"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.
The Role and Representation of Minimal Contrast and the Phonetics-Phonology Interaction
This study investigates the role of minimal contrast in phonetics and
phonology. Two sounds are minimally contrastive when they differ in just
one property. The main findings are that (i) minimal contrast can influence
phonetic effects and (ii) phonological processes may single out minimally
contrastive elements. An experiment tests the influence of minimal length
contrast on the phonetic voicing effect, a pattern by which vowels are
longer before voiced than before voiceless obstruents, in Lithuanian. In
Lithuanian, only high and low vowels are minimally contrastive for length.
The results indicate the voicing effect is more limited for those vowels
that are minimally contrastive for length, showing a phonetic pattern
sensitive to minimal contrast. Therefore, it is argued that the
phonological representation must include information about minimal
contrast. Minimal contrast is formalized with a contrast-coindexing
function, which applies to minimally contrastive segments capable of
distinguishing pairs of words.
Contrast-coindexing predicts that minimal contrast might also be active in
the phonology. Evidence for this comes from vowel height harmony in Lena
Asturian, where only vowels minimally contrastive for height can trigger
harmony. The typology of vowel harmony from several varieties related to
Lena further supports the active role of minimal contrast.