"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.
The book offers a comprehensive study of the different forms of subject-verb and subject-auxiliary-inversion in Modern English declarative sentences. It treats inversion as a speaker-based decision for reordering within a fairly rigid word order system and identifies the meaning of the construction in terms of point of view and speaker subjectivity. This semantic claim is tested against the occurrence, as well as the absence, of the different forms of inversion in natural discourse. The analysis of the pragmatics and discourse function of inversion is based on the LOB and the Brown corpus and takes into account various textual relations: British and American English, written mode, style, text type, genre. The results suggest a strong affinity with the greater or lesser subjectivity of a text: the construction is a marker of interpersonal meaning. Provided the context is one of relative unexpectedness, it additionally becomes a discourse marker, which points to the limited value of quantitative corpus data in functional syntax.