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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: Cleft Sentences: Form, Function, and Translation
Author: Klaus Fischer
Institution: London Metropolitan University
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Semantics
Subject Language: English
German
Abstract: Although cleft sentences are possible constructions in both English and German, they are far more frequent in English texts. Durrell (2002: 479) observes in his Hammer's German Grammar and Usage that “with the exception of the type Er war es, der mich davon abhielt […], cleft sentence constructions sound unnatural in German and should be avoided.” The article discusses the form and function of cleft sentences in the context of other focusing devices. It shows that, although German and English cleft sentences have the same information structure, their stylistic value is very different. Using a short translation, Durrell's observation is confirmed: in translating cleft sentences into German, semantic equivalence is often sacrificed for stylistic appropriateness. Although structural features of both languages are the ultimate cause of the contrast, they cannot explain choices in each individual case. The article argues that structural typology should be complemented with a typology of parole: the respective frequencies of cleft sentences in both languages reflect neatly into the more verbal style, more hierarchical sentence construction and, in certain respects, greater semantic transparency of English texts (by comparison with their German counterparts).

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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