Business and Official Correspondence: Historical Investigations

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This volume focuses on the nature of official correspondence produced in the period after 1500, from Early Modern to nineteenth-century English. The contributions reflect the extent to which the genre is somewhat plastic in this period, gradually acquiring distinguishing conventions and protocols as the situations in which the letters themselves are encoded acquire more distinctiveness. Although correspondence has long been the object of diachronic studies, very little seems to be available as far as specialized usage is concerned, hence the specific interest in letters exchanged within scientific, diplomatic, and business networks. In addition, the study of business and official correspondence offered here profits from a multi-disciplinary and multi-methodological approach, as it relies on a rich array of databases and corpora of correspondence, ranging from highly specialized collections to more broadly constructed diagnostic corpora, in which correspondence is just one register or text-type. While specific attention is paid to phenomena relating to the expression of positive and negative politeness through the investigation of authentic (rather than constructed) texts, methodological issues are also taken into consideration.

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Urszula Okulska Warsaw
Fitzmaurice Northern Arizona University
Manfred Markus Innsbruck
Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti Florence
Marina Dossena Bergamo

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About the author (2006)

The Editors: Marina Dossena is Professor of English Language at the University of Bergamo. Her research interests focus on the features and origins of British varieties of English and the history of specialized discourse. Recent publications include Insights into Late Modern English, co-edited with Charles Jones (Peter Lang 2003), Methods and Data in English Historical Dialectology, co-edited with Roger Lass (Peter Lang 2004), and Scotticisms in Grammar and Vocabulary (2005).
Susan M. Fitzmaurice is Chair in English Language at the University of Sheffield. She has published widely on the history of the English language, and is particularly interested in the history of English letters, social networks, and standardization.

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