Complexity and genre conventions

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This study analyzes complexity in Early Modern English proclamations from 1500 to 1707 in the <i>Corpus of Early Modern English Statutes</i> (1491&#8211;1707). The complexity features chosen for analysis are coordination and textual structure. The study shows that text structure and layout are important in signaling dependencies between sentences in legal writing.Coordination can link clauses and lexical items, and clausal coordination in the data is most frequent before 1550, while phrasal coordination is more numerous in the seventeenth century. The frequencies are affected by extralinguistic changes such as the beginning of printing of legal documents. Further, the genre of proclamations is systematic in the Early Modern period, and the various coordinating clauses have specific functions.


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