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2 - Historical Pragmatics

Scope, Methods, Challenges

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2023

Laurel J. Brinton
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Historical pragmatics encompasses the subfields of historical pragmatics (proper), with static focus on pragmatic forms and functions in earlier language stages, and diachronic pragmatics, with dynamic focus on changes over time. Within each subfield, one can focus on the level of expressions (words, phrases, clauses), utterances (speech acts), and discourse (register, genre, style). But the “bad data” problem means that for the past we lack naturally occurring oral conversation, where pragmatic meaning, such as speaker attitude and speaker–hearer interaction, is most obvious. However, from the medieval period, we have records which, while they come down to us in written form, represent authentic (“speech-based”) dialogue (court transcripts, depositions, parliamentary proceedings), constructed or “speech-purposed” dialogue (dramatic and fictional dialogue) or intended for oral delivery (sermons, prayers). “Speech-like” texts are more or less colloquial in nature (personal letters, diaries). Many of these documents are now accessible in multi-genre and specialized, single-genre electronic corpora. Finally, this chapter contemplates the possibility of pragmatic corpus annotation.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Historical Pragmatics
  • Laurel J. Brinton, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Pragmatics in the History of English
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009322904.003
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  • Historical Pragmatics
  • Laurel J. Brinton, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Pragmatics in the History of English
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009322904.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Historical Pragmatics
  • Laurel J. Brinton, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Pragmatics in the History of English
  • Online publication: 28 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009322904.003
Available formats
×