"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.
Gradient acceptability at the grammar-pragmatics interface: a study of the constraints on middle formation in English
It is not always clear what counts as a good middle sentence in English.
Whereas examples like 'This book reads well' or 'Roald Dahl translates easily'
seem to be readily acceptable, the same cannot be said of others like 'This
book reads' or 'French acquires easily'. This book offers a comprehensive
account of the English middle construction and the restrictions on its
Based on a careful analysis of the semantic idiosyncrasy and the
grammatical properties of the construction, the author investigates the
manner in which middles are spreading and shows that not all new middles
exhibit the same degree of acceptability. A number of constraints are
identified as being responsible for this gradience. The extent to which each of
them affects middle acceptability and the way in which they interact with one
another is investigated, leading to an amendment of some of the existing
proposals regarding the issue of what a middle sentence can or cannot be.
The analysis relies on a substantial amount of data obtained by eliciting
acceptability judgements from native speakers, on a theory of gradient
acceptability, and on a consideration of aspects of language use and
sentence-processing, and not of language-internal aspects only.