"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 central concern in this book is the relationship between language and
group identity, a relationship that is thrown into greatest relief in
‘minority’ settings. Since much of the current interest in minority
languages revolves around issues of identity politics, language rights and
the plight of ‘endangered’ languages, one aim of the book is to summarise
and analyse these and other pivotal themes. Furthermore, since the
uniqueness of every language-contact situation does not rest upon unique
elements or features – but, rather, upon the particular weightings and
combinations of features that recur across settings – the second aim here
is to provide a general descriptive framework within which a wide range of
contact settings may be more easily understood. The book thus begins with a
discussion of such matters as language decline, maintenance and revival,
the dynamics of minority languages, and the ecology of language. It then
offers a typological framework that draws and expands upon previous
categorising efforts. Finally, the book presents four case studies that are
both intrinsically interesting and – more importantly – provide specific
illustrations of the generalities discussed earlier.