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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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?

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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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Title: Bonjour maa: The French-Tamil Language Contact Situation in India
Written By: Leena Kelkar-Stephan
URL: http://www.shaker.de/Online-Gesamtkatalog/Details.idc?ID=722925&CC=6109&ISBN=3-8322-3968-5

This interdisciplinary work which could be of interest to the educationist,
sociologist, ethnologist, and certainly all linguists but especially
creolists, tamilists, and francophonists presents research results on the
language contact situation in one of the former French establishments in
India, namely Pondichery on the south-east coast of India. Pondichery which
remained under French rule until its transfer in 1962 to the Indian
Government is the only existing French speaking community in India and the
only region where French is an official language alongside Tamil. An
estimated 5000 people of the population of 608 000 speak French in
Pondichery. Events in the course of history, immigration and contact with
neighbouring states have given rise to a complex multilingual society
wherein several Indo-European and Dravidian languages are present alongside
French. This linguistic treasure of Pondichery has however not attracted
much attention from linguists - either foreign or Indian. Bonjour maa is
the first linguistic study with an empirical approach to document the usage
and varieties of French within this multilingual scenario.

The book is divided into nine chapters and the annexe contains the entire
transliterated, transcribed and translated corpus issued from a selective
four hours of tape recorded conversation taken during a fieldwork in
Pondichery. For methodological reasons this selected corpus is divided into
three sub-corpora. The first five chapters prepare the introductory frame
by presenting the fieldwork, methodology and database, by describing the
linguistic set-up of India in general and of Pondichery in specific, and by
comparing relevant typological features of the two main languages in
contact, viz. Tamil and French. The next three chapters, each based on one
sub-corpus respectively, form the core of this book. The first of these
chapters investigates whether the variety of French spoken by the Creole
community in Pondichery can be designated as a 'Creole language'. In the
second of these three chapters, formal grammatical constraints on
code-switching are discussed, validity of some of them is tested on the
basis of the French-Tamil corpus, and finally tendencies exhibited by the
corpus are presented. In the last of these three chapters, language choice
and code-switching among teachers, assistants, kindergartners and youth in
various settings in bilingual education at different educational
institutions are examined. The ninth chapter is a summation of the findings
of the thesis. Annexe I-V, the heart of this entire research work, is not
only a linguistic but also a socio-historical documentation of a broad
spectrum of bilingual French-Tamil male and female speakers of different
age groups, from varying socio-economic and education backgrounds in

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Shaker Verlag GmbH
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): Language Documentation
Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language(s): French
Language Family(ies): Indo-Aryan
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 3832239685
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 364
Prices: Europe EURO 49.80