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university of tampere: viestintätieteiden tiedekunta: tutkimus: plural-tutkimuskeskus: common material: research project sites: multilingual practices in the history of written english:
Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Communication Sciences
Multilingual Practices in the History of Written English

The project investigates the structural and functional characteristics of multilingualism in written language, an area of language use that is understudied and rarely thematized in its own right in research. We propose to analyze the processes of language alternation in different communicative contexts in a diachronic perspective and to assess their role in linguistic change. The focus is on multilingual practices in English texts extending from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The material comes from large systematically collected datasets representing different genres and topic domains, such as manuscript archives, computerized corpora and digitized online text collections. The method of analysis is data-driven and exploratory. The data is examined from multiple perspectives, combining a number of theoretical approaches and qualitative and quantitative methodologies. These include established methods in corpus-linguistics, sociolinguistics, text analysis, genre and register analysis and discourse-pragmatic analysis, and synchronic and diachronic linguistics. The findings will be compared with those obtained in earlier research on multilingual practices in present-day language use, spoken and written.

 

The main objective is to answer the following research questions:

  • What are the differences and similarities in multilingual practices in present-day societies and in historical societies?
  • What are the differences and similarities in multilingual practices between written and spoken language?
  • Can we identify a scale of basicness in multilingual practices, with some features present in written and spoken, and historical and present-day materials, while others are only present in some of them?
  • Can we identify systematic internal variation in different types of written materials on the basis of a carefully contextualized empirical multilevel analysis of large quantities of written data from different communicative situations in terms of registers and genres, the purpose of writing, the participants of the communicative event, the socio-cultural and historical settings of communication, and the languages in contact?
 
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Last update: 2.9.2015 11.15 Muokkaa

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