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Gender and the Formation of Modern Standard English

A Socio-Historical Corpus Study with Early Modern English in Focus

Urszula Okulska

The study examines the influence of gender on several long-term changes between 1500 and 1710 with an aim to assess the power of this variable in the formation of Present-Day Standard English. It projects the findings of contemporary sociolinguistics onto the history of English to check whether it was women, as some contemporary research might indicate, who were main trendsetters in the Early Modern English period and propagators of language innovations that have finally shaped the structure of Present-Day Standard English. The research builds a bridge between contemporary and historical sociolinguistics in that it incorporates five recent hypotheses explaining gender-conditioned variation to probe fifteen morpho-syntactic alterations of the 16 th –18 th centuries. The parameters are tested against the level of gender-marking from the perspective of specific socio-economic transformations of the time. As a corpus-based project, the analysis joins micro- and macro-scale methodologies with qualitative and quantitative approaches to the data processed. The source material are Early Modern English informal writings, such as letters and diaries, from the Helsinki Corpus of English Texts.
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Edited by Maria Załęska and Urszula Okulska

The authors of this volume explore rhetorical and discursive strategies used to negotiate and establish legitimate knowledge and its disciplinary boundaries, to make scientific knowledge interesting outside academic settings as well, and to manage (c)overt knowledge in different social and political contexts. The volume focuses on the cultural concept of knowledge society, examining diverse linguistic means of knowledge transmission from the perspective of the complex interplay between knowledge and persuasion. The contributors discuss both sociological and philosophical issues, as well as textual processes in different genres that aim to communicate knowledge.

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Anna Duszak and Urszula Okulska

Linguistics has found itself in the middle of a lively debate about its disciplinary integrity, its future and role in modern societies. The ongoing discussions thrive on impulses coming from within the field and from other disciplines that either inform linguistic expertise or are themselves informed by it. They are also encouraged by a growing language awareness of individuals and entire social groups. This collection of papers covers a wide range of linguistic topics, exposing and exploring the plurilingualism of today’s meta-linguistic reflection. The topics in analytical focus include the apparent integrity and the fragmentation of linguistics, starting with the early conceptions of autonomy and modularity, and ending with their elaboration in terms of interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and, more recently, postdisciplinarity of modern scholarship. The methodological pluralism of modern linguistics is shown to depend on what were and what are today the privileged modes of communication. The role of folk and expert knowledge is emphasized in the construction of metalinguistic theories and their social legitimization. Speaking up from a variety of perspectives, the contributions in this volume show that the ventriloquation of today’s metalinguistic writings is best interpretable in terms of bridges and barriers in how the metalinguistic dialogue is pursued, whether on an internal or a cross-disciplinary basis.
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Speaking from the Margin

Global English from a European Perspective

Anna Duszak and Urszula Okulska

The papers in this volume analyze the language situation under globalization in several European countries. How does the spread of Global English affect the integrity of the local systems? Changes in lexical and discursive repertories are evidenced and discussed. It is shown how new social identities are linguistically constructed and redefined in the social consciousness of the various local communities. The authors see globalization as a major change-in-progress that sets in relief the dual capacity of language: communication and identification. The collection reconciles empirical data analysis with profound attention to a host of theoretical issues, such as a new ecology for language under globalization or a new interdiscursivity of globalizing communications. It is argued that globalization-as-recontextualization of meanings poses a serious challenge for a new science of language. The spatial imagery of center-margin is chosen to expound on the complex interaction between the global and the local. The concept of a glocal view on language affords a new perspective for coping with massive linguistic change.