Interactive Dialogue Sequences in Middle English Drama

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This book looks at mediaeval English drama using the theoretical frameworks of historical sociopragmatics and dialogue analysis. It focuses on the collection of cycle plays known as the <i>N.Town</i> <i>Plays</i>, preserved in a manuscript from the fifteenth century. The book examines various linguistic markers that are important for the expression of social relations and pragmatic stance: pronouns and terms of address, modal markers, performatives, and sequential structures such as question-answer, imperative-compliance, etc. These elements are examined separately and then brought together to arrive at a more integrated analysis of dramatic dialogue and of the dynamics of interaction it portrays. A separate chapter is devoted to tracing the same mechanisms on a different communication level, i.e. in 'dialogue' with the audience, which is particularly relevant to the instructional purposes of the plays. The book will be useful to students and scholars of pragmatics, historical linguistics, dialogue studies and drama studies.

Subjects: English linguistics; Pragmatics; Germanic linguistics; Discourse studies; Historical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Cagliari

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