Tudor and Stuart England and the Significance of Adjectives : A Corpus Analysis of Adjectival Modification, Gender Perspectives and Mutual Information Regarding Titles of Social Rank Used in Tudor and Stuart England
Sammanfattning: The aim of the present study has been to investigate how titles of social rank used in Tudor and Stuart England are modified by attributive adjectives in pre-adjacent position and the implications that become possible to observe. Using the Corpus of Early English Correspondence Sampler (CEECS) the present work set out to examine adjectival modification, gender perspectives and MI (Mutual Information) scores in order to gain a deeper understanding of how and why titles were modified in certain ways. The titles under scrutiny are Lord, Lady, Sir, Dame, Madam, Master and Mistress and these have been analysed following theories and frameworks pertaining to the scientific discipline of sociohistorical linguistics. The findings of the present study suggest that male titles were modified more frequently than, and differently from, female titles. The adjectives used as pre-modifiers, in turn, stem from different semantic domains which reveals differences in attitudes from the language producers towards the referents and in what traits are described regarding the holders of the titles. Additionally, a type/token ratio investigation reveals that the language producers were keener on using a more varied vocabulary when modifying female titles and less so when modifying male titles. The male terms proved to be used more formulaically than the female terms, as well. Lastly, an analysis of MI scores concludes that the most frequent collocations are not necessarily the most relevant ones. A discussion regarding similarities and differences to other studies is carried out, as well, which, further, is accompanied by suggestions for future research.
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