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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

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: The consequences of the loss of verb-second in English: information structure and syntax in interaction
Author: Bettelou Los
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English, Middle
Abstract: English syntax used to have a version of the verb-second rule, by which the finite verb moves to second position in main clauses. This rule was lost in Middle English, and this article argues that its loss had serious consequences for the information structure of the clause. In the new, rigid subject-verb-object syntax, the function of preposed constituents changed, and the function of encoding ‘old’ or ‘given’ information in a pragmatically neutral way was increasingly reserved for subjects. Pressure from information structure to repair this situation subsequently led to the rise of new passive constructions in order to satisfy the need for more subjects; the change in the informational status of preposed constituents triggered the rise of clefts. If information structure can be compromised by syntactic change in this way, this suggests that it represents a separate linguistic level outside the syntax.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 13, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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