How to Do Things with Texts

Patterns of Instruction in Religious Discourse 1350-1700

by Tanja Rütten (Author)
©2011 Thesis X, 248 Pages
Series: English Corpus Linguistics, Volume 12


The things we do with words are reflected in texts and we do things with texts just as we do things with words. This book sets out to explore how texts function in a given discourse community, and how the functions that texts may have in that particular community can be identified and assessed from a diachronic perspective. It systematically distinguishes general discourse functions (e.g. religious instruction) from more specific text functions (e.g. exegesis, exhortation), and outlines co-occurrence patterns of text functions for selected genres. A contrastive view of the evolution of these profiles ties the changes in individual genres to the complex and dynamic network of which they are a part. Combining corpus methodology with detailed qualitative discussion, this book identifies text functions as the performative centre of texts and shows how language variation and change strongly depend on the dynamics of the complete network of genres in the domain.


X, 248
ISBN (Hardcover)
Historical speech act historical sext linguistics historical pragmatics Early English
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. X, 248 pp., num. tables and graphs

Biographical notes

Tanja Rütten (Author)

Tanja Rütten is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cologne and one of the compilers of the Corpus of English Religious Prose. She graduated in English literature, linguistics, and history from the University of Duisburg and also obtained a teaching degree. In 2010 she received her doctoral degree at the University of Cologne. Her main research interests are historical speech act theory, communication forms in Early English and variational linguistics.


Title: How to Do Things with Texts