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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives

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Edited By Stella Neumann, Rebekah Wegener, Jennifer Fest, Paula Niemietz and Nicole Hützen

Linguistics, like any discipline, is full of boundaries. However, in nature, as Ruqaiya Hasan points out, there are no clear cut boundaries. The participants of the 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress held at RWTH Aachen University addressed and challenged the notion of boundaries in linguistics in many creative ways. Twenty-one of the papers presented at the congress are collated in this volume. The six sections cover topics that challenge theoretical notions and stances, and explore historical, interpersonal and lexicogrammatical boundaries as well as those between languages and in language development. The volume presents a state of the art overview of systemic functional linguistic theorising with extensions into other theoretical frameworks.

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On the contentfulness of Themes in English historical medical texts (Ana Elina Martínez-Insua)

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Ana Elina Martínez-Insua University of Vigominsua@uvigo.es

On the contentfulness of Themes in English historical medical texts

Abstract: The present study tries to contribute to the diachronic characterisation of (the medical) genre by assessing the degree of interconnection that exists between the features and content weight of Subject Themes in Early Modern English (16th-17th centuries) medical texts, and the target audience those texts address.

1 Goal of the study

As part of a larger project on the degree of textual variation in the recent history of the English language as far as the organisation of clausal constituents is concerned, the ultimate aim of the present study is to contribute to the diachronic characterisation of (the medical) genre from a variety of perspectives. More specifically, the investigation focuses on the analysis of Theme in Early Modern English (sixteenth – seventeenth centuries) medical texts. The study is based on the assumption that variation in linguistic usage goes hand in hand with variation in the context of the communicative event (Hymes 1974; Biber 1988; Biber and Conrad 2009), and tries to assess the degree of interconnection existing between the features and content weight of Subject Themes in medical texts, and the target audience those texts address. In this sense, the project assumes that language is inextricably linked to the contexts it is used in, and it varies in accordance with the nature of such contexts (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004, 27; Thompson 2004, 10). It is...

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