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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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

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New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.

Book Information

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Title: The Metre of Beowulf
Written By: Michael G Getty
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics (TiEL) 36

This book presents a new treatment of metre of Beowulf, an Old English epic poem of uncertain date and origin which is nonetheless considered one of the gems of Germanic Alliterative Verse. Grounded in the idea of constraint interaction and conflict associated Optimality Theory, this book presents the case that the alliterative lines of Beowulf are based on an ideal structure consisting of trochaic metrical feet organized into an iteratively binary, strong-weak structure. Around this ideal hovers an apparently wild range of divergent structures which have proven difficult to accommodate under a unified approach. In fact, the considerable variation in Beowulf can be understood as reflecting an inherently simple system of accommodating the diverse phonological shapes of words within the Old English poetic lexicon. Crucially, this accommodation takes place against a background in which a number of independent and often conflicting conditions on metrical and prosodic form are played out.

To a greater extent than previous approaches, this book establishes a line of inquiry into the metre of Beowulf that is compatible with the burgeoning fields of generative metrics and phonology. One important fallout of this aim is the proposal to do away with the notion of 'metrical types,' the dominant thread in research on Old English metre since the late nineteenth century. Crucially, both of these moves allow for novel and compelling explanations for a range of metrical peculiarities of Beowulf, from Kuhn's Laws to Kaluza's Law. Moreover, the analysis points toward data on patterns which have, to date, escaped scholars' notice, while at the same time showing surprising consistencies between the metre of Beowulf and other, unrelated metrical traditions.

From the contents:

I Introduction
II The stress phonology of Old English
III Metrical structure at the foot level: Part I
IV Metrical structure at the foot level: Part II
V Metrical structure at the level of the half-line and long-line
VI Conclusion

Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English, Old
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110171058
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: viii, 280
Prices: Euro 88.00 / sFr 141,- / approx. US$ 88.