"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.
Event Semantics of Verb Frame Alternations:A Case Study of Dutch and Its Acquisition
Using both theoretical and language acquisition arguments, this study proposes a new model of the lexicon-syntax interface defined in terms of checking event-semantic features. The research is based on Dutch verbs and their possible verb frames (intransitive, transitive, etc.) and two studies of children's Dutch. The model developed from these cases represents more generally the way in which Universal Grammar organizes the lexicon of a language and the mapping system that associates a verb's lexical features with its syntactic projection. The author shows that a predicate's event-semantic or aspectual properties define the mapping relation between lexicon and syntax, rather than lexical-semantic information of the verb's event participants, which is the more traditional view. A verb's appearance in several different verb frames is determined by event type-shifting; an atelic (= unbounded) or a telic (= bounded) event type yields different verb frames, and so does a non-causative or a causative event type. These effects can only be captured if the mapping relation is sensitive to event semantics. The two acquisition studies offer a new and unique perspective on verb learning. One is a longitudinal study on the acquisition of light verbs; the other is an experimental study on the acquisition of intransitive verbs. They show that children are sensitive to event semantics from early in the language acquisition process.