"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.
It is widely accepted that English is the first truly global language and
lingua franca. Its dominance has even lead to its use and adaptation by
local communities for their own purposes and needs. One might see English
in this context as being simply a neutral, universal vehicle for the
expression of local thoughts and ideas. In fact, English words and phrases
have embedded in them a wealth of cultural baggage that is invisible to
most native speakers. Anna Wierzbicka, a distinguished linguist know for
her theories of semantics, has written the first book that connects the
English language with what she terms "Anglo" culture.
Wierzbicka points out the language and culture are not just interconnected,
but inseparable. This is evident to non-speakers trying to learn puzzling
English expressions. She uses original research to investigate the
"universe of meaning" within the English language (both grammar and
vocabulary) and places it in historical and geographical perspective. For
example, she looks at the history of the terms "right" and "wrong" and how
the influence of the Reformation "right" came to mean "correct." She
examines the ideas of "fairness" and "reasonableness" and shows that, far
from being cultural universals, they are in fact unique creations of modern
English countries like other English words and phrases. This engrossing and
fascinating work of scholarship should appeal not only to linguists and
others concerned with language and culture, but the large group of scholars
studying English and English as a second language.