"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.
‘Mass terms’ like water, rice and traffic, have proved very difficult to
accommodate in any theory of meaning since, unlike count nouns such as
house or dog, they cannot be treated as denoting sets of individuals. In
this study, motivated by the need to design a computer program for
understanding natural language utterances containing mass terms, Harry Bunt
provides a thorough analysis of the problem and offers an original and
detailed solution. An extension of classical set theory, Ensemble Theory,
is defined. This provides the formal basis of a framework for the analysis
of natural language meaning which Dr. Bunt calls two-level model-theoretic
semantics. The validity of the framework is convincingly demonstrated by
the detailed analysis of a fragment of English including sentences with
quantified and modified mass terms. This significant advance in our
understanding of the formal syntactic and semantic properties of mass terms
will be of interest not only to linguists and logicians, but also to all
those concerned with the processing of natural language.