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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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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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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Academic Paper


Title: Patrick Stevenson & John Theobald (eds.), Relocating Germanness: Discursive disunity in unified Germany.
Author: Ingrid Piller
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.languageonthemove.com/ingrid-piller
Institution: Macquarie University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: German
Abstract: Stevenson's & Theobald's volume, the outcome of a 1998 Southampton conference entitled Disunification: Competing constructions of contemporary Germany, is a rich and diverse collection of current sociolinguistic and discourse-analytic research into the German language. It aims to explore Germany's continued cultural and linguistic East/West divide, a decade after unification. The volume's 13 contributions are divided into two parts: critical discourse-analytic approaches to public discourses, and micro-analytic approaches to private or semi-public speech genres and communicative practices. The contributions in the first part are presented as "part of the analytical creation of … discourses" which seek to "punctur[e] the dominant western story, and by this very act, creating space for the expression of other memories, experiences and historiographies, and the emergence of alternative discourses" (p. 8). In contrast, the chapters in the second part have the more descriptive aim of documenting linguistic difference in East and West. The editors contend that "profound differences in communicative practices and behaviours between east and west Germans" exist, or are perceived to exist, and that these differences "constitute a significant barrier to the project of bringing a united … Germany into existence".

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This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 31, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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