Historical pragmatics  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Historical pragmatics is the study of language use (especially in spoken language) in its historical dimension.

State of the art

Since the late 1970s, historical linguists have discovered their growing interest in pragmatic questions—first in German, then in Romance linguistics. Especially thanks to Andreas Jucker this field has also been attracting more and more colleagues from English linguistics over the past ten years.


Historical pragmatics has to rely exclusively on written corpora. This leads to the question how can we find out about the ways people talked to each other in medieval and early modern times? The difficulty of unmasking spoken language in earlier periods has been discussed several times; for medieval times there are practically no reflexes of or on spoken language, and a majority of studies on historical pragmatics do not delve into text prior to the 17th century.<ref>Cf., e.g, the overviews in Jucker et al. 1999b and Jucker 2000.</ref>

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Historical pragmatics" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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