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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: Complex Syntax as a Window on Contrastive Rhetoric
Paper URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2009.07.006
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; Syntax
Abstract: The paper concerns complex syntax in the sense of text-embedded clause-combining. We consider different perspectives on why languages employ complex syntax, taking the usage-based view that 'discourse drives grammar'. Complex syntax is analyzed as shedding light on the nature of 'contrastive rhetoric', on the assumption that linguistic typology interacts with rhetorical strategies in the construction of discourse. An innovative methodology is delineated for evaluating syntactic complexity along a hierarchy of clause-combining relations, from isotactic single clauses to paratactic symmetric and asymmetric stringing by coordination and complementation, on to hypotactic layering by adverbials and relative clauses, and endotactic nesting or embedding of one clause inside another. Detailed criteria for each of these levels of clause-combining were applied to 64 narrative texts written by graduate-level university students, native speakers of four different languages (English, French, Hebrew, and Spanish) on the shared topic of interpersonal conflict. The discourse effects of linguistic typology are analyzed in terms of the linguistic means available to these different languages for combining clauses as well as discursive strategies preferred by speaker–writers in constructing narratives.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Journal of Pragmatics
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2009.07.006


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