BM2001
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"Analyse the following 16th century text for the linguistic features that date it as Early Modern English"
Has anybody answered a similar question at university level and can give me advice on how to approach it, or point me in the direction of a resource that can guide me?
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--Emma
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The first thing I would do is read some background information on Early Modern English linguistics so that I could identify key features. I have never really focussed on the Early Modern period, so I couldn’t tell you exact specifics, but I do know that there was a lot of change around this time with grammar and pronunciation. This should mean that there is a lot of secondary criticism on this topic, and there should be some really could overviews of what the main features area. Use the online and offline resources that your university offer you, such as (probably) JSTOR, Muse, Taylor & Francis Online, the library catalogue, etc. After a quick google search I found Robert A. Peter’s article, “Linguistic differences between early and late modern English”, which seems like it could be a useful starting point. How much time and effort you spend on researching this should reflect the word count and credit worth of the essay.

I think that after you are confident with what exactly these features are, and how you would group them systematically, you should just go through the extract and pull out any key points that you see. From here, I would treat it like any other essay you have previously written. Identify key areas of interest, and keep your line of argument/analysis clear and organised.

What exactly is the extract from? If you can give me a reference it might help 😊
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BM2001
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(Original post by --Emma)
The first thing I would do is read some background information on Early Modern English linguistics so that I could identify key features. I have never really focussed on the Early Modern period, so I couldn’t tell you exact specifics, but I do know that there was a lot of change around this time with grammar and pronunciation. This should mean that there is a lot of secondary criticism on this topic, and there should be some really could overviews of what the main features area. Use the online and offline resources that your university offer you, such as (probably) JSTOR, Muse, Taylor & Francis Online, the library catalogue, etc. After a quick google search I found Robert A. Peter’s article, “Linguistic differences between early and late modern English”, which seems like it could be a useful starting point. How much time and effort you spend on researching this should reflect the word count and credit worth of the essay.

I think that after you are confident with what exactly these features are, and how you would group them systematically, you should just go through the extract and pull out any key points that you see. From here, I would treat it like any other essay you have previously written. Identify key areas of interest, and keep your line of argument/analysis clear and organised.

What exactly is the extract from? If you can give me a reference it might help 😊
Thanks for your advice Emma, the text is from a 16th century play by Christopher Marlowe called Edward II.
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--Emma
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(Original post by BM2001)
Thanks for your advice Emma, the text is from a 16th century play by Christopher Marlowe called Edward II.
That should make it a little easier then, as there will be a lot of material on Marlowe and his use of language. If you struggle to find something on Edward II, there's will always be something useful one of his other plays that you can most likely utilise.

You could (depending on the length of the essay) draw comparisons between other playwrights of the time, to solidify your argument. For example, there will be a lot on linguistics and Shakespeare (many have argued how Shakespeare was influenced by Marlowe's work) or Ben Jonson. You could also do this as a counter argument, saying that x, y, and z are all unusual for 16th C. linguistics based on your findings - of course this depends on what you find.

Also, it might be interesting to keep in mind that your extract is a play, and so is designed to be viewed live by an audience. There could be linguistic features that are really a staple for 16th C. playwrights - maybe due to the assumed social knowledge of his audience, or the feature would determine the register of the speaker. This might not be the case, but still important to keep in mind that the extract is a play, in my opinion.
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