich and comprehensive volume of Polish grammar, idioms, vocabulary, texts, and exercises provides teachers and students with ample explanatory and exemplary material. Intermediate Polish is a valuable contribution to Polish language studies in the United States, and deserves to be read with care." (SEEJ)


The first edition of this book met with instant success; the new edition has been completely rewritten, with much material added, and a wealth of photographs, graphic material, and songs have been added. First Year Polish is intended for use in both high school and college courses and for individualized instruction. The book is written for persons with little or no previous language-learning experience. Attention is paid to speaking, reading, writing, and listening. The language is based upon that of contemporary Poland; grammar is presented explicitly but is well spread throughout the book. Every effort is made to avoid grammar burnout: topics found to be easier for English-speaking learners are placed earlier. The thirty lessons vary between conversation and reading. Each lesson is generously supplied with pattern drills and sentences for translation. The book is richly illustrated. Most lessons can realistically be covered in a single week of non intensive classroom study.

For additional materials, visit the author's website at: http://lektorek.org

"...an effective and enjoyable textbook... lucid and ingenious, is an excellent introduction to the structure of the Polish language and to everyday realities of modern Poland. ... It is a rare textbook, one to be studied as well as enjoyed." (SEEJ)

Oscar E. Swan and Sylvia Galova-Lorinc


This book, the first modern, full course of Slovak for English speakers, is intended for the first year of language study at the college level. It is also suitable for self study when used in combination with accompanying tapes. For additional materials related to this title, visit the author's website at: https://lektorek.org Each lesson, designed to be covered in approximately two weeks of study, consists of dialogues, grammatical commentary, vocabulary, exercises, sentences for translation, and a reading. Lessons are focused on specific practical-use areas: greetings, family and home life, work, study, shopping, meals, and so on. Although conversations and readings are set in contemporary Slovakia, situations are chosen for their generality, their ability to apply to life in both Slovakia and the United States. Grammar is presented matter-of-factly and explicitly, on a level adequate for understanding and making creative use of the conversations and readings. The order of presentation follows the order in which the grammatical topics arise naturally out of the textual material. The material is reinforced by ample and varied pattern-drill exercises, translations, and situational scripts for acting out. The language in this book is modeled on the colloquial speech of younger educated speakers residing in present-day Slovakia. The student who masters the material in this book will be able to read, understand, and communicate with people in Slovakia, as well as participate successfully in summer-study programs at Slovak universities. The book is richly illustrated with photographs, a map, ink drawings, and folk songs with music, as well as numerous jokes, humorous drawings, and other clippings from newspapers and magazines. In the vocabulary grammatical information is given for the words, as well as the number of the lesson where the word is first used. A seven-page index concludes the book.

"The appearance of a new textbook by Oscar Swan is an occasion for joyful anticipation. One expects genuine, lively colloquial examples of the language under study, understated droll wit in the personality of the central dialogue persona (a literary mutation, one believes, of Oscar himself); an up-to-date presentation of social realia as well as grammatical explanations; rigorous, thorough exercises, including morphological drills, topic-oriented dialogues, target-language translations. And all of that is what we find in this delightful and capacious volume, which takes its place as by far the best introductory Slovak text for English speakers, ever." (SEEJ)