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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.


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Title: Epicene Pronouns:The Linguistics of a Prescriptive Problem
Written By: Michael Newman
Description:

Few usage issues have proven as persistent and as troublesome as epicene pronouns (i.e., pronouns coreferent with singular antecedents and with referents of unknown or indistinct sex). Previous studies have examined the issue from an exclusively social perspective, focusing on sexism or prescription. While these studies have raised speakers' and writers' awareness of the issue, they have not forged a consensus about appropriate usage. Instead they have given the impression that the problem is irresolvable and is due to a flaw in the English pronoun paradigm: the lack of a dedicated epicene pronoun. This study makes a fresh start by examining, for the first time, the linguistic facts that lie behind the use of these pronouns. First, an account of these previous studies reveals the assumption of the traditional understanding of pronouns as substitutes for full noun phrases. An examination of modern pronoun theory reveals, however, that such a view is linguistically implausible. Scholars from diverse schools of linguistics coincide in concluding that anaphoric pronouns are more dynamic elements, with complex semantic properties. A study of usage in television talk shows examines this semantics in epicene contexts. It found that speakers use different pronouns to indicate particular referential perspectives, signaling sex bias, number, and, degree of individuation imputed to a referent. In terms of usage, the perceived need for a single epicene pronoun is an artifact of tacit assumption of a simplistic theory of pronouns and agreement.

Publication Year: 1997
Publisher: Garland Publishers
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): Sociolinguistics
Syntax
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0815325541
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 260
Prices: $66