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Inside and out

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Abstract

This article focuses on socio-pragmatic aspects of address forms in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century personal letters in the <i>Corpus of Early English Correspondence</i> (CEEC) by comparing the forms found inside and on the outside of a letter. In addition to providing a wider social perspective, the research questions concern the private and public aspects of address formulae and the influence of different participant roles of the writer and the recipient. Address forms are analysed using Bell&#8217;s (1984, 2001) audience design model, as well as Brown and Levinson&#8217;s (1987) theory of politeness. The study shows that formulae inside a letter are mainly governed by relative power in the relationship between the writer and the recipient. Address in superscriptions, on the other hand, seems to be the result of taking into consideration both the addressee and the audience with its possible opinions and reactions.

References

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