"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.
Throughout human history, languages have been in competition with each
other. As the world becomes more globalized, this trend increases. It
affects the decision-making of those in positions of power and determines
macro language policies and planning. Often decisions about language (or
dialects or language variety) are related to usefulness - defined in terms
of their pragmatic and commercial currency or their value as symbols of
socio-cultural identity. Languages can be modes of entry into coveted
social hierarchies or strongholds of religious, historical, technological
and political power bases. Languages are seen now as commodities that carry
different values in an era of globalization.
This volume engages with language policies and positions in relation to the
roles and functions these languages adopt. It examines the 'value' of
languages, defined in terms of the power they have in the global
marketplace as much as within the complex matrices of the local
socio-politics. These valuations strongly underpin the various motivations
that influence policy-making decisions, and in turn, these motivations
create the tensions that characterize many language-related issues;
tensions that arise when languages become commodified.