The sociopragmatic nature of interjections in Early Modern English drama comedy: From ah to tut

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Interjections have been studied for all periods in the history of English, ranging from the study of Old English exclamations such as hwaet (Brinton 2017) to the pragmatic functions of forms such as oops in Present Day English (Lutzky and Kehoe 2017). The Early Modern English (EModE) period represents a turning point as it witnessed an increase in dialogic and speech-related text types, including drama comedy and trial proceedings. Nevertheless, despite recent advances in the compilation and especially the sociopragmatic annotation of corpora, EModE pragmatic markers have not been studied extensively over the last decade. This article addresses this gap by offering an investigation into the sociopragmatic nature of interjections in EModE drama comedy. It is based on the sociopragmatically annotated Drama Corpus which includes a total of 242,561 words from the period 1500 to 1760. Taking a data-driven, form-to-function mapping approach, this study explores the use of interjections in the Drama Corpus with a focus on their distribution according to sociopragmatic variables. The aim of this study is to contribute to reaching a more comprehensive understanding of pragmatic marker use in EModE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-244
JournalJournal of Historical Pragmatics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • corpus linguistics
  • drama comedy
  • Early Modern English
  • interjections
  • pragmatic markers
  • sociopragmatics

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