"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.
Grammatical features influencing information structure
All people tell stories. But what happens, when you're asked to tell a story in a
language that is not yours? In this dissertation I research storytelling and event
retelling by speakers of Dutch and English, in their native language, but also in
their second language. I pay special attention to those aspects of grammar that
could influence information structure. The experiments in this thesis show that
word order and progressive aspect are important grammatical features for
deciding how to structure your information. However, the results also show that
even though native speakers of English and Dutch behave very differently, it is
possible for some very advanced learners to perform native-like in their second
language. Theoretically, these results present evidence against Levelt's
implication that language-specific requirements only come into play at the
microplanning level. Slobin's model of 'thinking for speaking' cannot explain the
results either. Therefore, in the final chapter, an adapted model of language
production is proposed.