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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: Beyond Syntactic Priming: Evidence for Activation of Alternative Syntactic Structures
Author: Marina Vasilyeva
Institution: Boston College
Author: Heidi R Waterfall
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Cornell University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Russian
Abstract: Priming methodology was previously used to investigate children's ability to represent abstract syntactic forms. Existing evidence indicates that following exposure to a particular syntactic structure (such as the passive voice), English-speaking children increase their production of that structure with new lexical items. In the present work, we utilize priming methodology to explore whether exposure to passive primes may increase children's production of sentences that have a different structure but share a similar purpose in discourse. We report three studies, two involving English- and Russian-speaking children, and a third involving Russian-speaking adults. Unlike English, Russian offers a variety of syntactic forms that emphasize the patient of a transitive action, thus fulfilling the discourse function of the passive. We found that English speakers increased the use of the particular syntactic form presented in the prime, whereas Russian speakers increased their production of several different syntactic forms used to emphasize the patient of the action.

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This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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