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: European Language Policy: Assessment, Learning, and the CEFR
Author: Neil Jones
Author: Nick Saville
Institution: Cambridge University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: This article describes how language policy is formed at a European level, focusing on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). The CEFR's prominent role in assessment has led to criticisms of its adequacy as a model for learning and fears that it is being used as an instrument of centralization and harmonization. First, we argue for studying the CEFR's effect on language policy as a case of impact, as this concept is understood within language assessment. We refer to experience with Asset Languages, developed as part of the United Kingdom's national languages strategy. Second, we agree with many commentators who insist on the framework's “flexible and context-amenable” nature. If use of the CEFR is made prescriptive and closed, it indeed becomes a straitjacket. What is needed is engagement with the complexity of specific contexts. We introduce the European Survey on Language Competences, a European Union (EU) initiative scheduled for 2011, which will further raise the profile of the CEFR as an assessment framework. This project should contribute to achieving comparability of measures and standards across languages. At the same time it underlines the need to develop contextualized, practical ways of realizing the CEFR's potential as a framework for teaching and learning.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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