"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 Beginnings of Standardization
Language and Culture in Fourteenth-Century England
Studies in English Medieval Language and Literature Vol. 15
Developing a written standard is one of the most fundamental institutional achievements of a society. On the threshold to the Modern Era the vernaculars massively gained ground in writing throughout Western Europe. They soon underwent regularization and eventually standardization. In England, however, the situation was quite different from that of the continent: well into the 14th century the literate space was filled mainly by Latin and French. For a long time Chaucer has been regarded as having brought about the 'victory' of English. But recent research calls for a broader perspective including the work of linguists as well as literary and cultural historians. Such a new perspective helps to assess that English was not reestablished by a poet hero and standardized by a king. Instead we need to consider that various forces were at work.
Ursula Schaefer: The Beginnings of Standardization: The Communicative Space in Fourteenth-Century England
Derek Pearsall: Before-Chaucer Evidences of an English Literary Vernacular with a Standardizing Tendency
Alastair Minnis: Standardizing Lay Culture: Secularity in French and English Literature of the Fourteenth Century
Julia Boffey: Forms of Standardization in Terms for Middle English Lyrics in the Fourteenth Century
David Trotter: Language Contact, Multilingualism, and the Evidence Problem
Annette Kehnel: Poets, Preachers and Friars Revisited: Fourteenth-Century Multilingual Franciscan Manuscripts
Terttu Nevalainen: Fourteenth-Century English in a Diachronic Perspective
Matti Rissanen: On the Development of Borrowed Connectives in Fourteenth-Century English: Evidence from Corpora
Donka Minkova: Randomness or Design in the Formation of a Standardized Phonemic Inventory
Robert P. Stockwell: The Status of Late Middle English Spellings as Early Evidence of the English Vowel Shift - Andrew James Johnston/Claudia Lange: The Beginnings of Standardization