"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.
Communicative Organization in Natural Language: The semantic-communicative structure of sentences
The book defines the concept of Semantic-Communicative Structure [= Sem-CommS]-a formal object that is imposed on the starting Semantic Structure [= SemS] of a sentence (under text synthesis) in order to turn the selected meaning into a linguistic message. The Sem-CommS is a system of eight logically independent oppositions: 1. Thematicity (Rheme vs. Theme), 2. Givenness (Given vs. Old), 3. Focalization (Focalized vs. Non-Focalized), 4. Perspective (Foregrounded vs. Backgrounded), 5. Emphasis (Emphasized vs. Non-Emphasized), 6. Presupposedness (Presupposed vs. Non-Presupposed), 7. Unitariness (Unitary vs. Articulated), 8. Locutionality (Communicated vs. Signaled). The values of these oppositions mark particular subnetworks of the starting SemS and thus allow for the distinction between sentences such as (a) A man killed a dog vs. The dog was killed by a man, (b) John washed the window vs. It was John who washed the window or (c) It hurts! vs. Ouch! The proposed Sem-Comm-oppositions are conceived as an attempt at sharpening the well-known notions of Topic ~ Comment, Focus, etc. Possible linguistic strategies for expressing the values of the Sem-Comm-oppositions in different languages are discussed at some length, with linguistic illustrations.