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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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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.


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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.


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Title: A Better Pencil
Subtitle: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution
Written By: Dennis Baron
Description:

Computers, now the writer's tool of choice, are still blamed by skeptics
for a variety of ills, from speeding writing up to the point of
recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing process, to
destroying the English language itself.

"A Better Pencil" puts our complex, still-evolving hate-love relationship
with computers and the internet into perspective, describing how the
digital evolution influences our reading and writing practices, and how the
latest technologies differ from what came before. The book explores our use
of computers as writing tools in light of the history of communication
technology, a history of how we love, fear, and actually use our writing
technologies--not just computers, but also typewriters, pencils, and clay
tablets. Dennis Baron shows that virtually all writing implements--and even
writing itself--were greeted at first with anxiety and outrage: the
printing press disrupted the "almost spiritual connection" between the
writer and the page; the typewriter was "impersonal and noisy" and would
"destroy the art of handwriting." Both pencils and computers were created
for tasks that had nothing to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by
woodworkers for marking up their boards, were quickly repurposed by writers
and artists. The computer crunched numbers, not words, until writers saw it
as the next writing machine. Baron also explores the new genres that the
computer has launched: email, the instant message, the web page, the blog,
social-networking pages like MySpace and Facebook, and communally-generated
texts like Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary, not to mention YouTube.

Here then is a fascinating history of our tangled dealings with a wide
range of writing instruments, from ancient papyrus to the modern laptop.
With dozens of illustrations and many colorful anecdotes, the book will
enthrall anyone interested in language, literacy, or writing.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Philosophy of Language
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.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0195388445
ISBN-13: 9780195388442
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 24.95