"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 Motivated Syntax of Arbitrary Signs
Cognitive constraints on Spanish clitic clustering
Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 61
This detailed study challenges the claim that syntax is arbitrary and
autonomous, as well as the assumption that Spanish clitic clusters
constitute grammaticalized units. Diverse-- apparently unrelated--
restrictions on clitic clustering in both simplex VP's and Accusative cum
Infinitive structures are shown to be cognitively motivated, given the
meaning of the individual clitics, and the compositional/interpretative
routines those meanings motivate. The analysis accounts, in coherent and
principled fashion, for the absolute non-occurrence of some clusters, and
the interpretation-dependent acceptability of all remaining clitic
combinations: cluster acceptability depends on the ease with which the
given clitic combination can be processed to yield a congruent message;
there is no point in combining clitics whose meanings preclude speedy
processing of the cluster. The monograph goes beyond previous work on
Spanish clitics in its wealth of data, the range of syntactic phenomena
discussed, and its analytic scope.