Old English Legal Language

The lexical field of theft

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This corpus-based study examines the lexical field of theft in the Anglo-Saxon law-codes and documents containing reports of lawsuits (charters, writs, and some chapters of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle). The individual Old English lexemes are analysed not only in terms of their meaning, collocation patterns, and Latin translations, but also, more unusually in a field-approach, with reference to their distribution over the various textual genres and the discourse strategies dominant in these. Although primarily linguistic in focus, a detailed description of the theft-offences and the wider context in which they occur should also be of interest to the historian.

Subjects: Germanic linguistics; English linguistics; Historical linguistics

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