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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: Performance Accuracy Affected by Control Over Bilingual Language Production: A study of balanced L2 users
Author: Julia Festman
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universität Potsdam
Author: Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells
Institution: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Author: Thomas F. Münte
Institution: Universität Magdeburg
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Recent research suggests that bilinguals cope with non-target language interference by recruiting "executive function" brain areas. However, it remains unclear whether all bilinguals are able to prevent interference to the same extend. In this project, 30 bilingual speakers of Russian and German were tested in two language tasks: (1) In a picture-naming task, black-on-white line drawings of objects had to be named in a cued target language (Russian or German), which was changed on a regular schedule. (2) In a verbal fluency task, subjects were asked to produce unique words in one language belonging to a semantic category (e.g., animals, or clothing), or starting with a certain letter (e.g., S-). Participants were explicitly instructed to use only the target language, which was predefined by the experimenter. Occurrences of interference, defined as the involuntary use of the nontarget language during target language production, were considered as inaccurate performance due to failures of control with regard to the language, whereas substitution errors reflected inaccurate performance with regard to the content. In every task, between-subject differences were observed, which could be attributed to the
construct of language proficiency only partially. Therefore, we suggest a new notion of "speaker-type", which holds that speakers tend to be either more controlled in their language output, trying to use one language at the time, or less controlled, thus using more frequently both languages, i.e., producing more switches between the languages. Our results can only be explained by an underlying mechanism, due to which participants in the non-switcher group showed a processing advantage over the switcher group in particular for avoidance of errors of interference.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Van Daele, S., Housen, A., Kuiken, F., Pierrard, M., & Vedder, I. (eds), Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency in Second Language Use, Learning & Teaching, Proceedings of the CAF-Symposium, 29-30 March 2007, Brussels, Belgium, 65-76.


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