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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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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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Academic Paper


Title: Corpus evidence of anti-deletion in Black South African English noun phrases
Author: Yolande Botha
Linguistic Field: Text/Corpus Linguistics
Abstract: Black South African English (BSAfE) is now generally regarded as an independent variety of English rather than an interlanguage on the way to Standard English (Van Rooy, 2008: 274, 300 and in this issue). Mesthrie (2006: 115) demonstrates that many of the characteristic features of BSAfE can be ascribed to the overarching tendency of anti-deletion. Anti-deletion is a term coined by Mesthrie (2006: 115) to encompass three kinds of linguistic phenomena that are the opposite of deletion in generative analyses of English, namely undeletion, non-deletion and insertion. Undeletion ‘restores an element that is often assumed to be deleted or to have an empty node in generative analyses of English’ (Mesthrie, 2006: 125), e.g. She made me go (Mesthrie, 2006: 111) in which the infinitive marker to is undeleted. Insertion entails the addition of grammatical morphemes, e.g. can be able (Mesthrie, 2006: 139–40). After examination of a number of undeletion phenomena in interviews with 12 mesolectal speakers of BSAfE, Mesthrie (2006: 129) arrives at the following principle: ‘If a grammatical feature can be deleted in [Standard English], it can be undeleted in [Black South African English] mesolect.’ He points out that such undeletions are not mandatory and adds the following corollary to the principle of undeletion: ‘If a grammatical feature can be deleted in StE, it can also be (variably) deleted in [Black South African English] mesolect, at a lower rate of frequency’ (Mesthrie, 2006: 129).

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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