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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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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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Summary Details

Query:   Discourse Referents and Time
Author:  Robert Belvin
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Historical Linguistics

Summary:   I am interested in linguistic changes that have taken place since the
beginning of the 1960s in the English spoken on the media, more
precisely in interviews, debates and news broadcasts.

I am interested not only in pronunciation changes such as, for
example, an increased incidence of glottal stops and a decline in
'back a', but also changes in the way speakers organize the
information in their speech.

An example of the latter would be an increased number of contractions
('don't' instead of 'do not'), an increase in subordinator 'that'
deletion (I think (that) he went), stranded prepositions (the person
I am thinking of), or split infinitives. In short, an increase in
reduced forms and 'dispreferred' structures in media speech.

I would be very grateful if you could give me the references of any
research that has been done on this topic. I am mainly concerned
with British English, but would also welcome references to research
in American English.

Naturally I will present a summary of any replies I receive.

Many thanks.

Alan Smith,
School of Modern Languages, Dept of French
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
U.K. E-mail: alan.smith@ncl.ac.uk
Fax: (0191)2225442

LL Issue: 12.1657
Date Posted: 25-Jun-2001
Original Query: Read original query


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