Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper concentrates on Early Modern English statutes printed in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The study considers the development of complexity and the rise of modern writing conventions by following the diachronic pragmatic view. The analysis also draws on genre studies and underlines the sociohistorical impact on linguistic changes. Complexity is assessed by a systematic method that observes the textual structure and syntax. The material consists of legislative documents in Early English Books Online; six of the documents were transcribed and compiled into a small-scale corpus. The results indicate that complexity was a common feature in the Early Modern English period: coordination and subordination are frequently used, and the sixteenth-century documents have an increasing tendency to favour subordination. During the sixteenth century, legislative sentences and text type structure become more regular and correspond to present-day practices.


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