Early Modern English Trade Correspondence: The Variation of Three Linguistic Features in 16th-Century Written Correspondence from the York Merchants Adventurers Guild
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This thesis observes the variation of three distinct linguistic features in correspondence of the York Merchant Adventurers Guild between 1530 and 1580; variation of ye/you in subject position, the third person singular suffix (3SG) -s/-th/-zero and multiple/single negation. These findings are contrasted with previous research on similar features, particularly that of Nevalainen & Raumolin-Brunberg (2003) based on the Corpus of Early English Correspondence. The gradual change of these features during the Early Modern English period concerns the change of ye to you in subject position, the change from 3SG form -th to -s as a supralocal form and the decline of multiple negation. A comparison is made between variation in letters from York and those from London in order to gain more insight into the local variation between these features. One major issue addressed by this thesis is the lack of information on this data, hence the problem of bad data is discussed.