Strategies of persuasion in a 16th century Hungarian remedy book: Ágnes Kuna
Strategies of persuasion in a 16th century Hungarian remedy book
A key part of medieval and early modern medication was to create a positive attitude in the patient. To this end, a variety of persuasion strategies were employed, which are well documented in available records of European medical texts, especially recipes. Their analysis reveals that the use of efficacy phrases correlates strongly with speaker involvement, the kind of knowledge being communicated and the peculiar features of medication at the time. These include such influences as Classical and Arabic medicine, philosophy, superstition, folk practices and religion, which are significant for their role in subjectivization/perspectivization and evidentiality.
The paper adopts a functional cognitive framework to explore strategies of persuasion in the digital corpus of Ars Medica, the earliest surviving medical book written in Hungarian. Ars Medica can be classified as a remedy book. Its six chapters contain a high number of efficacy phrases, which can be assigned to the (overlapping) conceptual groups of TESTEDNESS, USEFULNESS and CERTAINTY. Acts of persuasion are conceptualized from the speaker’s or a third person’s perspective. The former is often associated with high levels or personality and emotional involvement, while the latter is linked to prestige and the deferral of responsibility.