"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.
Language and German Disunity
A Sociolinguistic History of East and West in Germany, 1945-2000
This book investigates the history of national disunity in Germany since the end of the Second World War from a linguistic perspective: what was the role of language in the ideological conflicts of the Cold War and in the difficult process of rebuilding the German nation after 1990?
In the first part of the book, Patrick Stevenson explores the ways in which the idea of 'the national language' contributed to the political tensions between the two German states and to the different social experiences of their citizens. He begins by showing how the modern linguistic conflict between east and west in Germany has its roots in a long tradition of debates on the relationship between language and national identity. He then describes the use of linguistic strategies to reinforce the development of a socialist state in the GDR and argues that they ultimately contributed to its demise.
The second part considers the social and linguistic consequences of unification. The author discusses the challenges imposed on east Germans by the sudden formation of a single 'speech community' and examines how conflicting representations of easterners and westerners - for example, in personal interactions, the media, and advertising - have hindered progress towards national unity.
German division and re-unification were crucial to the development of Europe in the second half of the twentieth century. This fascinating account of the relationship between language and social conflict in Germany throws new light on these events and raises important questions for the study of divided speech communities elsewhere. The book will interest sociolinguists, historians, sociologists, and political scientists.