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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The Acquisition of German Modal Particles: A corpus-based approach
Author: Heidi Byrnes
Institution: Georgetown University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: Particles of the modal particle type—also referred to as flavoring, toning, or discourse particles—are a phenomenon in the West-Germanic languages that is well known for its descriptive complexity and its considerable demands on second language (L2) learners. High among the descriptive challenges ranks the fact that these particles cannot be
adequately captured by structurally oriented theories of language because they cross syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and discursive domains and nonuniquely express assumptions, intentions, judgments, and affective stances among the partners in communication. Along with real and imagined co-texts, these are highly contextualized and interpreted aspects of the languaging event. High among their acquisitional challenges ranks the fact that, in addition to their culturally and interpersonally situated and dialogic nature, they are formally ambiguous because all belong to other functional classes with divergent distributional and meaning characteristics. Small wonder that their competent use serves as a strong indicator of advanced levels of L2 ability. Small wonder, too, that researchers and instructors of German continue to explore more effective approaches to describing and teaching them.


This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 28, Issue 1.

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