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A diachronic perspective on changing routines in texts

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Chapter Summary

This paper explores the role of exhortation in religious discourse and is intended as a case study of higher-level pragmatic analyses of texts by way of corpora and corpus methodology. Whereas diachronic pragmatic descriptions usually focus on the development of single (and isolated) items to characterize the history of a text or genre, this study accesses texts on the level of entire subsections. A diachronic outline of exhortation as one such section in religious instructive discourse shows that it undergoes a process of dissolution and integration: it falls out of use as a complex component of instructive discourse in favour of smaller, more integrated elements of exhortation. A diachronic, contrastive view of exhortation in sermons and treatises shows that this development is sensitive to time as well as genre.



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