"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.
This book examines one of the allegedly unique features of human language:
structure sensitivity. Its point of departure is the distinction between
content and structural units, which are defined in psycholinguistic terms.
The focus of the book is on structural representations, in particular their
hierarchicalness and their branching direction. Structural representations
reach variable levels of activation and are therefore gradient in nature.
Their variable strength is claimed to account for numerous effects
including differences between individual analytical levels, differences
between languages as well as pathways of language acquisition and
breakdown. English is found to be consistent in its branching direction and
to have evolved its branching direction in line with the cross-level
harmony constraint. Structure sensitivity is argued to be highly variable
both within and across languages and consequently an unlikely candidate for
a defining property of human language.