"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.
Quantitative Approaches to Linguistic Diversity
Commemorating the centenary of the birth of Morris Swadesh
Quantitative methods in linguistics, which the protean American structuralist linguist Morris Swadesh introduced in the 1950s, have become increasingly popular and have opened the world of languages to interdisciplinary approaches. The papers collected here are the work not only of descriptive and historical linguists, but also statisticians, physicists and computer scientists. They demonstrate the application of quantitative methods to the elucidation of linguistic prehistory on an unprecedented world-wide scale, providing cutting edge insights into issues of the linguistic correlates of subsistence strategies, rates of birth and extinction of languages, lexical borrowability, the identification of language family homelands, the assessment of genealogical relationships, and the development of new phylogenetic methods appropriate for linguistic data.
Originally published in Diachronica 27:2 (2010).