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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: Language Ideology, Fractal Recursivity, and Discursive Agency in the Legal Construction of Linguistic Evidence
Author: Jennifer Andrus
Institution: University Writing Program, University of Utah
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis
Abstract: This article analyzes the language ideology (Silverstein 1979; Woolard & Schieffelin 1994) circulated in Section 8 of the United States Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE), focusing on the consequences to discursive agency when this language ideology is used to appropriate an utterance for use as evidence. Section 8 of the FRE, or the hearsay rule, bars the testimonial, in-court repetition of second-hand statements. The excited utterance exception to hearsay admits an utterance as long as it was made by an excited speaker, while s/he was under the sway of an exciting event, which the excited utterance must also report. This rule explicitly trusts spontaneous speech, entextualizing it as a trustworthy account of an event, using the reasoning that such an utterance is not made by a speaker capable of self-reflection. I show that this language ideology problematically links discursive agency (Butler 1997; Medina 2006) with an untruthful speaker-role. Using the concept of fractal recursivity (Irvine & Gal 2000), I argue that the presuppositions embedded and circulated metadiscursively in this rule of evidence effectively constitute a speaker without legally “recognizable” discursive agency. This effect is the most noticeable and the most consequential when the excited utterance exception is used to appropriate the speech of women who have been the victims of domestic violence. Ultimately I argue that discursive agency is a feature of language ideology. (Discursive agency, legal discourse, language ideology, evidence, metadiscourse, domestic violence)

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 41, Issue 5, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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