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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?

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: Linguistic cleanliness is next to godliness: taboo and purism
Author: Kate Burridge
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/linguistics/publications/Burridge.html
Institution: Monash University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: 'This paper explores popular perceptions of language, in particular linguistic prescription. It focuses not on formal acts of censorship such as might be carried out by a language academy, but on the attitudes and activities of ordinary people in, say, letters to newspapers or comments on radio. In these contexts, language users act as self-appointed censors and take it upon themselves to condemn those words and constructions that they feel do not measure up to the standards they perceive should hold sway. People's concerns about language and the kind of linguistic censorship and puristic activities that accompany them belong to our tabooing behaviour generally. Prescriptive practices are part of the human struggle to control unruly nature – in this case, to define language and to force the reality of ‘the boundless chaos of a living speech’ (as Samuel Johnson put it in his Preface) into neat classificatory systems. As with tabooing practices generally, linguistic purists see a very clear distinction between what is clean and what is dirty – in this case, what is desirable and undesirable in a language. Linguists who challenge these prescriptions are challenging their ‘cherished classifications’. Small wonder there is often such a schism between linguistics and the wider community.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 26, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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