"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
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.
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.
The combination of possibly with can't and couldn't seems to me on the increase. Or perhaps I just notice it more since I've been living in France. For in French there is no direct equivalent of possibly. You have probablement (= probably), but there is no French word *possiblement. What, then, is going on when you find in English, to take a recent example, ‘For all the malfunctions of the past few years, it's assumed the structure of British society can't possibly be refashioned’ (standfirst to an article by Marina Hyde, The Guardian, 7 July 2012)?