"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.
In recent years, there has been a new interest in evaluating ‘complex’
structures in languages. The implications of such studies are varied, e.g.,
the distinction between supposedly more complex and less complex languages,
how complexity relates to human knowledge of language, and the role of the
reduction or increase of complexity in language change and creolization.
This book focuses on the latter issue, but the conclusions presented here
hold of typological ‘complexity’ in general. The chapters in this book show
that the notion of complexity as conceived of in linguistics mainly centres
on the outer manifestations of language (e.g., numbers of affixes). This
exercise is useful in establishing the patterning of languages in terms of
their degrees of analyticity or synthesis, but it fails to address the
properties of the inner rules of these grammars, and how these relate to
the computational system that governs the human language capacity. Put
simply, issues of complexity should not be equated with the complexity
observed in surface patterns of grammars alone.