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Title: Genre structure in the prefaces to eighteenth-century English grammars: A study on a selection of prefaces from the ECEG database
Authors: Fernández Martínez, Dolores 
UNESCO Clasification: 57 Lingüística
Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis
Issue Date: 2016
Journal: Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 
Abstract: The eighteenth century saw an unprecedented increase in the production of English grammars. Both publishers and grammarians supplied a market to the readership of English grammars, where most of them were battling each other for a share of the market. In such a competitive context, prefaces played a role trying to convince potential buyers of the positive qualities of the grammars. This paper aims to study the discourse strategies employed in some of the prefaces to eighteenth-century English grammars with particular reference to how they performed their advertising function. The prefaces analysed have been drawn from the Eighteenth-Century English Grammar (ECEG) database, a new online data source for the study of eighteenth-century grammars compiled by Rodríguez-Gil and Yáñez-Bouza (2010). The corpus under analysis has been retrieved from ECEG according to the following parameters: (i) 'England' for place of birth of the author, (ii) 'English grammar' for type of work, and (iii) 'institutional' and 'mixed' for target audience (instruction). Grammar writers shared a common core of discourse strategies and sociocognitive assumptions, which justified them being considered a discourse community in itself (Watts 1995, 2008). Prefaces to eighteenth-century English grammars were symptomatic of the notion of a discourse community of English grammarians, since it was there that their shared motivations and ideologies were especially perceptible. Following Martin's definition of genre as "a staged, goal-oriented social process" (Martin 1992: 505; Martin & Rose 2003: 7), the three stages of Construction, Contact and Amelioration are proposed as constituting the genre structure of the prefaces under study. Through the analysis of the linguistic structures which underlie the stages put forward, this paper attempts to shed light on the common discourse patterns which defined the discourse community of English grammarians.
ISSN: 0028-3754
DOI: 10.2307/26386206
Source: Neuphilologische Mitteilungen [ISSN 0028-3754], v. 117 (2), p. 289-314
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