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In A Raven’s Battle-cry: The Limits of Judgment in the Medieval Irish Legal Tract Anfuigell Charlene M. Eska presents a critical edition and translation of the previously unpublished medieval Irish legal tract Anfuigell. Although the Old Irish text itself is fragmentary, the copious accompanying commentaries provide a wealth of legal, historical, and linguistic information not found elsewhere in the medieval Irish legal corpus. Anfuigell contains a wide range of topics relating to the role of the judge in deciding difficult cases, including kingship, raiding, poets, shipwreck, marriage, fosterage, divorce, and contracts relating to land and livestock.
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Verónica Orqueda

Reflexivity in Vedic offers a corpus-based synchronic and diachronic analysis of reflexivity in the language of the R̥gveda and Atharvaveda, two of the most ancient corpora ever composed in an Indo-European language. Applying a functional and cognitivist framework, Verónica Orqueda discusses the different possible strategies and proposes a distribution determined by the interaction between reflexivity, transitivity and valency. This study enriches typological approaches to the emergence of reflexives and therefore, on the basis of the Vedic data, it shows that nominal reflexive strategies may especially arise in contexts of underspecified verbal valency.
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Voices on Birchbark

Everyday Communication in Medieval Russia

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Jos Schaeken

In Voices on Birchbark Jos Schaeken explores the major role that writing on birchbark – an ephemeral, even ‘throw-away’ form of correspondence and administration – played in the vibrant medieval merchant city of Novgorod and other cities in the Russian Northwest. Birchbark literacy was crucial to the organization of Novgorodian society; it was integrated into a huge variety of activities and had a broad social basis; it was used extensively by the laity, by women as well as men, by villagers as well as landlords. Voices on Birchbark is the first book-length study of this unique corpus in English. By examining a representative selection of birchbark texts, Jos Schaeken presents fascinating vignettes of daily medieval life and a holistic picture of the pragmatics of communication in pre-modern societies.
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Corpus Linguistics and Sociolinguistics

A Study of Variation and Change in the Modal Systems of World Englishes

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Beke Hansen

In Corpus Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, Beke Hansen analyses variation and change in the modal systems of three second-language varieties of English in Asia by taking a sociolinguistic approach to corpus data. Her study focuses on the modal and semi-modal verbs of strong obligation and necessity in Hong Kong English, Indian English, and Singapore English based on the relevant ICE component corpora. She adopts a typologically-informed perspective on variation in World Englishes by comparing the structures of the speakers' first languages with the structures of the emergent varieties in the expression of epistemic modality. Beyond this, she analyses language change by constructing apparent-time scenarios to compensate for the lack of diachronic corpora in World Englishes.
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Mohamed A. H. Ahmed

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The main aim of this study is to introduce a model of TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) annotation of Hebrew elements in Judeo-Arabic texts, i.e., code switching (CS), borrowing, and Hebrew quotations. This article will provide an introduction to using XML (Extensible Markup Language) to investigate sociolinguistic aspects in medieval Judeo-Arabic texts. Accordingly, it will suggest to what extent using XML is useful for investigating linguistic and sociolinguistic features in the Judeo-Arabic paradigm. To provide an example for how XML annotation could be applied to Judeo-Arabic texts, a corpus of 300 pages selected from three Judeo-Arabic books has been manually annotated using the TEI P5. The annotation covers all instances of CS, borrowing, and Hebrew quotations in that corpus.

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Alexander Beider

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This article discusses the notion of ‘Jewish surnames,’ considering it to be synonymous to the expression ‘surnames borne by Jews.’ This can be particularly helpful if we want the definition to add real value for the search of etymologies. The article describes most important peculiarities of Jewish surnames, categories of names that are exclusively Jewish, and various cases when a surname is shared by both Jews and non-Jews. It shows that certain alternative definitions of the notion of ‘Jewish surnames’ (such as surnames found in all Jewish communities, surnames used by Jews only, surnames based on specifically Jewish linguistic elements) either have internal inconsistencies or are useless and sometimes misleading for the scientific analysis of the etymologies of these surnames.

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Hezy Mutzafi

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The present article presents new findings related to Jewish Neo-Aramaic (JNA) innovations in the framework of North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA). The dialectal spectrum of JNA is so wide and variegated, that some geographically distant JNA varieties are markedly different from each other on all levels of language structure. Despite this great heterogeneity, the JNA dialects share supra-regional features that bind these varieties together to the exclusion of all, or the vast majority of, the Christian NENA (C.NENA) dialects. There appear to be no grounds, however, for a genetic classification of NENA into two principal branches, JNA and C.NENA. Distinct Jewish versus Christian NENA isoglosses have, rather, most plausibly emerged by gradual diffusion of innovations throughout NENA-speaking communities of the same confession (Jewish or Christian), while skipping geographically adjacent, but religiously distinct, NENA-speaking communities.

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Beyond Grammaticalization and Discourse Markers

New Issues in the Study of Language Change

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Beyond Grammaticalization and Discourse Markers offers a comprehensive account of the most promising new directions in the vast field of grammaticalization studies. From major theoretical issues to hardly addressed experimental questions, this volume explores new ways to expand, refine or even challenge current ideas on grammaticalization.

All contributions, written by leading experts in the fields of grammaticalization and discourse markers, explore issues such as: the impact of Construction Grammar into language change; cyclicity as a driving force of change; the importance of positions and discourse units as predictors of grammaticalization; a renewed way of thinking about philological considerations, or the role of Experimental Pragmatics for hypothesis checking.