LINGUIST List 12.1033

Wed Apr 11 2001

TOC: Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1

Editor for this issue: Naomi Ogasawara <>


  1. Stanton L Kreutzer, Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1 (2001)

Message 1: Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1 (2001)

Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 16:34:31 -0400
From: Stanton L Kreutzer <>
Subject: Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1 (2001)

Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1 (2001)

(c) John Benjamins Publishing Company 

Roger D. Sell (pp. 1-32) 
A historical but non-determinist pragmatics of literary communication 

Marcel Bax (pp. 33-67)
Historical frame analysis: Hoaxing and make-believe in a
seventeenth-century Dutch play

Gerd Fritz (pp. 69-83)
Text types in a new medium: The first newspapers (1609)

Irma Taavitsainen (pp. 85-113)
Middle English recipes: Genre characteristics, text type features and
underlying traditions of writing

Britt-Louise Gunnarsson (pp. 115-139)
Expressing criticism and evaluation during three centuries

Fran�oise Salager-Meyer and Nahirana Zambrano (pp. 141-174)
The bittersweet rhetoric of controversiality in nineteenth- and
twentieth-century French and English medical literature

Book Reviews
Minna Vihla: Medical Writing: Modality in Focus (Douglas Biber)

Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2:1 (2001)

(c) John Benjamins Publishing Company
A historical but non-determinist pragmatics of literary communication
Roger D. Sell

Despite any appearances to the contrary, literary writing and reading
are forms of communicative activity for which a human parity needs to
obtain between the different participants. By the same token,
literature can also bring about changes in the human world. Literary
pragmatics is therefore continuous with the pragmatics of
communication in general, and must be strongly historical in its
orientation, even if this can never involve a rigid historical
determinism. Although human identity is very much a matter of social
formation, human beings do have a certain autonomy of imagination,
intellect, temperament and choice. It is this relative autonomy which
makes possible communication between different positionalities in the
first place, and which also helps to explain the processes of personal
and social change. When people really communicate, they meet each
other half-way. Initiators of communication textualise a model of the
communicative situation itself, for instance, and also make rhetorical
concessions, which, as the mental distance between the context of
sending and the context of receiving varies, can themselves vary in
communicative effect. In responding to a communicative gesture,
similarly, receivers are humanly obliged to make a hermeneutic effort,
which, especially, but not only in the case of literary communication,
may have to negotiate variations in text typology and politeness. The
net effect of literature, like that of other uses of language, depends
on who is processing it, and when and where and how. In principle, the
effect can sometimes be deleterious. As always, human beings' only
moral defence lies in their own personal powers of judgement. Equally,
some literary writings, like other actions, embody a kind of ethical
beauty, not only as significant historical interventions in their own
times and places, but also in terms of a continuing, yet quite
distinct inspiration they can offer to human beings whose
situationality is different. All genuine communication actually tends
to override situational difference in the hope of closer communion. A
historical pragmatics can itself facilitate rapprochement, by offering
a theoretical basis for mediation between different viewpoints, and
not least in the form of a mediating literary criticism. Here, though,
there can be no suggestion of hegemony. Sociohistorical differences
will never completely disappear. Nor will human behaviour ever become
completely explicable. If it did, it would no longer be human in the
sense understood by a non- determinist pragmatics.

Historical frame analysis: Hoaxing and make-believe in a
seventeenth-century Dutch play
Marcel Bax

In this article, I am concerned with the historical dimension of frame
analysis, aiming at an appraisal of the general significance of this
method if applied to historical linguistic data, in particular
instances of oral or written discourse transmitted from the past. In
order to demonstrate how frame analysis can be employed as a means of
reconstructing the multiple meaning structures of earlier cases of
linguistic communication, I shall examine the opening scene of a
seventeenth-century Dutch theatrical play, i.e. Constantijn Huygens's
ribald farce Trijntje Cornelis. The analysis is preceded by a brief
outline setting forth some fundamental issues and dilemmas of
historical pragmatics. Arguing that there are (at least) two notably
distinct ways of approaching the data, I will distinguish between two
types of historical pragmatic enquiry, i.e. exostructural and
endostructural analysis. As to the question of how these different
perspectives can be integrated, I will claim that by and large frame
analysis as conceived by Goffman is an effective device. Considering
that this sociological theory has its limitations too, the final
section will review the extent to which, and in which ways, the
application of the notions and techniques of frame analysis enhances
our understanding of verbal communication in historical contexts. My
analysis of Huygens's play is thus exemplified within a wider "frame"
of scientific interest.

Text types in a new medium: The first newspapers (1609)
Gerd Fritz

The first printed newspapers in the modern sense of the word appeared
in the seventeenth century. They were weekly publications which
contained regular reports by correspondents from all over Europe,
mainly on political matters. Although the new medium as such was
innovative in its general organization, the individual news items were
produced by following text patterns which already had a history of
their own. The article reports recent research on the emerging
constellation of text types in the first two German newspapers, the
Aviso and the Relation of the year 1609. It is focussed on delineating
a prototype-based typology of the relevant text types and on tracing
back these forms of presentation of news items to earlier genres and
media like chronicles, handwritten newsletters, printed pamphlets and
biannual news collections. The general interest of this line of
research as a contribution to historical pragmatics lies in the
attempt to see historical text types in an evolutionary perspective,
taking into account the context of text production and, as far as
possible, the reactions of the reading public.

Middle English recipes: Genre characteristics, text type features and
underlying traditions of writing
Irma Taavitsainen

This article focuses on Middle English medical recipes and aims to
show that the concepts of "genre", "text type" and "text tradition"
provide useful tools for historical discourse analysis, as they
operate in different ways and illustrate various sides of medieval
texts. Medical recipes are a well-defined procedural genre included in
a variety of contexts: they form the major contents of remedybooks,
but they are also found within the learned tradition of medical
writing. The reception and use of these texts can be studied through
their genre contexts and other extralinguistic features. The
assessment of their text-type features shows that a higher degree of
standardisation is found in remedybooks; academic texts and surgical
treatises show more variation. The observed differences cannot be
attributed to genre, and the readership was presumably much the
same. The underlying traditions seem to have been important:
remedybooks were handbooks for consultation to find cures for
diseases. The more standardised the format, the more easily the advice
was accessible. In contrast, recipes in the learned tradition were
included in longer treatises as integral parts for demonstration of
the healing principles.

Expressing criticism and evaluation during three centuries
Britt-Louise Gunnarsson

The article presents a socio-semantic study of evaluative expressions
in medical scientific articles from six periods from the eighteenth,
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Evaluations relating to the
presentations of the medical case, the scientist's own work and the
work of other scientists were studied. The results of the analyses
point to a gradual change in the directness of the evaluations; where
the author earlier evaluated through his own voice, the modern author
chooses to evaluate indirectly through facts and others' voices. The
evaluations were also found to gradually be less strong and more
embedded in hedgings of various kinds. The changes in evaluative
strength and style reveal the varied positions of the scientists and
their scientific community as to the medical knowledge, the stage of
the medical community and the role of the medical scientists in

The bittersweet rhetoric of controversiality in nineteenth- and
twentieth-century French and English medical literature
Fran�oise Salager-Meyer and Nahirana Zambrano

This paper investigates the evolution of the linguistic means used by
scientists to convey academic conflict in French and English medical
discourse. The 185-year span studied (1810-1995) was divided into nine
20-year periods. The rhetorical strategies expressing academic
conflicts were recorded in 180 papers and classified as direct or
indirect. The results were analyzed using � 2 tests. Between 1810 and
1929, no cross-linguistic difference was found in the frequency of
either direct or indirect academic conflict. Between 1930 and 1995
direct academic conflict was more frequent in medical French than in
medical English ( p = .013), and indirect academic conflict more
common in medical English than in medical French ( p =
.0001). Qualitatively speaking, nineteenth-century medical French and
medical English academic conflicts were personal, polemical and
provocative. Regarding twentieth-century academic conflict, medical
French conflicts tend to remain personal and categorical whereas
medical English academic dispute is characterized by its politeness
and/or the shifting of conflict responsibility onto some inanimate
entity. Our study indicates that the intellectual climate in a given
scientific discursive community influences the rhetoric of conflict.

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