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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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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:   Allomorphic Variation in the English Article System
Author:   Sue Fox
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology
Subject Language(s):  English

Query:   I am investigating variable allomorphy in the English article system among adolescents in London, where I have found high levels of lack of allomorphy among some groups.

For example, 'a apple' is quite frequent as is 'the apple' where 'the' ends in a schwa as opposed to a high front vowel. This would seem to be an innovation among young people here as it does not appear to be present in the speech of older Londoners but I am interested to know of other varieties of English (both in the UK and around the anglophone world) where this lack of allomorphy occurs. I am aware of work on the distribution of 'the' before vowels in NZE.

References to any literature on this feature would also be appreciated. A summary of responses will be posted.

Sue Fox
Dept of Modern Languages
Queen Mary College, University of London
LL Issue: 16.2753
Date posted: 25-Sep-2005


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