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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: Transmission, acquisition, parameter-setting, reanalysis, and language change
Author: Salikoko S Mufwene
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/faculty/mufwene/
Institution: University of Chicago
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Linguistic Theories
Abstract: J├╝rgen Meisel's (JM) article is literally thought-provoking, especially for the issues that one can raise out of the central position that he develops, viz., "although bilingual acquisition in situations of language contact can be argued to be of significant importance for explanations of grammatical change, reanalysis affecting parameter settings is much less likely to happen than is commonly assumed in historical linguistics" (p. 142). This is a position that calls for grounding language change, hence historical linguistics, in the pragmatics/ethnography of language practice, a question that linguists can continue to ignore no more than the actuation question (Weinreich, Labov & Herzog, 1968; McMahon, 1994; Labov, 2001; Mufwene, 2008). The latter regards what particular ethnographic factors trigger particular changes at particular places and at particular times but not at others. In other words, do structural changes happen simply because they must happen or because particular agents are involved at specific times under specific ecological conditions of language practice?

CUP at LINGUIST

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



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