"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.
Joseph Priestley, Grammarian
Late Modern English normativism and usage in a sociohistorical context
The eighteenth century was a key period in the establishment of standard
modern English. This period, referred to as the Late Modern English period,
witnessed the publication of an unprecedented number of normative works
aiming to define ‘correct’ English. Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) is best
known as a scientist and theologian, but his Rudiments of English Grammar,
first published in 1761 is an important work in the wave of English normative
grammars of the late eighteenth century. Using a multi-disciplinary approach,
this book investigates Priestley’s role as a codifier of the English language.
The author demonstrates that the influence of Priestley’s grammar on the
language has been underestimated and merits re-evaluation. Priestley’s ideas
on grammar are related to his broader philosophical thinking. It is shown that,
although Priestley is usually seen as one of the few descriptive grammarians
of the period, his grammar also contains decidedly prescriptive elements, and
that his adherence to the force of usage should be qualified. In addition,
Priestley’s usage is compared to the rules in his grammar using a corpus of
Priestley’s personal correspondence, created for this study. This book is of
interest to sociohistorical linguists studying Late Modern English and
historical linguists in general, as well as to social historians and anyone
interested in Joseph Priestley or the Late Modern period in England.