"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.
Noting specific inadequacies with truth-conditional approaches, Ishikawa develops a dynamic theory of reference incorporating features of Discourse Representation Theory, File Change Semantics and Situation Semantics, and also deals with non-monotonic belief revision. He argues that the task of natural language semantics is to describe meaning in terms of the psychological relation of language to our cognition of external reality. In his approach, a linguistic expression's meaning is its potential to change the information state of a cognitive agent. Reference is not understood as a link to a real individual external to an agent, but as the agent's act to link a character in a linguistic frame of individuation to characters in other (linguistic or nonlinguistic) frames. As the target of inquiry, the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions is analyzed through the construction of conversation scenarios. In addition, Ishikawa extends his theory to an analysis of belief and attitude reports. Application of the theory to cleft and pseudocleft constructions is also outlined. Presented in a very accessible style, Ishikawa's theory will be of interest to scholars in cognitive science/artificial intelligence and philosophy as well as linguistics.