The term which is at the heart of the investigation is fever(s) both as a single-word lexeme and as a constituent of multiword lexemes in 18th-century medical writing, dictionaries and encyclopaedias. In particular, the semantic load carried by this key term, as well as the relationship – conceptual and linguistic – with medical processes lexicalized as contagion / contagious, endemic / epidemic, infection / infectious, inflammation / inflammatory, pestilential / malignant / putrid, and medical realities generically denominated plague, pestilence(s), (small-)pox, etc. are under scrutiny here. Fever, more often than not, represents complex medical events – for the specialist and the layman. It is often used as a kind of catch-all word and catch-all experience sharing and expressing the characteristics of virulent epidemics (cfr. Lindemann 2010: 74 ff.). Sometimes the association of fever(s) with other diseases and/or outbreaks was so strong that pestilence(s) or plague(s) were frequently evoked, having a strong emotional impact on society. The definitions, descriptions, explanations, classifications, denominations analysed and exemplified confirm the uncertain and ambiguous usage of the term fever(s), and the uncertain, tentative approach of professional experience and medical research. Both disciplinary usage (physicians and practitioners writing for expert and non-expert readership) and lay usage (essentially documented in dictionaries and encyclopaedias, drawing materials from specialized texts) clearly undergo such linguistic-lexicological indeterminacy, which is primarily and essentially conceptual indeterminacy.
|Titolo:||Health and medicine in 18.-century England : a sociolinguistic approach|
LONATI, ELISABETTA (Primo)
|Parole Chiave:||health; medicine; disease; fever; 18th century; encyclopaedias; lexicography; lexicology; medical writing; semantic change|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|