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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: No momentary fancy! The zero 'complementizer' in English dialects
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Jennifer Smith
Institution: University of Glasgow
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this paper we analyse variable presence of the complementizer that, i.e. I think that this is interesting, in a large archive of British dialects. Situating this feature within its historical development and synchronic patterning, we seek to understand the mechanism underlying the choice between that and zero. Our findings reveal that, in contrast to the diachronic record, the zero option is predominant – 91 per cent overall. Statistical analyses of competing factors operating on this feature confirm that grammaticalization processes and grammatical complexity play a role. However, the linguistic characteristics of a previously grammaticalized collocation, I think, exerts a greater effect. Its imprint is visible in multiple internal factors which constrain the zero option in the other contexts. We argue that this recurrent pattern in discourse propels the zero option through the grammar. These findings contribute to research arguing for a strong relationship between frequency and reanalysis in linguistic change.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Language and Linguistics Vol. 9, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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