"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 ba-construction is probably the best-known syntactic construction in
Modern Standard Chinese, but little has been done on the acquisition of it
by second language learners. This study fills this gap. The theoretical
framework is Liu's (1997) aspectual analysis of ba. The study is
experimental. The constraint on the ba-NP and the constraint on the ba-VP
were investigated. The subjects were 65 students learning Chinese in the
intensive Chinese program at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in
Monterey, California. They were in three proficiency groups. A group of 20
native speakers of Chinese also participated as a control group. The study
involved two experiments based on video clips: production and
grammaticality judgments. The subjects were asked to indicate their
confidence in their judgments. Results were that even though the learners
generally produced fewer ba-constructions than the native speakers, their
judgments of most of the sentences were as good as those of native
speakers, indicating that they had some good knowledge of the construction.
Moreover, learners with similar production patterns showed different
patterns in their grammaticality judgments, suggesting that the two kinds
of data complement each other in our understanding of language acquisition.
Results also show that the confidence dimension captured subtle differences
that would not have been captured by the judgments of grammaticality alone.
Production patterns used by learners to substitute for the ba-construction
and error patterns have also been identified. Finally, the variation among
native speakers in their judgments of the ba-construction calls for a more
systematic study of exactly how native speakers of Standard Chinese use the
ba-construction, especially those who have been exposed to other Chinese