"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.
How many meanings does a word have and how do speakers agree in them in all possible discourse situations? This question addresses the problem of coping with the distinction between lexical vagueness and polysemy and with the creation of new meanings. The complexity of this objective becomes most obvious in lexicography and computational linguistics. The author deals with this question as a problem of reference, of how speakers refer consistently to their environment by means of mental models. Criteria for the representation of this cognitive phenomenon are drawn from a discussion of the philosophy of language and mind as well as cognitive psychology and experimental psycholinguistics. The selected method is set up within the framework of cognitive linguistics along with an elaboration of a theory of mental categorization. Theory and method join in a unification-based formalism to represent how polysemy develops metonymically within discourse domains and metaphorically across discourse domains. By resolving the count-mass metonymy with a fragment of grammatical default rules in a German-English machine translation system the unification-based representation is validated.