"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.
The contemporary discipline of biolinguistics is beginning to have the feel
of scientific inquiry. Biolinguistics---especially the work of Noam
Chomsky---suggests that the design of language may be "perfect": language
is an optimal solution to conditions of sound and meaning. What is the
scope of this inquiry? Which aspect of nature does this science
investigate? What is its relation to the rest of science? What notions of
language and mind are under investigation? This book is a study of such
foundational questions. Exploring Chomsky's claims, Nirmalangshu Mukherji
argues that the significance of biolinguistic inquiry extends beyond the
domain of language.
Biolinguistics is primarily concerned with grammars that represent just the
computational aspects of the mind/brain. This restriction to grammars,
Mukherji argues, opens the possibility that the computational system of
human language may be involved in each cognitive system that requires
similar computational resources. Deploying analytical argumentation and
empirical evidence, Mukherji suggests that a computational system of
language consisting of very specific principles and operations is likely to
be involved in each articulatory symbol system--such as music--that
manifests unboundedness. In that sense, the biolinguistics approach may
have identified, after thousands of years of inquiry, a specific structure
of the human mind.