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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

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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.


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Title: Ellipsis and wa-marking in Japanese Conversation
Written By: John Fry
Series Title: Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics
Description:

This book investigates the operation of two linguistic mechanisms, ellipsis and wa-marking, in a corpus of colloquial Japanese speech. Its data set is the CallHome Japanese (CHJ) corpus, a collection of transcripts and digitized speech data for 120 telephone conversations between native speakers of Japanese. To make the CHJ data useful for linguistic research, John Fry annotates the original transcripts with a comprehensive set of acoustic, phonetic, syntactic, and semantic tags.

John Fry demonstrates that Japanese conversation obeys certain principles of argument ellipsis that appear to be language universal: namely, the tendency to omit transitive and human subjects and the tendency to express no more than one argument per clause. He identifies a set of syntactic and semantic factors that correlate significantly with the ellipsis of grammatical particles following a noun phrase. These factors include the grammatical construction type (question, idiom), length of the NP, utterance length, proximity of the NP to the predicate, and the animacy and definiteness of the NP. The animacy and definiteness constrains are of particular interest because these too seem to reflect language-universal principles.

Analyzing the CHJ data further, Fry investigates the use and function of the topic-marking particle wa. His study identifies a set of semantic and prosodic properties that tend to distinguish wa from the subject-marking particle ga. This book shows that wa-phrases exhibit more prominent intonation, as measured by peak F0, than ga-phrases in the CHJ speech data, contradicting accounts which predict that ga-phrases, because they are associated with “new” information, should be more prominent.

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Syntax
Subject Language(s): Japanese
Language Family(ies): Japanese Family
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0415967643
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 208
Prices: $75.00