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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.


Book Information

   
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Title: Fundamentals of Diachronic Linguistics
Written By: Göran Hammarström
Series Title: Linguistics Edition 84
Description:

The author advocates a basically new approach to language change.

A change begins when a speaker says something new choosing between
several possibilities following nothing more complicated than the principle
variatio delectat. If other speakers like the new sound or expression, it may
become a language innovation. Since it is first used by a group of speakers,
it has distinct sociolectal value.

In order to communicate messages the old and the new sound or expression
function equally well. Traditionally linguists have generally tried to find some
weak point which is the cause of the language change. They have tried to
find causal explanations where there are none.

Language is a branch of human culture. Its changes can no more be
explained than changes in literature, music, visual arts or the length of
women’s skirts. The innovator may choose the new sound or expression
because of similarity with some existing feature of the language. The author
calls this assumed process a prompt, which is similar to a cause but is not
one.

The notions of information value and redundancy, borrowed from information
theory, can elucidate some aspects of language change.

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9783862882359
Pages: 73
Prices: Europe EURO 46.80