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Query Details

Query Subject:   Performatives in Medieval Czech
Author:   stephen dickey
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Historical Linguistics

Query:   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
LL Issue: 23.471
Date posted: 31-Jan-2012


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