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"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: Markedness and Language Change
Subtitle: The Romani Sample
Written By: Viktor Elšík
Yaron Matras
URL: http://www.degruyter.de/rs/bookSingle.cfm?id=IS-3110184524-1&l=E
Series Title: Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 32

'Markedness' is a central notion in linguistic theory. This book is the
first to provide a comprehensive survey of markedness relations across
various grammatical categories, in a sample of closely-related speech
varieties. It is based on a sample of over 100 dialects of Romani,
collected and processed via the Romani Morpho-Syntax (RMS) Database - a
comparative grammatical outline in electronic form, constructed by the
authors between 2000-2004. Romani dialects provide an exciting sample of
language change phenomena: they are oral languages, which have been
separated and dispersed from some six centuries, and are strongly shaped by
the influence of diverse contact languages.

The book takes a typological approach to markedness, viewing it as a
hierarchy among values that is conditioned by conceptual and cognitive
universals. But it introduces a functional-pragmatic notion of markedness,
as a grammaticalised strategy employed in order to priositise information.
In what is referred to as 'dynamic', such prioritisation is influenced by
an interplay of factors: the values within a category and the conceptual
notions that they represent, the grammatical structure onto which the
category values are mapped, and the kind of strategy that is applied in
order to prioritise certain value. Consequently, the book contains a
thorough survey of some 20 categories (e.g Person, Number, Gender, and so
on) and their formal representation in various grammatical structures
across the sample. The various accepted criteria for markedness (e.g.
Complexity, Differentiation, Erosion, and so on) are examined
systematically in relation to the values of each and every category, for
each relevant structure. The outcome is a novel picture of how different
markedness criteria may cluster for certain categories, giving a concrete
reality to the hitherto rather vague notion of markedness. Borrowing and
its relation to markedness is also examined, offering new insights into the
motivations behind contact-induced change.

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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): Applied Linguistics
General Linguistics
Language Change
Subject Language(s): None
Language Family(ies): Romani
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.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110184525
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 475
Prices: Europe EURO 98.00