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"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


Title: English Adjectives of Comparison
Subtitle: Lexical and Grammaticalized Uses
Written By: Tine Breban
URL: http://www.degruyter.de/cont/fb/sk/detailEn.cfm?id=IS-9783110205800-1
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL] 63

The book is concerned with a hitherto underresearched grammaticalization
process: the development from quality-attributing adjective to determiner
in the English noun phrase. It takes a bottom-up approach, based on
extensive synchronic and diachronic corpus studies of six English
adjectives of comparison: other, different, same, identical, similar and
comparable. Their functional diversity in current English is proposed to
constitute a case of layering, representing the original descriptive use,
which expresses how like/unlike each other entities are, and a range of
grammaticalized referential uses, which contribute to the identification
and/or quantification of the entities denoted by the NP. Diachronic and
comparative data material is invoked to verify and further develop the
grammaticalization hypothesis.

The development of adjectives of comparison involves several key concepts
identified in the literature. Crucially, it is described as a case of
textual intersubjectification driven by the optimalization of
recipient-design. The actual grammaticalization paths are diverse and are
characterized by lexical as well as structural persistence, i.e. the same
lexical meaning develops into different grammatical functions in different
syntagmatic configurations.

In order to define the NP as a locus of diachronic change, this study
offers a new angle on the description of adjectives and the modelling of NP
structure. It advocates the abandonment of the traditional class-based
model in favour of a radically functional one, in which functions are
defined in terms of prototypicality so as to allow for gradience between
and within them. The described grammaticalization processes involve
developments from prototypical lexical to grammatical reference-related use
within the adjectival category, which can be the starting point of further
gradual change to determiners. The traditional relation between classes and
positions is envisaged as a correspondence between functional and syntactic
zones. The change in form concomitant with grammaticalization in the NP is
argued to consist of the reconfiguration of structural combinatorics and
progressive leftward movement.

The book is of interest to linguistic researchers and graduate students in
linguistics who focus their attention on grammaticalization and
subjectification, the functional description of adjectives, questions of
deixis and theoretical issues relating to nominal reference.

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9783110216011
Pages: 395
Prices: Europe EURO 98.00
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9783110205800
Pages: 395
Prices: Europe EURO 98.00