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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: Grammatical Relation Probability: How Usage Patterns Shape Analogy
Author: Esther L. Brown
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
Author: Javier Rivas
Email: click here to access email
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: It has been argued speakers' knowledge of the probabilities of certain phones, words, and syntactic structures affects language production (Bell, Brenier, Gregory, Girand, & Jurafsky, 2009; Tily, Gahl, Arnon, Snider, Kothari, & Bresnan, 2009). This study provides evidence for effects of grammatical relation probabilities by identifying significant effects on verb morphology in the Spanish presentative [haber ‘there (be)’+ NP] construction stemming from nouns with varying proportion of use in subject function. In addition to this novel type of probability (grammatical relation), we present calculations that are not context-dependent but cumulative, reflecting speakers' overall experience with these nouns in the grammar. We conduct variationist analyses on corpora of spoken Puerto Rican Spanish. Our results reveal that nouns with a high probability of subject function promote the analogical leveling of haber by increasing the likelihood of reanalysis of the object as subject of the construction. We interpret these results as suggesting speakers possess lexicalized knowledge of grammatical relation usage patterns.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 24, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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