"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.
Variability is characteristic of any living language. This volume
approaches the 'life cycle' of linguistic variability in English using data
sources that range from electronic corpora to the internet. In the spirit
of the 1968 Weinreich, Labov and Herzog classic, the fifteen contributions
divide into three sections, each highlighting different stages in the
dynamics of English across time and space. They show, first, how increase
in variability can be initiated by processes that give rise to new patterns
of discourse, which can ultimately crystallize into new grammatical
elements. The next phase is the spread of linguistic features and patterns
of discourse, both new and well established, through the social and
regional varieties of English. The final phase in this ebb and flow of
linguistic variability consists of processes promoting some variable
features over others across registers and regional and social varieties,
thus resulting in reduced variation and increased linguistic homogeneity.