"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.
The Growth and Maintenance of Linguistic Complexity
This book studies linguistic complexity and the processes by which it arises and is maintained, focusing not so much on what one can say in a language as how it is said. Complexity is not seen as synonymous with "difficulty" but as an objective property of a system — a measure of the amount of information needed to describe or reconstruct it. Grammatical complexity is the result of historical processes often subsumed under the rubric of grammaticalization and involves what can be called mature linguistic phenomena, that is, features that take time to develop. The nature and characteristics of such processes are discussed in detail, as well as the external and internal factors that favor or disfavor stability and change in language.