"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 English Verb-Particle Construction and its History
The book traces the evolution of the English verb-particle construction (‘phrasal verb’) from Indo-European and Germanic up to the present. A contrastive survey of the basic semantic and syntactic characteristics of verb-particle constructions in the present-day Germanic languages shows that the English construction is structurally unremarkable and its analysis as a periphrastic word-formation is proposed.
From a cross-linguistic and comparative perspective the Old English prefix verbs are identified as preverbs and the shift towards postposition of the particles is connected to the development of more general patterns of word order. The interplay of phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic factors in the loss of the native prefixes in the history of English is investigated. In this context the question is discussed to what extent the older prefixes were replaced by particles and borrowed prefixes, how the characteristic etymological and semantic properties of the Modern English phrasal verbs can be explained and what role they play in the lexicon. The author argues that their common perception as particularly ‘English’, ‘colloquial’ and ‘informal’ has its origin in the eighteenth-century normative tradition.