Featured Linguist!

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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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.

Academic Paper

Title: Strategic Bivalency in Latin and Spanish in Early Modern Spain
Author: Kathryn A. Woolard
Institution: University of California, San Diego
Author: E. Nicholas Genovese
Institution: San Diego State University
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article examines a genre of literary texts in early modern Spain written to be readable in both Latin and Spanish. These texts provide explicit evidence of a phenomenon called “strategic bivalency.” They exemplify both the ideological erasure of language boundaries by experts and the purposeful mobilization of bivalent elements that belong simultaneously to two languages in contact. It is argued that by using such bivalency strategically, speakers and writers in contact zones create the effect of using two languages at once, and that this can be a political act. The texts examined here were composed to demonstrate the superiority of the Spanish language and thus to support Spanish political preeminence. The article addresses the import of the Latin-Spanish bivalent genre for language ideology and considers its implications for understanding of modern bivalent practices and of languages as discrete systems.


This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 36, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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