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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"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



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

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.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

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.


Academic Paper


Title: Frequency and variation in the community grammar: Tracking a new change through the generations
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Alexandra D'Arcy
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://web.uvic.ca/ling/faculty/adarcy.htm
Institution: University of Victoria
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: In this article we perform a quantitative analysis of verbs of quotation in a cohesive speech community. The incoming form be like overshadows all other quotative verbs among speakers under 30. This telescoped rate of change provides an opportunity to investigate the actuation problem as well as to probe the underlying mechanism of change in the contrasting variable grammars across generations. Multivariate analyses of factors conditioning be like (content of the quote, grammatical person, sex) reveal stability in the significance of constraints, however the rankings and relative strengths reveal subtle ongoing changes in the system. Interpreting these in sociocultural context, we suggest that be like is an innovation that arose out of a preexisting niche in the grammar. It accelerated during the 1980s due to its preppy associations, later specializing as a marker of narrative present. In accounting for these findings, we are led to contrast generational and communal change and to question what it means to ‘participate’ in linguistic change.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 19, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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