"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.
Variation and Gradience in Phonetics and Phonology
This book provides an overview of current issues in variation and gradience
in phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics. It contributes to the growing
interest in gradience and variation in theoretical phonology by combing
research on the factors underlying variability and systematic quantitative
results with theoretical phonological considerations. Variation is inherent
to language, and one of the aims of phonological theory is to describe and
explain the mechanisms underlying variation at every level of phonological
representation. Variation below the segment concerns articulatory, acoustic
and perceptual cues that contribute to the formation of natural classes of
sounds. At the segmental level there are grammatical differences in the
production and perception of contextual variation of segments and in the
syntagmatic constraints on the combination of segments. At the
suprasegmental level the mapping of tones to grammatical functions and vice
versa is discussed. Further aspects addressed in this book are factors
outside of language: Variation that arises as a result of a particular
dialect or of belonging to a certain age group, or variation that is the
consequence of language change.
Gradience and variation have always been a central issue in phonetic and
sociolinguistic research. Gradience introduces variation in phonology as
well. If a phonetic entity can be pronounced in different ways, depending
on the environment, prosodic factors or dialectal influences, this
‘gradience’ may introduce ‘variation’, which we understand as a stable
state of grammar.