"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
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.
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.
Variation in the lexicon: the ‘Cinderella’ of sociolinguistics?
All of the contributions in this special issue respond to a somewhat paradoxical situation: lexis (or vocabulary) is probably the area of linguistics that is most accessible and most salient for a non-specialist audience, but at the same time it presents some uniquely difficult challenges for systematic scholarly linguistic analysis. This is especially the case for approaches that focus on statistics or quantification of data, such as are typical of modern work in sociolinguistics. For this reason, it often seems that lexis is the Cinderella that is excluded from the ball, a topic that modern sociolinguists tend to steer clear of because of the methodological difficulties. This special issue will try to investigate the background to this problem, and suggest some possible solutions.