"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.
Languages change and they keep changing as a result of communicative interactions and practices in the context of communities of language users. The articles in this volume showcase a range of such communities and their practices as loci of language change in the history of English. The notion of communities of practice takes its starting point in the work of Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger and refers to groups of people defined both through their membership in a community and through their shared practices. Three types of communities are particularly highlighted: networks of letter writers; groups of scribes and printers; and other groups of professionals, in particular administrators and scientists. In these diverse contexts in England, Scotland, the United States and South Africa, language change is not seen as an abstract process but as a response to the communicative needs and practices of groups of people engaged in interaction.