"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.
Whether all human languages are fundamentally the same or different has
been a subject of debate for ages. This problem has deep philosophical
implications: If languages are all the same, it implies a fundamental
commonality--and thus mutual intelligibility--of human thought. We are now
on the verge of solving this problem. Using a twenty-year-old theory
proposed by the world's greatest living linguist, Noam Chomsky, researchers
have found that the similarities among languages are more profound than the
differences. Languages whose grammars seem completely incompatible may in
fact be structurally almost identical, except for a difference in one
simple rule. The discovery of these rules and how they may vary promises to
yield a linguistic equivalent of the Periodic Table of the Elements: a
single framework by which we can understand the fundamental structure of
all human language. This is a landmark breakthrough both within
linguistics, which will herewith finally become a full-fledged science, and
in our understanding of the human mind.