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"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?

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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

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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.


Query Details


Query Subject:   Things that no languages do
Author:   Frederick J Newmeyer
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   I am interested in collecting examples of phenomena that are not found
in any language in the world (as far as we know), where there is no
OBVIOUS functional explanation for that fact. Here is an example of
the sort of phenomenon that I am looking for: In no language do
grammatical processes pay attention to 'third position' (though of
course 'second position' is often important). I suspect also tha
there are many conceivable syntax- phonology and semantics-phonology
interactions that are logically possible and not obviously
dysfunctional, but which never occur.

If anybody has examples of this sort (or, even better, knows if there
already exist compilations of them), I would be very grateful to know
about them. I'll summarize.

Fritz Newmeyer
fjn@u.washington.edu



LL Issue: 15.1587
Date posted: 18-May-2004



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