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Title: The distinctiveness of Quaker prose, 1650-1699 : a corpus-based enquiry
Author: Roads, Judith
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 3869
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2015
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This study ascertains what is recognisably distinctive about seventeenth-century Quaker prose compared to other contemporary varieties of prose, and identifies characteristic features of that style. By compiling and investigating through corpus analysis techniques a collection of texts from a wide range of authors, I reveal key elements of the language through quantitative methods not previously applied to this subject. The study is not genre-based nor is it a literary investigation of a single author. The corpus is unusual in comprising texts by many different people within the same community of practice, demonstrating a remarkable uniformity of style and discourse. Typical stylistic features include a speech-like informal register, idiosyncratic syntax and sentence length, and I suggest reasons why Quakers developed this sociolect. In key Quaker lexis I found unexpected frequencies and usage, including findings that differ from assertions in the critical literature. Corpus analysis provides new insights into early Quakerism as well as establishing a new mode of research. My findings clarify understanding of early Quaker writing, experience and practice, dispelling some present-day misconceptions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PE English