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By Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade

In addition to Shakespeare, Jane Austen (1775-1817) may be acknowledged to be the main largely studied writer within the background of English literature. yet not like Shakespeare, her language has got little scholarly consciousness. this is often very true for the language of her letters. Jane Austen's letters, often addressed to her sister Cassandra yet to numerous folks besides, were defined because the an identical of cellphone conversations, and for those who learn them, you could virtually pay attention her converse. we don't have entry to genuine speech from the time during which she lived, however the letters take us as with reference to the spoken language of the interval as chances are you'll wish to get. they're for that reason a veritable linguistic goldmine.

This research, for the 1st time, bargains a close sociolinguistic account of all features of the language of her letters: spelling, vocabulary and grammar. It additionally produces a few facts of pronunciation in addition to of neighborhood dialectal utilization. The research exhibits Jane Austen to be particularly idiosyncratic in her language use: she used to be constant in her spelling (though she had strange spelling preferences), now not very leading edge in her vocabulary (though she did coin a couple of new words), and never particularly consultant of grammatical advancements of the days (though her utilization differed counting on who she wrote to, her sister, her writer or her nieces and nephews).

This learn of Jane Austen's deepest language use exhibits the level to which she assorted in her language use, similar to any folks do this present day, whereas can also be presents facts either for a date of her unfinished novel The Watsons (for the 1st time on linguistic grounds) and for the interaction there should have been among the editors of her novels and her personal linguistic personal tastes, within the box of spelling and another way.

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2. The Surviving Letters and Those that Were Lost Letter (letter, letters, letter’s) is not the only word for ‘letters’ in Jane Austen’s correspondence: they are referred to in many other ways as well, sometimes less 30 in search of jane austen straightforwardly so, such as by a few lines, note, answer, yours, mine, and my last and even by the word scrap: 6. , and an answer written to Miss H.  I received yours . . two days ago (letter 30) 9. to add to my injuries I forgot to number mine on the outside (letter 45) 10.

Culpeper 2009: 30, 32), so it helps in bringing to light other aspects about a text than those that could be elicited in more conventional analyses. As Culpeper puts it, a keyword analysis ‘can reveal features that are less obvious and therefore less easily observable (and are thus often overlooked) but which cannot safely be assumed to have a negligible effect’ (2009: 53). It adds, moreover, to the objectivity of the results of an analysis because there is no need to rely on the researcher’s intuitions (Culpeper 2009: 53; see also Baker 2009).

The database includes the manuscripts of Jane Austen’s unpublished novels Lady Susan (written 1798–1799), The Watsons (begun 1804), and Sanditon (begun 1817) (Le Faye 1997), so it will be possible to compare her private linguistic habits with those in the manuscripts of texts composed for a wider reading public even if these texts were never published during her lifetime. Idiolectal studies are rare within historical sociolinguistics. Some examples of studies of eighteenth-century writers that could be mentioned, apart from my own of the language of Robert Lowth (Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2011), are Wright’s (1994) study of the language of Joseph Addison (1672–1719), M ­ izono’s (1991) study of that of James Boswell, Percy (1996) and other publications on the language of Captain James Cook (1728–1779), Uhrström (1907) on Samuel Richardson (c.

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