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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: “The Spotty Cow Tickled the Pig with a Curly Tail”: How Do Sentence Position, Preferred Argument Structure, and Referential Complexity Affect Children's and Adults’ Choice of Referring Expression?
Author: Anna L. Theakston
Institution: University of Manchester
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition
Abstract: In this study, 5-year-olds and adults described scenes that differed according to whether (a) the subject or object of a transitive verb represented an accessible or inaccessible referent, consistent or inconsistent with patterns of preferred argument structure, and (b) a simple noun was sufficient to uniquely identify an inaccessible referent. Results showed that although adults did not differ in their choice of referring expression based on sentence position, 5-year-olds were less likely to provide informative referring expressions for subjects than for objects when the referent was inaccessible. In addition, under complex discourse conditions, although adults used complex noun phrases to identify inaccessible referents, 5-year-olds increased their use of pronominal/null reference for both accessible and inaccessible referents, thus reducing their levels of informativeness. The data suggest that 5-year-olds are still learning to integrate their knowledge of discourse features with preferred argument structure patterns, that this is particularly difficult in complex discourse contexts, and that in these contexts children rely on well-rehearsed patterns of argument realization.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 33, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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