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"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 biggest English corner in China
Author: Shuang Gao
Email: click here to access email
Institution: National University of Singapore
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: ‘They all speak good English. So how come they are jobless?’ The Spring Festival Gala, broadcast alive on TV across China and among international Chinese communities, is one of the most popular and widely viewed performances for Chinese people on Chinese New Year's Eve. In a situational comedy at the 2012 Gala, one Chinese lady threw out the above remark to her friend with reference to the folk she had met in a foreign country she had just visited. The tone in which she said it was intended to invoke laughter at her sarcastic comment about the presumed almightiness of English. The audience, however, only reacted with a slightly audible mumble, which evidently reflected their ambivalence on this issue. After all, many in the audience – like the general population – are currently convinced that gaining a command of English is a very good thing, if not a national pursuit. To mock their pursuit of English is almost equal to mocking their view of life. This article takes a glimpse into this national craze towards English by presenting a brief ethnography of a new form of English learning in China: ‘English educational tourism’, that is, traveling for the purpose of learning English. By doing this, it explores the relationship between English and political economy, noting how English, the language of imperialism, at its current stage (re)produces new subjectivities among Chinese people as a semiotic form of modern/cosmopolitan imagination. Before outlining this argument and introducing the specific evidence upon which I base my claims, however, it is necessary to position this article with reference to previous theorizations relevant to the English language and the Chinese context.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 28, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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