Second Person Singular Pronouns in Early Modern English Dialogues 1560-1760
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This dissertation is a corpus-based investigation examining thou and you from 1560 to 1760 in three speech-related genres: Trials, Depositions, and Drama Comedy. Previous research has focused on Drama Comedy; especially little attention has been paid to Depositions. The material is from A Corpus of English Dialogues 1560–1760 and manuscript material collected from archives in England. The data analysis is both quantitative and qualitative, and the study embraces the fields of corpus linguistics, historical pragmatics and historical sociolinguistics.
The aims are to study variation in the use of thou and you across the 200-year period, to investigate which extra-linguistic and linguistic factors appear particularly relevant in the selection and relative distribution of thou and you. The overarching hypothesis is that extra-linguistic factors more than linguistic factors will influence pronoun usage. Previous research suggests that those of inferior status (e.g. based on sex, age, and/or rank) would address superiors as you, but would tend to receive thou; those of equal status, except perhaps those of low rank, would tend to exchange you. However, research shows that other extra-linguistic factors are also important, e.g. level of emotion, formality.
For each genre, the role played by extra-linguistic factors in the data for thou and you is treated: in the macro-analyses, the data is quantified according to the sex, age, and rank of speaker/addressee to test the hypotheses based on previous research regarding relative status. In the micro-analyses a range of extra-linguistic factors are considered by examining specific dialogues, in order to highlight trends. The role of linguistic factors on the data for all three genres is treated separately. The results show that extra-linguistic factors, primarily rank, emotion, formality, genre, and time, influence both pronoun selection and distribution. No clear evidence was found to indicate that linguistic factors were influential in pronoun usage.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Engelska institutionen , 2005. , xii + 316 p.
English language, thou, you, variation, Early Modern English, speech-related genres, extra-linguistic factors, linguistic factors, macro-analysis, micro-analysis, corpus linguistics, historical pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics
Research subject English
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-5858OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-5858DiVA: diva2:166655
2005-06-11, Room 16-0043, Humanistiskt centrum, Thunbergsvägen 3L, Uppsala, 10:15
Busse, Ulrich, professor
Kytö, Merja, professor