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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