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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.


Book Information

   
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Title: Defective Paradigms
Subtitle: Missing Forms and What They Tell Us
Edited By: Matthew Baerman
Greville G. Corbett
Dunstan Brown
Series Title: Proceedings of the British Academy
Description:

An important design feature of language is the use of productive patterns
in inflection. In English, we have pairs such as 'enjoy' ~ 'enjoyed',
'agree' ~ 'agreed', and many others. On the basis of this productive
pattern, if we meet a new verb 'transduce' we know that there will be the
form 'transduced'. Even if the pattern is not fully regular, there will be
a form available, as in 'understand' ~ 'understood'. Surprisingly, this
principle is sometimes violated, a phenomenon known as defectiveness, which
means there is a gap in a word's set of forms: for example, given the verb
'forego', many if not most people are unwilling to produce a past tense.

Although such gaps have been known to us since the days of Classical
grammarians, they remain poorly understood. Defectiveness contradicts basic
assumptions about the way inflectional rules operate, because it seems to
require that speakers know that for certain words, not only should one not
employ the expected rule, one should not employ any rule at all. This is a
serious problem, since it is probably safe to say that all reigning models
of grammar were designed as if defectiveness did not exist, and would lose
a considerable amount of their elegance if it were properly factored in.

This volume addressed these issues from a number of analytical approaches -
historical, statistical and theoretical - and by using studies from a range
of languages.

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0197264603
ISBN-13: 9780197264607
Pages: 200
Prices: U.S. $ 75.00