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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

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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: When speech is ambiguous, gesture steps in: Sensitivity to discourse-pragmatic principles in early childhood
Author: Wing Chee So
Institution: National University of Singapore
Author: Özlem Ece Demir
Institution: University of Chicago
Author: Susan Goldin-Meadow
Institution: University of Chicago
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
English
Abstract: Young children produce gestures to disambiguate arguments. This study explores whether the gestures they produce are constrained by discourse-pragmatic principles: person and information status. We ask whether children use gesture more often to indicate the referents that have to be specified (i.e., third person and new referents) than the referents that do not have to be specified (i.e., first or second person and given referents). Chinese- and English-speaking children were videotaped while interacting spontaneously with adults, and their speech and gestures were coded for referential expressions. We found that both groups of children tended to use nouns when indicating third person and new referents but pronouns or null arguments when indicating first or second person and given referents. They also produced gestures more often when indicating third person and new referents, particularly when those referents were ambiguously conveyed by less explicit referring expressions (pronouns, null arguments). Thus Chinese- and English-speaking children show sensitivity to discourse-pragmatic principles not only in speech but also in gesture.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 31, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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