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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: Wh- Topicalization at the Syntax-Discourse Interface In English Speakers’ L2 Chinese Grammars
Author: Boping Yuan
Institution: Cambridge University
Author: Esuna Dugarova
Institution: Cambridge University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Although wh-words generally stay in situ in Chinese wh-questions, they can be topicalized. However, the wh-topicalization is determined at the syntax-discourse interface and has to be governed by discourse conditions; only discourse-linked (D-linked) wh-words can be topicalized, but non-D-linked ones cannot. This article reports on an empirical study that investigated English speakers’ second language (L2) acquisition of Chinese wh-topicalization. The results of an acceptability judgment test indicate that advanced English speakers are sensitive to the discourse condition that governs the syntactic derivation of wh-topicalization in Chinese, as they were found to be able to make the distinction in their L2 Chinese by allowing D-linked, but not non-D-linked, wh-elements to topicalize. However, these results also indicate that wh-determiner phrases (DPs) and wh-noun phrases (NPs) differ in their sensitivity to presupposition background information in L2 Chinese wh-topicalization, and it is argued that the availability of the deictic feature in the wh-element involved is a variable affecting the D-linking properties of wh-elements in the development of L2 Chinese wh-topicalization, and this seems more likely to be a representational deficit than a processing problem.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 34, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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