1887

“Strong churlish purging Pills”

Multi-adjectival premodification in early modern medical writing in English

image of “Strong churlish purging Pills”

This article looks at the frequency and use of sequences of two or more attributive adjectives in early modern medical writing in English. Taking as a starting point the observation that long sequences of premodifiers are one of the many linguistic features that add complexity to present-day academic writing, I examine the situation diachronically and pragmatically during the period when the scholastic style of thought gave way to empiricism. The study will argue that while a modest increase in multi-adjectival premodifiers can be observed over the timeline, the observation can be largely attributed to pragmatic contexts which arose from the practice of early modern medicine and which, by and large, cannot be considered a predictor of present-day scientific style.

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Helsinki

References

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    2011 “Verbs of Knowing: Discursive Practices in Early Modern Vernacular Medicine.”In Medical Writing in Early Modern English , ed. by Irma Taavitsainen , and Päivi Pahta , 44–73. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511921193.005
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  28. Hundt, Marianne , and Christian Mair
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    [Google Scholar]
  33. Kopaczyk, Joanna
    2012 “Applications of the Lexical Bundles Method in Historical Corpus Research.”In Corpus Data across Languages and Disciplines , ed. by Piotr Pezik , 83–96. Bern: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Lakoff, George
    1972 “Hedges: A Study in Meaning Criteria and the Logic of Fuzzy Concepts.”In Papers from the Eighth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society , ed. by Paul M. Peranteau , Judith N. Levi , and Gloria C. Phares , 183–228. Chicago, IL: Chicago Linguistic Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Moskowich, Isabel
    2009 “‘Of Medicine? Sedatyue?’: Some Notes on Adjective Position and Oral Register in Middle English Medical Texts.” Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 45 (1): 57–68. doi: 10.2478/v10121‑009‑0004‑7
    https://doi.org/10.2478/v10121-009-0004-7 [Google Scholar]
  36. 2012 “Patterns of English Scientific Writing in the 18th Century: Adjectives and Other Building-blocks.”In Astronomy ‘playne and simple’: The Writing of Science between 1700 and 1900 , ed. by Isabel Moskowich , and Begoña Crespo , 79–92. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.10.1075/z.173.05mos
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.173.05mos [Google Scholar]
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    2002 “Adjectival Forms in Middle English: Syntactic and Semantic Implications.” Studia Neophilologica 74 (2): 161–170. doi: 10.1080/003932702321116181
    https://doi.org/10.1080/003932702321116181 [Google Scholar]
  38. Pahta, Päivi
    2006 “Ful Holsum and Profetable for the Bodi: A Corpus Study of Amplifiers in Medieval English Medical Texts.”In Diachronic Perspectives on Domain-specific English , ed. by Marina Dossena , and Irma Taavitsainen , 207–228. Bern: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Pahta, Päivi , and Irma Taavitsainen
    2010 “Scientific Discourse.”In Historical Pragmatics , ed. by Andreas H. Jucker , and Irma Taavitsainen , 549–586. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Quirk, Randolph , Sidney Greenbaum , Geoffrey Leech , and Jan Svartvik
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  41. Radden, Günter , and René Dirven
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