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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow Historical Sociolinguistics: Language Change in Tudor and Stuart England


  • 1. According to one definition, gender roles are those expected attitudes and behaviours which a society associates with each sex (Lindsay 1994: 4). Sex is the term used e.g. in Coates (1986), Eckert (1989) and Labov (1990); both sex and gender are considered and compared in Chambers (1995); gender is preferred e.g. by Milroy and Milroy (1993), Coates (1998), Bergvall (1999) and Labov (2001). On the different traditions in gender research, see Wodak and Benke (1997). A great deal has been written on social and biological conditioning in linguistic behaviour, but the issue remains far from settled. Interdisciplinary issues to do with the sex vs. gender debate - nature vs. nurture - are addressed in Walsh (1997).
  • 2. By the term vernacular, sociolinguists typically understand the language used by speakers when they are not being observed by the field-worker: 'structure that exists independently of the analyst', 'the language used by ordinary people in their everyday affairs', 'the style in which the minimum of attention is given to the monitoring of speech' (Labov 1972: 62, 69, 208). Milroy (1992: 66) defines the term as 'real language in use'. Throughout this book, we use the term in Labov's second sense 'the language used by ordinary people in their everyday affairs'.
  • 3. Here we need to consider, in particular, the research carried out on family and childhood; for surveys, see Houlbrooke (1984), Burke (1992a: 47-55), O'Day (1994). Apart from issues such as extended vs. nuclear family, two topics have received particular attention in the literature: the role of the individual in earlier societies and, ever since the publication of Aries's Centuries of Childhood in the 1960s, the notion of childhood across time.
  • 4. Our team's publications include Nevalainen (1996a), (1999b), (2000b), Palander- Collin (1999), (2000) and Vuorinen (2002).
  • 5. Gender differences are statistically significant (chi-square test, p<0.05) in subperiods two and three in Figure 6.1; in subperiod five in Figure 6.2; in subperiods four, five and six in Figure 6.4; in the last two subperiods in Figure 6.5; in all subperiods except the first and the last in Figure 6.7; in all four subperiods in Figure 6.8; in the first and the third subperiod in Figure 6.9; in the last three subperiods in Figure 6.10; in the first, fourth and sixth subperiod in Figure 6.11; in the second, fourth and final fifth subperiod in Figure 6.12; and in the first and third subperiod in Figure 6.14.
  • 6. An additional factor here is the mediating role of the amanuenses used by women in the late medieval period. Many of the late medieval changes examined by us show gender differentiation in the fifteenth century, thus suggesting that a number of women's letters must have been taken down from dictation; see Norman Davis' preface to his edition of the Paston letters (1971: xxxviii-xxxix).
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