"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.
Who forgot Paul Broca? The origin of language as test case for speciation theory
In December 1999, as part of its tricentenary celebrations, the Berlin Academy of Sciences invited eleven speakers to discuss the Origin of Language (cf. the Trabant & Ward volume, henceforth T&W). In March 2000 a workshop (Crow 2002a) under the auspices of the British Academy and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, 'The speciation of modern Homo sapiens', addressed the same problem. The speciation of Homo sapiens and the origins of language are surely two sides of the same coin. At about the same time, the Christiansen & Kirby volume on Language Evolution (henceforth C&K) was conceived at the Fifth Australasian Cognitive Science Conference. Together the contributions of these volumes constitute a substantial contemporary archive on the origin of language. Their publication provides an opportunity to review the status of attempts to account for the evolution of language. Do the contributions converge on a solution?