"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.
As James McGilvray remarks in his introduction to this new edition of Cartesian Linguistics, the book was largely ignored and indeed denounced when first published in 1966. One likely reason why the first edition was ignored is that it contained many untranslated quotations from French and German authors. For this new edition these passages have all been translated into English. Perhaps the main reason why it was denounced is that Cartesian Linguistics contains, implicitly if not explicitly, trenchant criticisms of empiricist theories about linguistics and the mind. Due largely to Chomsky's efforts, these are not so dominant now as they were when the first edition appeared in 1966, although they still command the attention of researchers and the public imagination.
In his introduction Professor McGilvray focuses on the contrast between rationalist and empiricist approaches to language and the mind. He discusses at length the two most distinctive features of what he calls Chomsky's "rationalist-romantic" approach: its emphasis on linguistic creativity and its insistence that this creativity can be explained only by assuming that humans are endowed with innate concepts and mental faculties. In the course of the discussion he connects Chomsky's early treatment of these themes with his later development of them, and with Chomsky' s well-known views on politics and education. The editor has also updated the Notes and Bibliography.