Saving French Discontinuous Negatives—Tim Pulju World of Language — JLSSCNC Vol I, No 2 Contents Crossword for Linguists—Doug Files

Review Article
Carmichael, James Grant III. The Structure of Bee
Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1991.

Truly a breath of fresh air in the recently-stale field of animal communication studies, Carmichael’s book is a pure delight from page one. Apart from his lucidly clear prose and strikingly funny sense of humor, this highly respected author exhibits characteristically lucid analysis and clear formulations of his obviously profound thoughts. Space allows us here to touch on only a few of the books’ many engaging features.

Firstly (and certainly not lastly), it is a clear stroke of genius to give the bees in the study individual names. The reader is unconsciously caught upwithout even being aware of itin the mass confusion that typifies the bee community. Thus evoking our empathy, Carmichael draws the readers into his study quite handily. The many full-color photographs, adding faces to the masses, are an added plus.

Secondly (in rank but not importance), it is equally impressive that Carmichael includes extensive transcripts of actual bee conversations, painstakingly transcribed from literally hours of audio-videotape. Such raw data is seminal, having never before been presented, and should certainly earn the author his well-deserved place in the Linguists’ Hall of Fame.

Thirdly (in rank and importance), Carmichael deserves laud for the unparalleled depth of his analysis. Although space permits none but the sketchiest of details here, we may hope to whet the reader’s appetite by noting that Carmichael is the first analyst to helpfully explain bees’ “play bowing” in terms of a unified theory of the structure of bee behavior. This original (and insightful) line of thinking is certainly a breath of fresh air.

Finally (in rank only), Carmichael has broken new ground in his observation and careful characterization of the clear parallels between bee communication and that of their larger cousins, the African elephants. This previously fallow field has yielded a remarkable crop, and future researchers are sure to confirm the validity and value of this initial work.

Overall, The Structure of Bee Communication certainly ranks among the top two books I have ever read, in all respects conceivable.

Reviewed by: James Grant Carmichael III

Saving French Discontinuous Negatives—Tim Pulju
Crossword for Linguists—Doug Files
World of Language — JLSSCNC Vol I, No 2 Contents