"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.
'Markedness' refers to the tendency of languages to show a preference for
particular structures or sounds. This bias towards 'marked' elements is
consistent within and across languages, and tells us a great deal about
what languages can and cannot do. This pioneering study presents a
groundbreaking theory of markedness in phonology. De Lacy argues that
markedness is part of our linguistic competence, and is determined by three
conflicting mechanisms in the brain:
(a) pressure to preserve marked sounds ('preservation'),
(b) pressure to turn marked sounds into unmarked sounds ('reduction'), and
(c) a mechanism allowing the distinction between marked and unmarked sounds
to be collapsed ('conflation').
He shows that due to these mechanisms, markedness occurs only when
preservation is irrelevant. Drawing on examples of phenomena such as
epenthesis, neutralization, assimilation, vowel reduction and
sonority-driven stress, Markedness offers an important new insight into
this essential concept in the understanding of human language.