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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: Phrasal verbs: ‘a process of the common, relatively uneducated, mind’?
Author: Kate Wild
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: If you look through a modern guide to English usage, you will probably find that it has something to say about phrasal verbs. It might be a warning not to use certain phrasal verbs in certain contexts. For example, Allen (2005: 181–90) offers a table of ‘more formal alternatives to those phrasal verbs that can sometimes be too informal for writing’, with suggestions for replacing sum up with conclude and step down with resign, among others. In many cases, it will be a warning about phrasal verbs where the adverbial particle adds little semantic content to the verb: The Chicago Manual of Style advises writers to ‘avoid the phrasal verb if the verb alone conveys essentially the same meaning – e.g. rest up is equivalent to rest’ (2003: 174). It might attribute such usages to American English, as in Evans' (2000: 54–5) comment that phrasal verbs such as win out, stop off and check up on, which ‘grow like toadstools’, are ‘American parasites’. It might be a positive comment, such as Bryson's note that phrasal verbs are ‘one of the most versatile features of English’, but if so, it will probably be qualified: Bryson adds that in many cases the added particles ‘are merely a sign of careless writing’ (Bryson, 2002: 156–7). What is it about phrasal verbs that provokes such comments? By examining grammars, usage books, dictionaries and other materials since the eighteenth century, I will discuss changing attitudes towards phrasal verbs and how they fit into the context of broader opinions about language.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 27, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site .



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