"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.
After Etymology: Towards A Substantivist Linguistics
The authors argue for a substantivist linguistics that parts company with the excessive concern with etymology that has shaped much modern work. Historical linguistics of the 19th century offered an Etymology of Words, but that etymology self-destructs, and merges into several structuralist projects. On our construal, this self destruction arises from Saussure's attempt to push the Neo-grammarian logic to the point of demanding total accountability. But no structuralism can offer synchronic sources for words. Since the linguist's etymological drive remained intact while the historical wing of the enterprise became first optional and marginal, the derivational impulse soght new objects. That impulse seems to us to have exhausted itself in frankly but unwarrantedly derivational accounts that are still the hall-marks of contemporary linguistics. We need to go beyond such accounts and beyond Etymology. The book examines what seem to be the core postulates of Etymologism through their descriptive manifestations in grammar and argues for their replacement with substantivist postulates. It also asks that all linguists take a serious look at the substantive compulsions that have driven generative work not just to a revolution at the formal level, but also to a continuous substantive follow-up within that revolution.