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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: Point to a referent, and say, “what is this?” Gesture as a potential cue to identify referents in a discourse
Author: Wing Chee So
Institution: National University of Singapore
Author: Jia Yi Lim
Institution: National University of Singapore
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Pragmatics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
English
Abstract: This study explored whether caregivers' gestures followed the discourse-pragmatic principle of information status of referents (given vs. new) and how their children responded to those gestures when identifying referents. Ten Chinese-speaking and eight English-speaking caregivers were videotaped while interacting spontaneously with their children. Their speech and gestures were coded for referential expressions. Our findings showed that the Chinese-speaking caregivers gestured more often than the English-speaking caregivers but both of the groups gestured more often when asking their children to identify the new referents than the given referents (e.g., pointed to a puzzle while asking “What is this”?). The children were also sensitive to the information status of referents and they relied on the gestures to identify the new referents (but not the given referents). Overall, gesture serves as a potential cue for referential identification in both the caregivers and their children.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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