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Journal of Historical Pragmatics

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ISSN 1566-5852
E-ISSN 1569-9854

<p>The <em>Journal of Historical Pragmatics</em> provides an interdisciplinary forum for theoretical, empirical and methodological work at the intersection of pragmatics and historical linguistics. The editorial focus is on socio-historical and pragmatic aspects of historical texts in their sociocultural context of communication (e.g. conversational principles, politeness strategies, or speech acts) and on diachronic pragmatics as seen in linguistic processes such as grammaticalization or discoursization.</p><p>Contributions draw on data from literary or non-literary sources and from any language. In addition to contributions with a strictly pragmatic or discourse analytical perspective, it also includes contributions with a more sociolinguistic or semantic approach. However, the focus of the articles is always on the communicative use of language.</p><p>The <em>Journal of Historical Pragmatics</em> contains original articles, research reports and book reviews. Occasionally focus-on issues are published on specific topics within the editorial scope of the journal.</p><p>The <em>Journal of Historical Pragmatics</em> invites relevant contributions. Authors are advised to consult the Guidelines. Abstracts of contributions may be sent to both editors, preferably via email.</p>

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  • Historical patterns for the grammatical marking of stance: A cross-register comparison
    • Author: Douglas Biber
    • Source: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2004, pages: 107 –136
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    • English has a rich supply of grammatical devices used to express “stance”: epistemic or attitudinal comments on propositional information. The present paper explores historical change in the preferred devices used to mark stance. By examining the entire system of stance devices, the study attempts to investigate the underlying patterns of change. Three major patterns are possible: 1) changes in social norms could result in speakers and writers expressing stance meanings to differing extents in different periods; 2) the grammatical system for the expression of stance could undergo change, showing an overall decline in the use of some grammatical devices, replaced by an increase in the use of other devices; 3) the patterns of use could undergo sharper register diversification over time, with particular stance devices taking on more specialized uses in particular registers. These possibilities are explored through corpus-based analysis of the written and speech-based registers in the ARCHER corpus, tracking the patterns of change across the past three centuries.
  • Diachronic speech act analysis: Insults from flyting to flaming
    • Authors: Andreas H. Jucker, and Irma Taavitsainen
    • Source: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2000, pages: 67 –95
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    • In this paper we want to develop a model for the diachronic analysis of speech acts by tracing one particular speech act through the history of English, viz. insults. Speech acts are fuzzy concepts which show both diachronic and synchronic variation. We therefore propose a notion of a multidimensional pragmatic space in which speech acts can be analyzed in relation to neighboring speech acts. Against this background we discuss both the changing cultural grounding in which insults occur and the changing ways in which they are realized. Our data is drawn from the Old English poem Beowulf and the Finnsburh fragment, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and from Shakespeare’s plays, and from a variety of non-literary sources such as personal letters, court records and an internet discussion group. The scale ranges from everyday communication to ritualized behavior. When written materials of the past periods are analyzed, the bias towards the conventionalized insults is evident. Most early examples are found in literary texts and seem to reflect generic conventions of the time and the culture that gave rise to these literary forms.
  • Invoking scalarity: The development of in fact
    • Authors: Scott A. Schwenter, and Elizabeth Closs Traugott
    • Source: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2000, pages: 7 –25
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    • The discourse contexts are analyzed in which clause-internal in fact developed pragmaticalized meanings and came to invoke scalarity in two domains: epistemic sentence adverb (IPAdv), and additive discourse marker (DM). In both these uses, in fact tightens word to world fit (Powell 1992): the world of epistemic belief in the case of the IPAdv, the world of evaluative, rhetorical perspective in the case of the DM. The analysis therefore provides further evidence for (i) pragmatic ambiguities across these worlds (Sweetser 1990), (ii) subjectification that shifts perspectives from interpersonal (adversative) to personal evaluation (Traugott 1989), (iii) the pragmatic relationship between scalarity, adversativity and additivity (Schwenter 1999). The different orientations of the two uses suggest they are polysemous, not contextually bound.
  • From matrix clause to pragmatic marker: The history of look-forms
    • Author: Laurel J. Brinton
    • Source: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2001, pages: 177 –199
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    • The interpersonal pragmatic markers (now) look (here), look you, lookee, lookahere, and lookit are shown to be the result of originally free matrix clauses which become syntactically fixed, are reanalyzed as sentence adjuncts, and undergo internal coalescence, a process which began in the seventeenth century. Their development is considered an instance of grammaticalization exhibiting most, though not all, of the characteristics of the process. A new grammaticalization cline is proposed to account for the unidirectionality of the development.
  • Data in historical pragmatics: Spoken interaction (re)cast as writing
    • Authors: Jonathan Culpeper, and Merja Kytö
    • Source: Journal of Historical Pragmatics, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2000, pages: 175 –199
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    • In this paper we examine four speech-related text types in terms of how linguistically close they are to spoken face-to-face interaction. Our “conversational” diagnostics include lexical repetitions, question marks (as an indicator of question-answer adjacency pairs), interruptions, and several single word interactive features (first- and second-person pronouns, private verbs and demonstrative pronouns). We discuss the nature of these diagnostics and then consider their distribution across our text types and across the period 1600 to 1720. We reveal: (1) a differential distribution across our text types (and suggest a number of explanatory factors), and (2) a shift over our period towards features associated with spoken face-to-face interaction (and make the tentative suggestion that this finding may be due to the development of “popular” literatures). We also make some preliminary remarks about our Shakespeare sample.
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