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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.


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Title: Finding Focus
Subtitle: A study of the historical development of focus in English
Written By: Erwin R. Komen
URL: http://www.lotpublications.nl/index3.html
Series Title: LOT dissertation Series
Description:

This study reveals how two important focus articulations change over time in written English. Constituent focus, often accompanied by contrast, makes use of the clause-initial position in the oldest stages of English, but as this position comes to be used for the grammatical subject over time, the it-cleft construction is increasingly used for the expression of contrastive focus. There is no one-to-one mapping between contrastive focus and the it-cleft: the Old English it-cleft, on a par with modern Scandinavian counterparts, mostly functions as a text-organization device, and a synchronic study of Chechen shows that it uses the it-cleft exclusively for text-organization, while focus is indicated by word order and wh-clefts. Presentational focus, which is used where the main objective of a sentence is the introduction of a new participant, prefers to have this participant after the finite verb, but the strategy to achieve this goal changes over time: the word order flexibility of Old English allows new major participants to appear as subjects after the finite verb, but the growing demand of having grammatical subjects appear before the finite verb results in the use of an expletive strategy in late Modern English: the expletive is before the finite verb, while the logical subject follows it. The study on the change in focus realizations makes heavy use of texts that are enriched with referential information: the referential status of each noun phrase, and a pointer to an antecedent if a noun phrase is anaphoric. The success in using this information in order to determine focus domains leads to an important hypothesis, which says that focus is compositional in nature: focus articulations can be derived by combining syntactic and referential information. Further work should explore this claim in more detail.

Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Syntax
Subject Language(s): English
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9789460931123
Prices: Europe EURO 27.84