"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.
Authority and Identity
A Sociolinguistic History of Europe before the Modern Age
Language use is a principal means by which we distinguish ourselves and our
group from others. In the modern age, language use often divides ethnic
groups and nations: Germans are Germans because they speak German;
French citizens must accept that Standard French is a central part of their
national identity. Sociologists of language consider this equation of personal
language use and national identity to be a product of the nationalism which
developed in Europe from the eighteenth century on.
Authority and Identity: A Sociolinguistic History of Europe before the Modern
Age is the first attempt to take the theoretical and methodological insights of
macrosociolinguistics and apply them to the history of Europe before 1500. It
analyses the recurrent tensions felt since writing technology first began to be
used in Europe some 3,500 years ago between centrifugal and centripetal
forces, demonstrating how similar linguistic ecologies can produce different
kinds of linguistic authority and identity in individuals and groups due to
differing sociolinguistic conditions.