<i>Why</i> and <i>what</i> in Early Modern English drama

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This study sheds new light on the nature of the discourse markers <i>why</i> and <i>what</i> in the Early Modern English (EModE) period. It attempts to fill a gap by providing a contrastive analysis of these two markers of similar origin in the drama samples of two EModE corpora &#8211; A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560&#8211;1760 and the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Early Modern English &#8211; covering the time span 1500 to 1760. The discourse markers are approached from a quantitative and a qualitative perspective, so as to account for their frequency of attestation as well as their functions, with the aim of reaching a deeper understanding of the potential similarities and differences in their use and development in the course of the EModE period.


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