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Metadiscourse in Middle English and Early Modern English Religious Texts

A corpus-based study


Sandra Boggel

In the last three decades, metadiscourse has caught the attention of numerous scholars from various research disciplines. This book adds to the discussion by looking at the phenomenon from a historical angle. Text analyses with a corpus of sermons and religious treatises from the 13 th to the 18 th century provide new insights into the way authors guide their audience through their texts and persuade them of their points of view. The focus on the Middle and Early Modern English periods, which witnessed the disintegration of the Catholic Church in England, the Reformation, the decline of Scholasticism and the advent of Renaissance Humanism, makes evident the influence of socio-cultural factors, text-type conventions, and a changing author-addressee relationship on the development of metadiscourse.
Contents: Intertextual and intratextual metadiscourse – Speech-act theory – Personal and impersonal metadiscourse – Linguistic variation, vagueness, and multifunctionality – Historical development of metadiscourse in sermons, religious treatises, and in secular texts – Compiling a historical corpus of religious texts – The statistical analysis of metadiscourse.