"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.
Many languages include constructions which are sensitive to the expression of
polarity: that is, negative polarity items, which cannot occur in affirmative
clauses, and positive polarity items, which cannot occur in negatives. The
phenomenon of polarity sensitivity has been an important source of evidence for
theories about the mental architecture of grammar over the last fifty years, and
to many the oddly dysfunctional sensitivities of polarity items have seemed to
support a view of grammar as an encapsulated mental module fundamentally
unrelated to other aspects of human cognition or communicative behavior. This
book draws on insights from cognitive/functional linguistics and formal
semantics to argue that, on the contrary, the grammar of sensitivity is grounded
in a very general human cognitive ability to form categories and draw inferences
based on scalar alternatives, and in the ways this ability is deployed for
rhetorical effects in ordinary interpersonal communication.