"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.
This book presents a novel analysis of the word-order alternation of English transitive phrasal verbs (aka Particle Movement) from a cognitive-functional and psycholinguistic perspective. Its main objective, however, is a methodological one, namely to demonstrate the superiority of corpus-based, multifactorial and probabilistic approaches towards grammatical phenomena over traditional analyses based on acceptability judgements and minimal pair tests. The advantages resulting from the advocated multifactorial approach towards Particle Movement are: Particle Movement can be described at a previously unknown level of detail; all determinants ever proposed to govern the alternation can be integrated into a single hypothesis explaining the alternation; constructions can be compared to each other with respect to their degree of prototypicality and similarity; it is possible to actually predict with a high degree of accuracy which of the two word orders native speakers will subconsciously choose in the natural production of speech and text (thereby passing the most rigorous test conceivable); finally, competing hypotheses can be compared in terms of their predictive power.
Apart from these methodological points, the study also adresses the more theoretical and linguistic question of how to explain such results. It is argued that theories of language production resting on the notion of processing effort are, contrary to some contemporary analysts, not ideally suited to explain such phenomena and that interactive activation models of language production allow for a more elegant interpretation and implementation of the results.