Historical correspondence has been the object of increasing interest in the field of English linguistics; in particular, there has been a significant growth in the interest in letters written by encoders from the lower classes. This work focuses on the letters produced by two soldiers from the lower social classes who served as soldiers in Highland regiments on the Western Front in the Great War. For serving soldiers, and for their families at home, the creation of Great War epistolary discourse served the purpose of bridging distances and maintaining family bonds. The conservation of Great War letters by families grants a precious insight into how the lower classes discursively constructed their experiences of the conflict, in their own words. This thesis analyses a corpus constituted by letters that were sourced, scanned and transcribed. The transcribed letters led to the creation of a corpus of approximately 94,477 running words which were written between September 1914 and late November 1916, covering the first two years of the conflict. Since letter writing is a socially situated practice, one in which meaning, and significance derive from its situation in “cultural beliefs, values, and practices” (Barton and Hall, 2000), in-depth research was conducted in order to examine the context of production and consumption of the letters. The corpus was then subjected to three different analyses investigating three different linguistic aspects. The first analysis conducted is a rhetorical move analysis which seeks to identify whether the letters constituting the corpus share sufficient rhetorical moves to warrant the trench letters being considered as a genre in their own right. The second analysis of the corpus employs a Discourse Historical Approach (DHA) to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). For the analysis, the DHA three-dimensional model was applied to the analysis of epistolary discourse (Reisigl and Wodak, 2009, p.93); such an approach allows for the identification and analysis of the discursive strategies employed in the letters by the soldier letter-writers to share their experiences of the conflict with family at home. The third analysis examines the corpus adopting a psycholinguistic perspective and seeks to identify instances of expressive codeswitching between English (L1), Scots (L2) and French (L3) with the twofold aim of verifying the language preference for emotion and emotion-laden words, and of investigating how the “emotional context” of the trenches may play a meaningful role in the processing of emotion words. By adopting three diverse approaches for the analysis of the corpus, the thesis seeks to identify and document the key features of the soldier letters in order to better understand the dynamics and characteristics of such writings.

WORTHY OF REMEMBRANCE: A LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF LETTERS WRITTEN BY SEMI-LITERATE SCOTTISH SOLDIERS FROM THE TRENCHES OF THE GREAT WAR / K.j. Lawson ; tutor: P. Catenaccio ; coordinatore: M. V. Calvi. - : . Università degli Studi di Milano, 2019 Feb 08. ((31. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2018. [10.13130/lawson-kirsten-jane_phd2019-02-08].

WORTHY OF REMEMBRANCE: A LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF LETTERS WRITTEN BY SEMI-LITERATE SCOTTISH SOLDIERS FROM THE TRENCHES OF THE GREAT WAR

K.J. Lawson
2019-02-08

Abstract

Historical correspondence has been the object of increasing interest in the field of English linguistics; in particular, there has been a significant growth in the interest in letters written by encoders from the lower classes. This work focuses on the letters produced by two soldiers from the lower social classes who served as soldiers in Highland regiments on the Western Front in the Great War. For serving soldiers, and for their families at home, the creation of Great War epistolary discourse served the purpose of bridging distances and maintaining family bonds. The conservation of Great War letters by families grants a precious insight into how the lower classes discursively constructed their experiences of the conflict, in their own words. This thesis analyses a corpus constituted by letters that were sourced, scanned and transcribed. The transcribed letters led to the creation of a corpus of approximately 94,477 running words which were written between September 1914 and late November 1916, covering the first two years of the conflict. Since letter writing is a socially situated practice, one in which meaning, and significance derive from its situation in “cultural beliefs, values, and practices” (Barton and Hall, 2000), in-depth research was conducted in order to examine the context of production and consumption of the letters. The corpus was then subjected to three different analyses investigating three different linguistic aspects. The first analysis conducted is a rhetorical move analysis which seeks to identify whether the letters constituting the corpus share sufficient rhetorical moves to warrant the trench letters being considered as a genre in their own right. The second analysis of the corpus employs a Discourse Historical Approach (DHA) to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). For the analysis, the DHA three-dimensional model was applied to the analysis of epistolary discourse (Reisigl and Wodak, 2009, p.93); such an approach allows for the identification and analysis of the discursive strategies employed in the letters by the soldier letter-writers to share their experiences of the conflict with family at home. The third analysis examines the corpus adopting a psycholinguistic perspective and seeks to identify instances of expressive codeswitching between English (L1), Scots (L2) and French (L3) with the twofold aim of verifying the language preference for emotion and emotion-laden words, and of investigating how the “emotional context” of the trenches may play a meaningful role in the processing of emotion words. By adopting three diverse approaches for the analysis of the corpus, the thesis seeks to identify and document the key features of the soldier letters in order to better understand the dynamics and characteristics of such writings.
CATENACCIO, PAOLA
CALVI, MARIA VITTORIA
CDA, DHA, epistolary discourse, Great War, semi-literate
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
WORTHY OF REMEMBRANCE: A LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF LETTERS WRITTEN BY SEMI-LITERATE SCOTTISH SOLDIERS FROM THE TRENCHES OF THE GREAT WAR / K.j. Lawson ; tutor: P. Catenaccio ; coordinatore: M. V. Calvi. - : . Università degli Studi di Milano, 2019 Feb 08. ((31. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2018. [10.13130/lawson-kirsten-jane_phd2019-02-08].
Doctoral Thesis
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
phd_unimi_R11178.pdf

embargo fino al 15/07/2019

Tipologia: Tesi di dottorato completa
Dimensione 135.9 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
135.9 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/612343
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact