2009-2011 Language and identity project

Language and identity: variation and change in patterns of interaction in the history of English

University of Helsinki (2009-2011, 120 000 euros)

The project studies how written language is used to express social relationships and construct identities in English from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. We explore features of various styles of interaction and variation and change in these styles. Our project members focus on e.g. the discursive construction of social hierarchies and otherness/we-ness. The data comes from electronic corpora and other text collections, and we also edit new data. The project combines sociolinguistic and pragmatic perspectives and qualitative and quantitative methods, and employs findings of sociohistorical research and social theories to understand language as communication.

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