"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 book focuses on the syntactic behavior of argument noun phrases depending on their discourse status. The main language of consideration is German, but it is shown that the observations can be carried over to other languages. The claim is that discourse-new arguments remain inside the VP where they are base generated. The hierarchy of argument projection is claimed to be fix within and across languages. With the major attention to direct objects it is then argued that discourse-old, here called topical noun phrases undergo raising to agreement projections. This movement can be realized differently: scrambling, object agreement, clitic-doubling, differences in morphological case and stress pattern turn out to be analyzable as one underlying phenomenon. It is furthermore shown that many so-called subject:object asymmetries boil down to topic:non-topic differences, for example with respect to extraction. Thus, irrespectively of the argumental status discourse-new constituents do not act as barriers whereas topical arguments create (weak) islands.