"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 is about how languages change. It is also a devastating critique of a widespread linguistic orthodoxy. April McMahon argues that to provide a convincing explanation of linguistic change the roles of history and contingency must be accommodated in linguistic theory. She also shows that theoretical work in related disciplines can be used to assess the value of such theories. Optimality Theory, or OT as it is usually called, dominates contemporary phonology, especially in the USA, and is becoming increasingly influential in syntax and language acquisition. Having set out its basis principles, Professor McMahon assesses their explanatory power in analysing language change and its residues in current phonological systems. Using cross-linguistic data, and drawing comparisons with other theories inside and outside linguistics, she shows that OT is incapable of accounting for language change, without the addition of rules and an appreciation of chance and historical contingency that would then undermine its theoretical underpinnings.