"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.
Language and Its Functions: A Historico-Critical Study of the Pre-Humanistic Philology of Bopp
Studies in the History of the Language Sciences, 8
When Pieter Verburg (1905-1989) published Taal en Functionaliteit in 1952, the work was received with admiration by linguistic scholars, though the number of those who could read the Dutch text for themselves remained limited. The title alludes to the theories of linguistic function set out in 1936 by Karl Bhler, but Verburg regards the three functions of discourse focusing respectively on the speaker, the person addressed and the matter discussed as no more than subfunctions of the human function of speech. His central concern is to explore the relationships between thought and language, and language and reality; and the work sets out provide a historical analysis of views on these relationships in the period 1100-1800. The great strength of the work lies in the way in which the views of language are related to contemporaneous moves in philosophy and science, contrasting essentially the mediaeval acceptance of authority, the beginnings of induction in the Renaissance, the dependence of early rationalism on calculation based on axiomatic truths, and the further development of independent observation. All these trends are reflected in the way men thought about language, as well as in the way they used it. Much has been written on the history of linguistics since this book was written, but it still offers a unique view of the development of thinking about language.