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



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$33698

Still Needed:

$41302

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

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.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

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: Celtic Influence in English? Yes and No
Author: Theo Vennemann
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
German
Abstract: Compared to German Ja and Nein, English Yes and No are used less frequently, and often in combination with short sentences consisting of a pronoun and an auxiliary or modal verb: Yes I will; No I won't. When such a short sentence is used, Yes and No may be omitted: I will; I won't; I do; I don't; He can; They certainly won't. This difference in usage is established (1) by comparing the marriage vow in German and English, where the officiant's question is answered by Ja in German but by I will or I do in English; (2) by citing material from a practical grammar for German students of English; and (3) by studying the way Shakespeare has his figures answer decision questions, or Yes/No-questions, in comparison with Schlegel's way of rendering their answers in his German translation. Next it is shown that Shakespeare's way, which is essentially the same as modern usage, differs radically from earlier English usage up to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1388–1400) and Troilus and Cresseide (1382–6) and the anonymous York Plays (fourteenth century) and Towneley Plays (late fourteenth century), which all reflect the Germanic usage, essentially the same as in German. It is concluded that the modern English usage arose during the two centuries between Chaucer and Shakespeare, as a Late Middle English and Early Modern English innovation. As for the reason why English developed this un-Germanic way of answering decision questions, reference is made to Insular Celtic: decision questions are answered with short sentences in both Irish and Welsh, and this usage is old in both languages. The viability of this contact explanation is underlined by Irish English, where Yes and No are used even less frequently than in Modern Standard English, and short sentences are the normal way of answering decision questions.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 13, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



Back
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page