"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.
Does a word mean what it says? Sometimes - but not always. Everyone thinks
that meaning is contained within words - like sardines in a tin, or milk in
a bottle. After all, words are nice stable things that you can look up in a
dictionary aren't they? But dictionaries only take us so far… If you
eavesdropped on a teenage conversation, rushing to a dictionary - with its
definitions frozen in time - wouldn't help much. Who's using a word and to
whom, in what context, for what purpose - all these influence the
meaning of the language we use. The word's origins and history (its
'genetics') also help. Try teaching yourself another language from a
phrasebook and you'll soon learn that you can be correct, in the formal
sense, but still way behind the times in reality. In this book Wajnryb
considers these and other questions to explore how and why our language
works the way it does.