Historical Sociopragmatics
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper involves the historical construction of pragmatic meanings in a courtship correspondence of the eighteenth century. I draw on relevance theory in a pilot analysis preliminary to the pragmatic coding of implicature and inference in a rich body of epistolary prose in the letters subcorpus of the Network of Eighteenth-century English Texts (NEET). Extensive qualitative pragmatic study from relevance theoretic and Gricean perspectives have been conducted using the corpus (Fitzmaurice 2002, 2000). Uncovering the meanings of the letters within entire exchanges consists of negotiating multiple specific literary, cultural, historical and linguistic contexts. The goal is to construct a larger (con)textual setting in which later readers can ascertain the extent to which original participants were able to calculate their correspondents’ intentions and how they in turn responded.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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