"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.
The language of a speech community can only act as an identity marker for
all of its speakers if a standard is widely shared and if a minimal number
of language varieties are spoken. This book examines how one dialect came
to serve the whole of Iceland. The language community that we can
reconstruct for early Iceland should have led to the establishment and
maintenance of dialects. But this didn't happen. Iceland was instead
characterized by long-term linguistic homogeneity. Using the most recent
sociolinguistic theory, and drawing on history and archaeology, Stephen Pax
Leonard explores some of the reasons for the unusual development of the
Icelandic language, showing how the Icelandic identity developed through
the establishment of social structures and their literary culture. With its
rich literature, the language became the single most important factor for
the identity of the Icelanders. "Language, Society and Identity in early
Iceland" is a fascinating account of an under examined
historical-linguistic story that will spur further research and discussion
amongst researchers. In particular, it leaves a trail for those concerned
with language and identity in Iceland today, where there is for the first
time unequivocal evidence of sociolinguistic variation.