"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.
Constraints on Null Subjects in Bislama (Vanuatu): Social and linguistic factors
How can developments in a contact language inform the inquiry into the structural nature of language? How do they help us better understand the nature of language change and the processes of grammaticisation? Using data from everyday conversations in Bislama (the national language of Vanuatu), this book focuses on one variable, the alternation between overt pronominal and phonetically null subjects. It shows how an emergent system of subject-verb agreement in Bislama interacts with functional constraints on the interpretability of a subject; this interaction accounts for much of the alternation between the two forms of subject. The rich array of social functions that Bislama serves in the communities studied is examined in some detail, and yet it is shown that as Bislama becomes increasingly elaborate morphosyntactically, this kind of structural innovation takes place largely independently of social factors. By adopting the methods of sociolinguistics grounded in participant observation, and being grounded in theoretical treatments of subject agreement, this volume shows how the study of change in a contact language helps to bridge issues in different subfields of linguistics.