Representations of orality in Early Modern English trial records
The paper aims at answering some questions essential for a historical pragmaticist. It examines to what extent the written records available nowadays reflect the language spoken in the past, i.e. what their degree of orality is. The data are two Early Modern English texts: The trial of Titus Oates and The trial of Lady Alice Lisle. Trial records are relevant for this analysis since they are closer to the original sources than other texts and they are interesting for linguistic reasons, e.g. the formulaic expressions or the discourse strategies used in court. The search for traces of orality is based on two features: turn-taking and closeness to the sociocultural context. The study corroborates my initial hypothesis that the two trial records have preserved many traces of orality. Moreover, they are rich sources of information about the political, social and cultural life of the period.
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