"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.
There is little hope of reconstructing by means of comparative or typological studies a lingua adamica essentially different from present-day languages. The distant preverbal past is however still present in live speech. Phonetic, syntactic and semantic rule transgressions, far from being products of a deficient output, are governed by a universal iconic apparatus, a sort of 'anti-grammar' or 'proto-grammar' which enables the speaker and the poet to express preconscious and subconscious mental contents that could not be conveyed by means of the grammar of any language. Secondary messages, generated by the proto-grammar are integrated into the primary grammatical message. The two messages whose structural and semantic divergence represents a chronological distance of hundreds of thousands of years, constitute a dialectic unity which characterize natural languages. The evolutive approach offers a different, perhaps better understanding of questions related to dynamic synchrony, vocal and verbal style, poetic language, language change.
Chapters on: Diversity of the lexicon - Dual encoding: vocal style - Syntactic gesturing - Syntactic regressions - Prosodic expression of emotions - Poetry and vocal art - Situation and meaning - A hidden presence: verbal magic - Playing with language: joke and metaphor - Metaphor: a research instrument - Dynamics of poetic language - Semantic structure of possessive constructions - Semantic structure of punctuation marks - Why gestures? - Between acts and words - Language within language: dynamics, change and evolution.