Chapter published in:English Historical Linguistics: Change in structure and meaning. Papers from the XXth ICEHL
Edited by Bettelou Los, Claire Cowie, Patrick Honeybone and Graeme Trousdale
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 358] 2022
► pp. 245–262
Chapter 10Shifting responsibility in passing information
Stance-taking in Sir Thomas Bodley’s diplomatic correspondence
Within the subfield of historical pragmatics, this paper focuses on the linguistic means used for transmitting knowledge and signalling stance in a sample of Early Modern diplomatic correspondence, a text-type that, while partly codified and formulaic, shows individual variation according to topic, correspondents, and other contextual factors. Sir Thomas Bodley’s diplomatic missions in several countries produced a substantial corpus of correspondence between him and the Court. The paper examines Bodley’s strategies for the reporting and assessment of information, while conveying different levels of involvement vs. distancing. The results show that Bodley is especially cautious about the reliability of sources of the information he gathers, as is shown by the vast array of linguistic means he employs to convey his stance towards the information and its sources.
Keywords: historical pragmatics, diplomatic correspondence, Early Modern English, stance, evidentiality, epistemic scales
- 1.Introduction and theoretical background
- 2.The sample
- 3.Framing reliability of information
- 4.Modulating epistemic scales and specifying source authority
- 5.Further stance-related strategies: Appearance vs. truth, shared vs. new information
- Author queries
Published online: 02 February 2022
Diplomatic Correspondence of Thomas Bodley
1585–1597, Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, based at University College London. Chief editor Robyn Adams. Last accessed April 2019. URL: http://www.livesandletters.ac.uk/bodley/bodley.html
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