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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Exploring discourse on globalizing English
Author: Alexander Onysko
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universität Innsbruck
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: A case study of discourse on anglicisms in German.

“By recognizing our uncanny strangeness, we shall neither suffer from it nor enjoy it from the outside. The foreigner is within me, hence we are all foreigners. If I am a foreigner, there are no foreigners.” (Julia Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves (1991)).

Is Kristeva's dissolution of the notion ‘foreign’ also applicable to language? The nature of language as a semiotic system of arbitrarily bound units of meaning and form determines the essential foreignness of signifier and signified. As such, every linguistic unit is indeed intrinsically foreign on the level of designation and, thus, there is no foreign language. On the surface of human communication, however, incomprehensibility among speakers can emerge as a criterion of foreignness. The perception of the foreign in language is particularly tied to situations of contact between different language-cultural areas. Such contact can occur internally in a multilingual speaker or can be observed externally as happening in the speech community. In both ways, crucial to language contact is a perceived intertwining of linguistic units from at least two distant, i.e. incomprehensible, codes culturally rooted in diverse speech communities.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 25, Issue 1.

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