"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.
Elly van Gelderen provides examples of linguistic cycles from a number of
languages and language families, along with an account of the linguistic
cycle in terms of minimalist economy principles. A cycle involves
grammaticalization from lexical to functional category followed by renewal.
Some well-known cycles involve negatives, where full negative phrases are
reanalyzed as words and affixes and are then renewed by full phrases again.
Verbal agreement is another example: full pronouns are reanalyzed as
agreement markers and are renewed again. Each chapter provides data on a
separate cycle from a myriad of languages. Van Gelderen argues that the
cross-linguistic similarities can be seen as Economy Principles present in
the initial cognitive system or Universal Grammar. She further claims that
some of the cycles can be used to classify a language as analytic or
synthetic, and she provides insight into the shape of the earliest human
language and how it evolved.