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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?

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.


Book Information

   

Title: The Unfolding of Language
Subtitle: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention
Written By: Guy Deutscher
URL: http://www.unfoldingoflanguage.com
Description:

"Language is mankind's greatest invention – except of course, that it was
never invented." So begins Guy Deutscher's investigation into the
evolution of language. No one believes that the Roman Senate sat down one
day to design the complex system that is Latin grammar, and few believe,
these days, in the literal truth of the story of the Tower of Babel. But
then how did there come to be so many languages of such elaborate design?
If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw
spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous
vocabularies, and intricately nuanced shades of meaning?

Drawing on recent discoveries in modern linguistics, The Unfolding of
Language exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human
communication. The emergence of linguistic complexity is reconstructed from
an early evolutionary "Me Tarzan" stage, all the way to the expressive
power of languages today. Arguing that destruction and creation in language
are intimately entwined, Deutscher shows how these processes are
continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new
meanings. From the written records of lost civilizations to the spoken
idiom of today's streets, we move nimbly from ancient Babylonian through
medieval French to the English of the present. We marvel at the triumph of
design that is the Semitic verb, puzzle over single words that can express
highly elaborate sentiments, such as the Turkish
şehirlileştiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't
turn into a town-dweller"), and observe how great changes of pronunciation
may result from an age old human habit - simple laziness. Through the
dramatic story of The Unfolding of Language, we discover the genius behind
a uniquely human faculty.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
French
German
Turkish
Sumerian
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 043401155X
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 360
Prices: U.K. £ 14.00

 
 
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0805079076
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 360
Prices: U.S. $ 26.00