Textual Parameters in Older Languages

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  • Editors: Susan C. Herring1, Pieter van Reenen2, and Lene Schøsler3
  • Format: PDF
  • Publication Year: 2001
  • e-Book ISBN 9789027299604

<i>Textual Parameters in Older Languages</i> takes a contemporary approach to the inherent limitations of using older texts as data for linguistic analysis, drawing on methods of text analysis, pragmatics and sociolinguistics to supplement traditional historical and philological methods. The focus of the book is on the importance of controlling for textual parameters-defined by the editors as dimensions of variation associated with texts and their production, including text type, degree of poeticality, orality, and dialect-in the analysis of older language data. Failure to do so can result in invalid generalizations; recognizing the influence of textual parameters, conversely, raises a myriad of issues for the practice and theory of historical linguistics.<br />The 12 essays in this collection apply this approach in analyses of anaphora, non-finite verbal forms, particles, punctuation, word order and other phenomena in a wide range of languages including Ancient Tamil, Sanskrit, Latin, Heian Japanese, Medieval Greek, Old French, Old Russian, Middle English, and Modern Danish. An in-depth introduction by the editors lays out the goals of the textual parameters approach, and considers the methodological and theoretical consequences of the evidence presented in the book as a whole.<br />

Subjects: Writing and literacy; Discourse studies; Historical linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Texas, Arlington; 2: Free University, Amsterdam; 3: University of Copenhagen

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