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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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

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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

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New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.

Book Information


Title: Catching Language
Subtitle: The Standing Challenge of Grammar Writing
Edited By: Felix K. Ameka
Alan Dench
Nicholas Evans
URL: http://www.degruyter.de/rs/bookSingle.cfm?id=IS-9783110186031-1&l=E
Series Title: Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs 167

Descriptive grammars are our main vehicle for documenting and analysing the
linguistic structure of the world's 6,000 languages. They bring together,
in one place, a coherent treatment of how the whole language works, and
therefore form the primary source of information on a given language,
consulted by a wide range of users: areal specialists, typologists,
theoreticians of any part of language (syntax, morphology, phonology,
historical linguistics etc.), and members of the speech communities
concerned. The writing of a descriptive grammar is a major intellectual
challenge, that calls on the grammarian to balance a respect for the
language's distinctive genius with an awareness of how other languages
work, to combine rigour with readability, to depict structural regularities
while respecting a corpus of real material, and to represent something of
the native speaker's competence while recognising the variation inherent in
any speech community.

Despite a recent surge of awareness of the need to document little-known
languages, there is no book that focusses on the manifold issues that face
the author of a descriptive grammar. This volume brings together
contributors who approach the problem from a range of angles. Most have
written descriptive grammars themselves, but others represent different
types of readers. Among the topics they address are: overall issues of
grammar design, the complementary roles of outsider and native speaker
grammarians, the balance between grammar and lexicon, cross-linguistic
comparability, the role of explanation in grammatical description, the
interplay of theory and a range of fieldwork methods in language
description, the challenges of describing languages in their cultural and
historical context, and the tensions between linguistic particularity,
established practice of particular schools of linguistic description and
the need for a universally commensurable analytic framework.

This book will renew the field of grammaticography, addressing a multiple
readership of descriptive linguists, typologists, and formal linguists, by
bringing together a range of distinguished practitioners from around the
world to address these questions.

ISBN 3-11-018603-9
ISBN-13: 978-3-11-018603-1

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110186039
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 664
Prices: Europe EURO 98.00
U.S. $ 132.30