Social Roles and Language Practices in Late Modern English

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Päivi Pahta, Minna Nevala, Arja Nurmi
John Benjamins Publishing, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 241 pages
This volume presents a ground-breaking overview of the interconnections between socio-cultural reality and language practices, by looking at the different ways in which social roles are performed, maintained, adopted and assigned through linguistic means. The introductory chapter discusses and evaluates different theoretical approaches to the question, and the eight articles by leading scholars in the field offer a multiplicity of methodological and theoretical approaches to the description and interpretation of social roles as expressed in a variety of texts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While the specific period covered is Late Modern English, the theoretical insights offered will be of interest to any linguist interested in sociolinguistics, pragmatics and the history of English, as well as scholars in the social sciences and social history interested in the concept and realisation of roles.

"This is a trailblazing volume. Too often do studies in historical linguistics adopt social (or other) theories of yesterday. But here we have cutting-edge research on social roles, identities and practices applied innovatively to historical data, leading to new insights-not just about Late Modern English but also about the dynamics of language, social phenomena and change-and lighting the way for future research." Jonathan Culpeper, Senior Lecturer, English Language and Linguistics, Lancaster University

"This collection of uniformly strong studies brings a contemporary, sophisticated understanding of social roles, positions and identities to historical written texts, and so raises new and exciting questions on the ways in which writing, early on, became a vehicle for articulating more than ideas and stories-how writing became an instrument for endorsing, questioning and challenging the social order." Jan Blommaert, Professor of Language, Culture and Globalization, Director, Babylon Center, Tilburg University
 

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Contents

Language practices in the construction of social roles in Late Modern English
1
Mr Spectator identity and social roles in an early eighteenthcentury community of practice and the periodical discourse community
29
How eighteenthcentury book reviewers became language guardians
55
if You think me obstinate I cant help it
87
Reporting and social role construction in eighteenthcentury personal correspondence
111
Preacher scholar brother friend
135
The social space of an eighteenthcentury governess
163
Building trust through selfappraisal in nineteenthcentury business correspondence
191
Goodnatured fellows and poor mothers
211
Name index
229
Subject index
235
The series Pragmatics Beyond New Series
242
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