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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: Orientations to English in post-apartheid schooling
Author: Carolyn McKinney
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: As Voloshinov has famously argued, ‘the word is the most sensitive index of social changes, and what is more, of changes still in the process of growth’ (Voloshinov, 1986: 19). Scrutiny of young people's discourses on language together with their language practices offers us a window into a society in transition, such as present-day South Africa. This article examines the language ideologies and language practices of Black youth attending previously White, now desegregated, suburban schools in South African cities, important spaces for the production of an expanding Black middle class (Soudien, 2004). Due to their resourcing during apartheid (both financial and human) previously White schools are aligned with quality education and perceived as strategic sites for the acquisition and maintenance of a prestige variety of South African English. This article looks at how mainly African girls (15–16 years) position themselves in relation to English, drawing on data collected using ethnographic approaches in four desegregated schools in South African cities: three in Johannesburg, Gauteng and one in Cape Town, Western Cape. The discussion focuses on two significant themes: English and the [re]production of race; and the place of English in young people's linguistic repertoires. My aim is to show how African youth in desegregated schools orient themselves to English and what their language ideologies and language practices might tell us about macro social processes, including the (re)constitution of race in South Africa. Schooling, as Bourdieu points out, is one of the most important sites for social reproduction and is thus also one of the key sites, ‘which imposes the legitimate forms of discourse and the idea that discourse should be recognised if and only if it conforms to the legitimate norms’ (Bourdieu, 1977: 650). However, co-present with processes of reproduction are practices that work to subvert and unsettle dominant discourses. Suburban desegregated schools are thus productive sites for the re-making of cultural practices (including language) and identities.

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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