"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.
Linguistic Nativism and the Poverty of the Stimulus
"Linguistic Nativism and the Poverty of the Stimulus" explores the question
of how children acquire knowledge of their native language, one of the most
difficult and long-standing problems in cognitive science. For the past
fifty years linguistics and psychology have been dominated by the view that
the linguistic input which children receive is insufficient to explain the
rich and rapid development of their knowledge of their first language(s)
through general learning mechanisms. This view holds that humans have a
specialized, innate ability to learn language, which is species-specific.
Clark and Lappin critically examine different forms of the argument from
the poverty of the stimulus (APS) in connection with the architecture of
the mind, the evolution of language, and formal models of learning. With
cogent explanations of machine learning and computational complexity in
learning, The book argues that if we make realistic assumptions about the
way in which children actually learn their native language, then it is
possible to explain this process largely through general methods of
induction that extract structure and patterns from data across many
different kinds of information. The authors, one a computational linguist
and the other an expert in computational learning theory, have collaborated
to produce a work that will surely spark further debate and research.