“I desire to have some tyme to consider of it”

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Enclosed within a larger project on the variation experienced by the English language in its recent history, the paper explores the use of indirect speech acts of refutation and denial in speech-related Modern-English texts. The corpus employed contains trial proceedings from the period 1560–1760, and the conclusions drawn from its analysis provide an interesting insight into the possibility of characterising this particular group of illocutionary forces, in the particular context of trials, during the Modern-English period. The study also points to the possibility of comparing the uses and values of indirect speech acts in Modern-English and Present-Day English trials, tracing any possible course of evolution and/or change.


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