"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.
In "Arguments as Relations", John Bowers proposes a radically new approach
to argument structure that has the potential to unify data from a wide
range of different language types in terms of a simple and universal
syntactic structure. In many ways, Bowers's theory is the natural extension
of three leading ideas in the literature: the minimalist approach to Case
theory (particularly Chomsky's idea that Case is assigned under the Agree
function relation); the idea of introducing arguments in specifiers of
functional categories rather than in projections of lexical categories; and
the neo-Davidsonian approach to argument structure represented in the work
of Parsons and others. Bowers pulls together these strands in the
literature and shapes them into a unified theory.
These ideas, together with certain basic assumptions--notably the idea that
the initial order of merge of the three basic argument categories of Agent,
Theme, and Affectee is just the opposite of what has been almost
universally assumed in the literature--lead Bowers to a fundamental
rethinking of argument structure. He proposes that every argument is merged
as the specifier of a particular type of light verb category and that these
functional argument categories merge in bottom-to-top fashion in accordance
with a fixed Universal Order of Merge (UOM). In the hierarchical structures
that result from these operations, Affectee arguments will be highest,
Theme arguments next highest, and Agent arguments lowest--exactly the
opposite of the usual assumption.