"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 it-Cleft
A Constructional Account and a Diachronic Investigation
This book examines the structure and function of the English it-cleft configuration from within the framework of construction grammar. It defends a straightforward extraposition-from-NP analysis (on which the cleft clause is a restrictive relative, modifying the initial it) and claims that all types of it-cleft involve nominal predication. Support for this analysis comes from three main areas: (a) the central role of definiteness in the creation of specificational meaning, (b) the existence and makeup of predicational (and proverbial) it-clefts, and (c) the early, historical it-cleft data. In addition, the book contains a sizeable diachronic component, drawing data from the Penn Parsed Corpora of Historical English and from the International Corpus of English - Great Britain. This investigation informs and advances what is an otherwise simple account of the English it-cleft, explaining how and why the configuration has developed an assortment of peculiar, construction-specific properties over time.