Linguistics and the Human Sciences, Vol 5, No 1 (2009)

A discourse semantic approach to Old English narrative texts

Hyo-Chang Hong
Issued Date: 16 Dec 2011


With a few exceptions such as Michael Cummings (1995, 2010), Martin Davies (1996) and David Banks (2008), older stages of English have not received much attention in in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Motivated by Coffin’s research on the language of history (1997, 2006), this paper attempts to examine the possibility of classifying OE texts into different genre types based on Martin & Rose’s genre classification model (2008) and to investigate discourse semantic features contributing to such classifications; in particular, with regards to the mystery particle ‘þa’ (Longacre, 1976). It reports on the way in which the discourse semantic systems of conjunction and appraisal play a key role in the generic classification of the OE texts examined.

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DOI: 10.1558/lhs.v5i1.37


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