"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.
Relative Clauses in Time and Space
A case study in the methods of diachronic typology
This book presents a comprehensive survey of historically attested relative clause constructions from a diachronic typological perspective. Systematic integration of historical data and a typological approach demonstrates how typology and historical linguistics can each benefit from attention to the other. The diachronic behaviour of relative clauses is mapped across a broad range of genetically and geographically diverse languages. Central to the discussion is the strength of evidence for what have previously been claimed to be ‘natural’ or even ‘universal’ pathways of change. While many features of relative clause constructions are found to be remarkably stable over long periods of time, it is shown that language contact seems to be the crucial factor that does trigger change when it occurs. These results point to the importance of incorporating the effects of language contact into models of language change rather than viewing contact situations as exceptional. The findings of this study have implications for the definition of relative clauses, their syntactic structures and the relationships between the different ‘subtypes’ of this construction, as well as offering new directions for the integration of typological and historical linguistic research.