"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.
Demonstratives in Interaction: The Emergence of a Definite Article in Finnish
This book concerns one of the paradigm examples of grammaticalization, the development of a definite article from a demonstrative determiner. Although standard written Finnish has no articles, the demonstrative 'se' is currently emerging as a definite article in spoken Finnish. This book describes and explains the developing use of 'se' based on a database consisting of spoken narratives from three different periods spanning the last one hundred years. The author proposes that the development from demonstrative to article has its roots in the way that speakers ordinarily use demonstratives in conversation, and provides an analysis of the use of 'se' and the two other Finnish demonstratives, 'tama' and 'tuo' in a corpus of multi-party conversations, showing that speakers of Finnish use demonstratives to focus attention on important referents and to express and negotiate access to them in the interactive context of ongoing talk, and not primarily to talk about how near or far referents are. The development of se into a general marker of identifiability is shown to be connected with both the focusing function of demonstratives as well as its use for referents which the speaker considers accessible to the addressee.