"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
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.
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.
English worldwide may be viewed in terms of spread and of diffusion. Spread refers to the use in different global contexts, such as publishing and examinations, of Standard British or American English. Diffusion describes the emergence of local varieties of English in, for example, India or Singapore, comparable to the earlier emergence of Australian English, Canadian English, and so on. In nonformal settings, interlocutors make use of their own local variety of English, their World Englishes (WEs). In formal settings, notably in English language assessment, it seems that the norm appealed to is still that of Standard British or American English. Since English as a lingua franca (ELF) appears to make use only of the spoken medium, there is less of a demand for an ELF written norm. At present what seems to hold back the use of local WEs norms in formal assessment is less the hegemony of Western postcolonial and economic power and more the uncertainty of local stakeholders.