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LINGUIST List 23.471

Tue Jan 31 2012

Qs: Performatives in Medieval Czech

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        1.     stephen dickey , Performatives in Medieval Czech

Message 1: Performatives in Medieval Czech
Date: 27-Jan-2012
From: stephen dickey <smdku.edu>
Subject: Performatives in Medieval Czech
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Dear colleagues,
I am wondering if anyone has any knowledge of what I can only
describe as a kind of repeated epistolary performative in European
Medieval texts, in particular Latin or Old High/Middle High German.
The examples I have come across occur in Czech letters from the
fifteenth century, of which the following are representative examples:

vyznávam tiemto listem… že sem prodala a mocí tohoto listu prodávám
lan dědiny v Vysoce Lhotě

I make known by this letter, that I have SOLD and by virtue of this letter
SELL a piece of land in Vysoka Lhota. (early 15th cent.)

já Oldřich svrchupsaný slíbil jsem i slibuji svú dobrú a čistú vierú…
I Oldřich the aforementioned have PROMISED and PROMISE my good
and pure faith… (early 15th cent.)

What I'm trying to determine is whether this construction, consisting of
a perfective preterit followed by the corresponding imperfective
present-tense performative is a home-grown Czech construction, or
whether it was imported on the basis of some western European
Any comments are appreciated.
Stephen M. Dickey

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

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