"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.
Coherence relations play a crucial role in text understanding. This has
long been recognized in both text linguistics and discourse processing. The
experimental research reported in this dissertation focuses on the
cognitive processes and representations involved in the understanding of
causal coherence relation in non-narrative text.
The research confirms the basic claim in text linguistic theories that
causal coherence relations are part of the meaning representation readers
construct on the basis of the text. More specifically, the research shows
that causal coherence relations are represented at the level of the
situation model. Three major results contribute to this conclusion. First,
the presence of connectives influences an inferential process that is
involved in the construction of the situation model. Second, for explicit
causal relations (marked with a connective) a recognition experiment
provides evidence for a situational representation of causal relations, but
not for other levels of representation. Third, experimental results
indicate that readers’ knowledge of text structure enables them to form
text structural expectations that guide the interpretation of text in a
top-down manner. For these reasons, understanding causal coherence
relations can be characterized as a process in which the reader integrates
explicit text and background knowledge to form a situational representation
of the relation.
This dissertation provides insight in the psychological status of causal
coherence relations. The research combines ideas from text linguistics and
discourse processing. It should therefore be of interest to researchers
working in either of these fields.