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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?

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: A moving and mystifying target language?
Author: Kingsley Bolton
Institution: Stockholm University
Author: David Graddol
Email: click here to access email
Author: Rajend Mesthrie
Institution: University of Cape Town
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: This issue presents a selection of articles on English in various contexts and settings, with a significant focus on education in the first four. Susan Van Rooy describes the language experiences of South Korean academics and their families in a small town in South Africa, and the consequences of their stay abroad for their English language proficiency. She reminds us that not all EFL learners of English have the ‘Inner Circle’ mainstream as their model: Potchefstroom, South Africa offers a mix between Inner and Outer Circle, probably having more features of the latter. Christian Burrows writes about methodologies of EFL classrooms in Japan, where cultural constraints make TBL (Task-Based Learning) more challenging than its Western proponents realise. The next two articles emphasise the need to pay attention to colloquial spoken language. Manfred Markus writes about the need to focus on phonetic accuracy in EFL teaching, or at least to try and replicate mainstream norms as much as possible. Fan Xianlong contributes a paper on the ever-changing spoken norms of the mainstream, based on his experiences as a visiting scholar in the United States. Although many of the features he describes are well known to Western sociolinguists, the article presents a refreshing perspective of how complex the notion of ‘target language’ must be to users of ESL and EFL. More often it is a moving and mystifying target, with its cultural and political minefields that find their way into everyday usage.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 24, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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