Featured Linguist!

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: The company that words keep: comparing the statistical structure of child- versus adult-directed language
Author: Thomas Hills
Institution: University of Warwick
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Abstract: Does child-directed language differ from adult-directed language in ways that might facilitate word learning? Associative structure (the probability that a word appears with its free associates), contextual diversity, word repetitions and frequency were compared longitudinally across six language corpora, with four corpora of language directed at children aged 1 ; 0 to 5 ; 0, and two adult-directed corpora representing spoken and written language. Statistics were adjusted relative to shuffled corpora. Child-directed language was found to be more associative, repetitive and consistent than adult-directed language. Moreover, these statistical properties of child-directed language better predicted word acquisition than the same statistics in adult-directed language. Word frequency and repetitions were the best predictors within word classes (nouns, verbs, adjectives and function words). For all word classes combined, associative structure, contextual diversity and word repetitions best predicted language acquisition. These results support the hypothesis that child-directed language is structured in ways that facilitate language acquisition.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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