Pragmatics in the History of English

Laurel Brinton

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


How were you and thou used in Early Modern England? What were the typical ways of ordering others in Early Medieval England? How was the speech of others represented in the nineteenth-century novel? This volume answers these questions and more by providing an overview of the field of English historical pragmatics. Following introductory chapters which set out the scope of the field and address methods and challenges, core chapters focus on a range of topics, including pragmatic markers, speech representation, politeness, speech acts, address terms, and register, genre, and style. Each chapter describes the object of study, defines essential terms and concepts, and discusses the methodologies used. Succinct and clear summaries of studies in the field are presented and are richly illustrated with corpus data. Presenting a comprehensive and accessible yet state-of-the-art introduction to the field, it is essential reading for both students and academic researchers.

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About the Author

Laurel Brinton

Laurel J. Brinton is Professor Emerita in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. Her areas of research lie within English historical linguistics including historical pragmatics (pragmatic markers), grammaticalization and lexicalization, phrasal verbs and composite predicates, corpus linguistics, and aspectual studies. She is the author of monographs on aspect, pragmatic markers, comment clauses, lexicalization, and historical pragmatics.

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