Featured Linguist!

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: Early vocabulary development in Mandarin (Putonghua) and Cantonese
Author: Twila Tardif
Institution: University of Michigan
Author: Paul Fletcher
Institution: University College Cork
Author: Weilan Liang
Institution: Peking University
Author: Niko Kaciroti
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Parent report instruments adapted from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) examined vocabulary development in children aged 0 ; 8 to 2 ; 6 for two Chinese languages, Mandarin (n=1694) and Cantonese (n=1625). Parental reports suggested higher overall scores for Mandarin- than for Cantonese-speaking children from approximately 1 ; 4 onward. Factors relevant to the difference were only-child status, monolingual households and caregiver education. In addition to the comparison of vocabulary scores overall, the development of noun classifiers, grammatical function words common to the two languages, was assessed both in terms of the age and the vocabulary size at which these terms are acquired. Whereas age-based developmental trajectories again showed an advantage for Beijing children, Hong Kong children used classifiers when they had smaller vocabularies, reflecting the higher frequencies and greater precision of classifier use in adult Cantonese. The data speak to the importance of using not just age, but also vocabulary size, as a metric by which the acquisition of particular linguistic elements can be examined across languages.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 5, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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