Local grammars and diachronic speech act analysis
A case study of apology in the history of American English
This paper proposes a method that is designed to facilitate diachronic speech act analysis. The proposed method draws on the corpus linguistic concept of local grammar – an approach which seeks to account for, not the whole of a language, but one meaning or function only. Local grammar descriptions capture both formal and semantic regularities of speech act realisations, and local grammars offer a more reliable way to quantify speech act realisations across time. It is particularly in this respect that it is argued that a local grammar approach can be useful for diachronic speech act studies, which is demonstrated subsequently by tracing one particular speech act, namely “apology”, in a sample of the Corpus of Historical American English (coha).
Keywords: American English, apology, diachronic speech act analysis, local grammar, speech acts
Published online: 28 August 2020
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