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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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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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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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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

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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: Defaults and indeterminacy in temporal grammaticalization: The ‘perfect’ road to perfective
Author: Scott A Schwenter
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/schwenter1
Institution: Ohio State University
Author: Rena Torres Cacoullos
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Linguistic Field: General Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: Adopting a grammaticalization path perspective on the envelope of variation, that is, the range of grammatical functions along the cross-linguistic perfect-to-perfective path, and employing the variationist comparative method, we compare use of the Present Perfect and Preterit in Mexican and Peninsular Spanish to identify the default past perfective form in each dialect. The linguistic conditioning of the variability provides evidence that the Present Perfect is becoming the default exponent of past perfective in Peninsular Spanish; in empirical terms, the default expression is the one appearing more frequently (combined effect of corrected mean and factor weight) in the most frequent and, crucially, the least specified contexts. The quantitative analysis of natural speech production—rather than elicited—data also suggests a different trajectory for perfect-to-perfective grammaticalization than the commonly assumed route via remoteness distinctions: the Present Perfect's shift from hodiernal to general perfective advances in temporally indeterminate past contexts.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 20, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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