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"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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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: Beyond aspect: <i>will be -ing</i> and <i>shall be -ing</i>
Author: Agnès Celle
Institution: Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7
Author: Nicholas Smith
Institution: University of Salford
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: 'This article discusses the synchronic status and diachronic development of 'will be -ing' and 'shall be -ing' (as in 'I'll be leaving at noon'). Although available since at least Middle English, the constructions did not establish a significant foothold in standard English until the twentieth century. Both types are also more prevalent in British English (BrE) than American English (AmE). We argue that in present-day usage 'will/shall be -ing' are aspectually underspecified: instances that clearly construe a situation as future-in-progress are in the minority. Similarly, although volition-neutrality has been identified as a key feature of 'will/shall be -ing', it is important to take account of other, generally richer meanings and associations, notably ‘future-as-matter-of-course’ (Leech 2004), ‘already-decided future’ (Huddleston & Pullum et al. 2002) and non-agentivity. Like volition-neutrality, these characteristics appear to be relevant not only in contemporary use, but also in their historical expansion. We show that the construction has evolved from progressive aspect towards more subjectivised evidential meaning.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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