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"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



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.


Book Information

   
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Title: True to Form
Subtitle: Rising and Falling Declaratives as Questions in English
Written By: Christine Gunlogson
Series Title: Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics
Description:

This book is concerned with the meaning and use of two kinds of declarative
sentences:

1) It's raining?
2) It's raining.

The difference between (1) and (2) is intonational: (1) has a final
rise--indicated by the question mark--while (2) ends with a fall.

Christine Gunlogson's central claim is that the meaning and use of both
kinds of sentences must be understood in terms of the meaning of their
defining formal elements, namely declarative sentence type and rising
versus falling intonation. Gunlogson supports that claim through an
investigation of the use of declaratives as questions. On one hand,
Gunlogson demonstrates that rising and falling declaratives share an aspect
of conventional meaning attributable to their declarative form,
distinguishing them both from the corresponding polar interrogative (Is it
raining?) and constraining their use as questions. On the other hand, since
(1) and (2) constitute a minimal pair, differing only in intonation,
systematic differences in character and function between them--in
particular, the relative "naturalness" of (1) as a question compared to (2)
--must be located in the contrast between the fall and the rise.

To account for these two sets of differences, Gunlogson gives a
compositional account of rising and falling declaratives under which
declarative form expresses commitment to the propositional content of the
declarative. Rising versus falling intonation on declaratives is
responsible for attribution of the commitment to the Addressee versus the
Speaker, respectively. The result is an inherent contextual "bias"
associated with declaratives, which constitutes the crucial point of
difference with interrogatives. The compositional analysis is implemented
in the framework of context update semantics (Heim 1982 and others), using
an articulated version of the Common Ground (Stalnaker 1978) that
distinguishes the commitments of the individual discourse participants.

Restrictions on the use of declaratives as questions, as well as
differences between rising and falling declaratives as questions, are shown
to follow from this account. Gunlogson argues that neither rising nor
falling declaratives are inherently questioning--rather, the questioning
function of declaratives arises through the interaction of sentence type,
intonation, and context.

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
Semantics
Syntax
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0415967813
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 128
Prices: U.S. $ 65