"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.
Jim Miller and Regina Weinert investigate syntactic structure and the
organization of discourse in spontaneous spoken language. Using data from
English, German, and Russian, they develop a systematic analysis of spoken
English and highlight properties that hold across languages.
The authors argue that the differences in syntax and the construction of
discourse between spontaneous speech and written language bear on various
areas of linguistic theory, apart from having obvious implications for
syntactic analysis. In particular, they bear on typology, Chomskyan
theories of first language acquisition, and the perennial problem of
language in education. In current typological practice written and
spontaneous spoken texts are often compared; the authors show convincingly
that typological research should compare like with like. The consequences
for Chomskyan, and indeed all theories of first language acquisition flow
from the central fact that children first learn spoken langauge before they
are taught written language.