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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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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

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Academic Paper


Title: Textual functions of Chidigo demonstratives
Author: Steve Nicolle
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Africa International University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis
Subject Language: Digo
Subject Language Family: Narrow Bantu; Central Narrow Bantu E
Abstract: Eastern Bantu languages typically have sets of at least three demonstratives, often with variant (both emphatic/reduplicated and phonologically reduced) forms. Many descriptive accounts focus on the spatial relations which demonstratives express, and this is reflected in the terms used to describe them: proximal (near to the speaker), distal (distant from the speaker or addressee), and non-proximal (near to the addressee). However, demonstratives do more than merely express spatial relations; they may also play an important role at the textual (that is, discourse) level, and not just as means of distinguishing participant reference. These discourse functions have received less attention, perhaps because to study them a large corpus of naturally occurring texts is required, and this is simply not available in many Bantu languages.

In this paper I will present an analysis, based on a corpus of approximately 14,000 words, of the textual functions of demonstratives in Chidigo (Digo: E.73; North-East Coast, Sabaki). Four types of demonstratives are distinguished, three of which have both a basic form and at least one variant form. In addition to spatial-deictic and textual uses, class 8 demonstratives are used to express time and manner; I will suggest correspondences between the functions of class 8 demonstratives when referring to entities and when referring to abstract qualities such as time and manner.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 15: 159-171


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