"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.
This book describes the historical emergence and spread of the
to-infinitive in English. It shows that 'to' + infinitive emerged from a
reanalysis of the preposition 'to' plus a deverbal nominalization, which
spread first to purpose clauses, then to other nonfinite environments. The
book challenges the traditional reasoning that infinitives must have been
nouns in Old English because they inflected for dative case and can follow
prepositions. Dr Los shows that as early as Old English the to-infinitive
was established in most of the environments in which it is found today. She
argues that its spread was largely due to competition with subjunctive
that-clauses, which it gradually replaced.
Later chapters consider Middle English developments. The author provides a
measured evaluation of the evidence that 'to' undergoes a period of
degrammaticalization. She concludes that the extent to which 'to' gains
syntactic freedom in Middle English is due to the fact that speakers began
to equate it with the modal verbs and therefore to treat it syntactically
as a modal verb.
The exposition is clear and does not assume an up-to-date knowledge of
generative theory. The book will appeal to the wide spectrum of scholars
interested in the transformation of Old to Middle English as well as those
studying the processes and causes of syntactic change more generally.