“But it is not prov’d”
A sociopragmatic study of the discourse marker but in the Early Modern English courtroom
Previous studies have found discourse markers to be represented with only low frequencies in Early Modern English trial proceedings, especially when compared to other dialogic and fictional text types from the same period. Nevertheless, they comprise certain classes of markers, such as contrastive markers, which operate on different levels of discourse. This study aims to provide further insights into the use of the coordinator but in a sociopragmatically annotated corpus of trial proceedings from the period 1560 to 1760. Drawing on contextual information, the analysis will assess the distribution of but throughout the Early Modern English period and address certain peaks in its use. In addition, the sociopragmatic information included in the corpus will be consulted to discover which trial participants used the form repeatedly in their speech and with which functions. Overall, this study will therefore offer an innovative sociopragmatic profile of but as a contrastive marker in Early Modern English trials.
Keywords: contrastive markers, corpus linguistics, Early Modern English, sociopragmatics, trial proceedings
Published online: 04 June 2019
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