The strength of the volume lies in its methodological rigour. The editor and all contributors pay utmost attention to the theoretical ramifications of the historical sociopragmatic approach, bringing the notion of context to the fore of their studies. At the same time they are sensitive to the neighbouring disciplines and approaches, as well as recognize difficulties embedded in reconstructing context for historical texts, be it on the basis of various external materials, corpus methods or more qualitative means of recovering interconnected layers of meanings. How to define context and what tools to apply to relate it to language use is still open to tests and discussion, which ensures a lively future for historical sociopragmatics.
This is the first book to map out historical socio-pragmatics [...]. Overall, it could be said that the aim of the book, namely to raise the profile of historical sociopragmatics, give it more solidity and inspire future research efforts, has been achieved. [...] The selection and order of contributions results in a coherent and comprehensive volume of cutting-edge research. The range of methodologies employed and spectrum of linguistic features investigated make this volume a valuable resource for scholars in historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, socio-pragmatics, social history and the history of English who want to familiarize themselves with recent methodological advances in the field. By offering a wide range of approaches and methodologies, the book opens the way to future research in the field of historical socio-pragmatics.
The chapters in this volume do an excellent job at showcasing how historical data can be exploited to yield new insights into the linguistic construction of social identities in the past and open new windows into the study of social change through language change. [...]
the methodologies that they employ and the rich conclusions they are able to reach testify to the potential of this type of research for other languages and periods from which historical data may be (made) available. They thus provide the impetus for researchers to both compile appropriate language corpora and refine the computational tools that can be used to analyze them. Assuming that this was another central aspiration of both the editor and the publisher of this volume, they can rest assured that their goal has been met.
The volume is exceptionally rich in the range of approaches and concrete case-studies that demonstrate how different theoretical frameworks and methodological tools can be applied in a historical sociopragmatic investigation of written corpora.