"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more
To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.
Is language somehow innate in the structure of the human brain, or is it completely learned? This debate is still at the heart of linguistics, especially as it intersects with psychology and cognitive science. In collecting papers which discuss the evidence and arguments regarding this difficult question, The Inheritance and Innateness of Grammars considers cases ranging from infants who are just beginning to learn the properties of a native language to language-impaired adults who will never learn one. These studies show that, while precursors of language exist in other creatures, the abilities necessary for constructing full-fledged grammars are part of the biological endowment of human beings. The essays that comprise this volume test the range and specificity of that endowment, while also contributing to our understanding of the intricate and complex relationship between language and biology.