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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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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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Academic Paper


Title: Comparing Narrative and Expository Text Construction Across Adolescence: A Developmental Paradox
Paper URL: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a788086841~db=all
Author: Ruth A. Berman
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.tau.ac.il/~rberman/
Institution: Tel-Aviv University
Author: Bracha Nir
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://hw2.haifa.ac.il/index.php/staff-communication/472-bracha-nir
Institution: University of Haifa
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis
Abstract: In this study we argue that narrative storytelling and expository discussion, as 2 distinct discourse genres, differ both in linguistic expression and in their underlying principles of organization - schema-based in narratives and category-based in exposition. Innovative analyses applied to 160 personal-experience narratives and expository essays written by schoolchildren, adolescents, and adults on the shared topic of interpersonal conflict point to certain apparently contradictory facts about developing discourse abilities in the 2 genres. For example, genre differentiation is established early on (even the youngest children distinguish between the 2 types of discourse), but with age, participants tend to diverge from genre-typical content (by including expository-type generalizations in narratives and narrative-like incidents in expository texts). Also, across age groups, in local linguistic expression, participants use more advanced vocabulary and grammar in expository than in narrative texts, but in global-level discourse organization, they achieve command of expository text construction only in adolescence, whereas the principles governing narratives are established by middle childhood. We suggest that this apparent paradox can be accounted for by several interlocking factors: cognitive and linguistic development, increased experience with different varieties of discourse, and the communicative context in which a piece of discourse is produced.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Discourse Processes, Volume 43, Issue 2 April 2007 , p. 79-120
URL: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a788086841~db=all


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