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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?

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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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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

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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: Grammar and the “Timing” of Social Action: Word order and preference organization in Japanese
Author: Hiroko Tanaka
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Essex
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics; General Linguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: Japanese
Abstract: This article explores the interconnection between grammar and the performance of preferred and dispreferred responses in Japanese. As is well known, dispreferred format turns are structurally more complex than preferred format turns, regularly delayed, accompanied by prefaces and accounts, mitigated, or made indirect. Owing to the flexibility of Japanese grammar, participants have expanded intra-turn capacity to maximize or minimize compliance with such formats. On one extreme, a dispreferred action can be massively delayed until near the turn-ending through opting for so-called canonical predicate-final word order and minimization of ellipsis. On the other extreme, a preferred action can be expedited to the very opening of a turn through non-canonical predicate-initial word order by taking advantage of word order variability and ellipsis. Such syntactic practices are interactionally managed for calibrating the timing of social action. It emerges that the canonical word order - assumed to be the generically unmarked alternative - is actually optimally tailored for the implementation of marked (dispreferred) responses, as opposed to a non-canonical word order for unmarked (preferred) responses, in the given sequential environment.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 34, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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