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Textual Healing: Studies in Medieval English Medical, Scientific and Technical Texts

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Javier E. Díaz Vera and Rosario Caballero

The studies presented in this volume concentrate on different aspects of the medical, scientific and technical varieties of early English used in a wide range of medieval manuscripts. As the growing body of research published in recent years has shown, analysing the language of specialised texts is an opportunity to obtain access to the early history and vernacularisation of learned writing styles. It is an area of study in which all the contributors have considerable expertise, which affords them to present data findings while discussing important methodological issues. In addition, in most cases data derive from specially-designed ‘second-generation’ corpora, reflecting state-of-the-art approaches to historical linguistics, discourse analysis and pragmatics. Theoretical issues concerning the digital edition of medical and scientific texts, their role in social network analysis, and their value in the identification of dialectal specific traits are highlighted by the authors.

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IRMA TAAVITSAINEN

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Early English Scientific Writing: New Corpora, New Approaches1 1. Introduction What philology has to offer to corpus linguistics is expertise in corpus compilation, in terms of both text selection and detailed attention to context in the interpretation of texts, where meanings have to be negotiated at several levels. In return, corpus linguistics can raise textual studies to a new level. On the basis of qualitative studies, we can make claims about the practices of earlier discourse communities based on individual instances of real language use, but it is through quantitative analysis of large databases of authentic language that these claims can be validated and subjective judgements brought to a more objective level. Recent years have seen new interfaces emerge between traditional philology and corpus linguistics, and a fruitful exchange of ideas is going on. Advances in the development of electronic tools are the underlying factor in this new phase. These new tools and new approaches make it possible for researchers to approach Middle English medical and scientific writing with new accuracy. 1 Research for this paper was funded by the Academy of Finland (project number 1118478), and carried out at the Research Unit for Variation,Contacts and Change in English at the Department of English, University of Helsinki. Irma Taavitsainen 178 2. Approach and aim of the article My approach is one of historical pragmatics and, more specifically, of historical discourse analysis, with a focus on diachronic developments. Historical pragmatics is an empirical branch of study which focuses on communication...

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