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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

   
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Title: The Power of Babel
Subtitle: A Natural History of Language
Written By: John H McWhorter
Description:

In this irreverent romp through territory too often claimed by stodgy grammarians, McWhorter ranges across linguistic theory, geography, history, and pop culture to tell the fascinating story of how thousands of very different languages have evolved from a single, original source in a natural process similar to biological evolution. While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, he reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever-changing human environment.

The Power of Babel draws its examples from languages around the world, including pidgins, creoles, patois, and nonstandard dialects. McWhorter also discusses current theories on what the first language might have been like, why dialects should not be considered "bad speech," and why most of today's languages will be extinct in 100 years.

1. The First Language Morphs into 6000 New Ones
2. The 6000 Languages Develop into Clusters of Sub-Languages
3. The Thousands of Dialects Mix with One Another
4. Some Languages are Crushed to Powder but Rise Again as New Ones
5. The Thousands of Dialects of Thousands of Languages All Develop Far Beyond the Call of Duty
6. Some Languages Genetically Altered and Frozen
7. Most of the World's Languages Go Extinct
Epilogue: "Extra! Extra! The Language of Adam and Eve"

Publication Year: 2001
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
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: 0716744732
ISBN-13: N/A