The Sociopragmatics of Stance
Community, language, and the witness depositions from the Salem witch trials
Peter J. Grund | University of Kansas
Anchored in historical pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics, and corpus linguistics, this book weaves together a powerful narrative of the significance of stance marking in the history of English. Focusing on the community of practice that developed during the witch trials in Salem (Massachusetts) in 1692–1693, it showcases how witnesses and the recorders of their ca. 450 depositions deployed linguistic features to signal the evaluation of experiences with alleged witchcraft, the intensification of those experiences, and the sources of the witnesses’ knowledge. The resulting stance profiles for groups of depositions, witnesses, and recorders highlight varying strategies of claiming, supporting, and boosting the importance of the evidence and the role of the witnesses within the community of practice. With its innovative focus on sociopragmatic variation in a historical community, the book demonstrates the essential contribution of synchronic-historical research to the analysis, description, and theorization of stance and historical English more broadly.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 329] 2021. ix, 246 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments | pp. viii–x
Chapter 1. “this Is the first to bee Read”: Introduction | pp. 1–14
Chapter 2. “Testifieth and saith”: The Salem witch trial witness depositions | pp. 15–42
Chapter 3. “we thought we did doe well”: The Salem witch trials as a community of practice | pp. 43–72
Chapter 4. “I verily beleue in my hart that martha Carrier is a most dreadfull wicth”: Methodology and overview of linguistic strategies of stance | pp. 73–86
Chapter 5. “in A sudden, terible, & strange, unusuall maner”: Evaluating experience | pp. 87–112
Chapter 6. “I haue ben most greviously affleted”: Intensifying experience | pp. 113–144
Chapter 7. “I saw the Apperishtion of Rebekah nurs”: Sourcing experience | pp. 145–176
Chapter 8. “we perceiued hir hellish temtations by hir loud outcries”: Stance profiles | pp. 177–212
Chapter 9. “and further saith not”: Conclusion | pp. 213–222
Appendix. RSWH depositions included in the study | pp. 223–224
References | pp. 225–241
Index for “The Sociopragmatics of Stance” | pp. 243–246
“The volume provides not only a detailed analysis of stance expressions and types of stance in their situational context, but also a discussion of the social and communicative dynamics behind such stance expressions. Finally, the author makes a case for synchronic-historical studies of language use in particular communities, arguing that this is a necessary complement to the more popular diachronic approaches. [...] This clearly and engagingly written volume provides a thorough analysis of not only the stance expressions in a historical CoP, but also the social dynamics behind them, with differences in the stance patterns of different groups of deponents reflecting varying levels of alignment with the joint purpose of the CoP.”
Hanna Salmi, University of Turku, in Journal of Pragmatics 200 (2022).
Cited by 3 other publications
GRUND, PETER J.
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Main BIC Subject
CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009030: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics