"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.
This study investigates the phenomenon of polarity sensitivity, proposing a new perspective which focuses on the behavior and properties of sensitive items and the phrases they form. It rests on the observation that the complexity of the phenomenon requires a more articulated analysis than the standard one based on licensing conditions. The study adopts a broader notion of sensitivity, which extends beyond the traditional one restricted to polarity. It includes other factors which are defined in relation to the semantics of the sensitive items. As a result, the attention is centered on the web of interactions the item entertains with its context of occurrence, rather than on polarity licensing conditions. These items are not lexical black boxes, mutually undistinguishable with respect to polarity licensing. The study shows that the distribution and interpretation of these items follow from constraints related to the properties of their semantic domain. Aspect and temporal order are crucial factors for sensitive temporal connectives and adverbials, while referential links and existential import matter for determiners. Analogies and differences with other phenomena related to negation, e.g. negative concord, are discussed. The volume also contains an extensive critical overview of research on the topic in the past thirty years. This book will be of interest to scholars in the area of semantics, syntax and their interface. It also points to various important themes in pragmatics and cognitive science, e.g. the role of context and reference, and the notion of interpretation strategies.