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"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



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.


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Title: Descriptions in Context
Written By: Cleo A. Condoravdi
Description:

Standard semantic theories of indefinite descriptions, including both those that analyze them as inherently existentially quantified and those that analyze them as non-quantificational, variable-contributing elements , predict that indefinites always have existential force if outside the scope of any operator, that they assert rather than presuppose existence, and that they are not essentially context-sensitive. In this work the author shows that bare plural indefinite descriptions in English, in one of their readings, do not have existential force, that even in the absence of any operator, they presuppose rather than assert existence, and that they are crucially context-sensitive. This reading, called the called the "functional reading," is argued to constitute a distinct interpretation that cannot be subsumed under the regular generic or existential interpretation. The author develops an analysis that captures the similarities and differences between indefinites with the functional reading and definites within the framework of dynamic semantics. The universal quantificational force, the existential presupposition, and the context-sensitivity associated with the functional reading follow from the felicity conditions. Bare plural indefinite descriptions are associated with and general principles governing informational accommodation and contextually salient functions invoked to guarantee felicity.
More generally, this work can be seen as an argument in favor of (i) a dynamic theory of meaning, as opposed to the classical truth-conditional theory; (ii) a presuppositional analysis of descriptions; and (iii) a strong interaction between semantics and pragmatics, whereby background knowledge directly affects interpretation in a way that cannot be factored away as a Gricean effect.

Publication Year: 1997
Publisher: Garland Publishers
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Syntax
Subject Language(s): English
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0815328710
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 214
Prices: $50