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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: Modeling diachronic change in the third person singular: a multifactorial, verb- and author-specific exploratory approach
Author: Stefan Th. Gries
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/faculty/stgries/
Institution: University of California
Author: Martin Hilpert
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Université de Neuchâtel
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Morphology
Subject Language: English
English, Old
Abstract: This study addresses the development of the English third-person singular present tense suffix from an interdental fricative (giveth) to an alveolar fricative (gives). Based on the PCEEC corpus, we analyze more than 20,000 examples from the time between 1417 and 1681 to determine (i) the temporal stages in which this development took place and (ii) the factors that are correlated with this change.
As for (i), we use a bottom-up clustering method which shows that the shift from -(e)th to -(e)s is best characterized as consisting of five stages. As for (ii), we examine multiple language-internal and language-external factors, including several variables proposed in earlier accounts. We fit a generalized linear mixed-effects model, which allows us to predict nearly 95 per cent of all inflectional choices correctly, thus revealing which factors shaped the development over time in a data-driven and highly precise way.


This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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