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Data in historical pragmatics: spoken interaction (re)cast as writing. J. Hist. Pragmatics, 1(2), 2000, 175-99.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Historical Pragmatics
Issue number2
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)175-199
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


In this paper we examine four speech-related text types in terms of how linguistically close they are to spoken face-to-face interaction. Our “conversational” diagnostics include lexical repetitions, question marks (as an indicator of question-answer adjacency pairs), interruptions, and several single word interactive features (first- and second-person pronouns, private verbs and demonstrative pronouns). We discuss the nature of these diagnostics and then consider their distribution across our text types and across the period 1600 to 1720. We reveal: (1) a differential distribution across our text types (and suggest a number of explanatory factors), and (2) a shift over our period towards features associated with spoken face-to-face interaction (and make the tentative suggestion that this finding may be due to the development of “popular” literatures). We also make some preliminary remarks about our Shakespeare sample.