The volume contributes to historical pragmatics an important chapter on what has so far not been paid adequate attention to, i.e. historical metapragmatics. More particularly, the collected papers apply a meta-communicative approach to historical texts by focusing on lexis that either directly or metaphorically identifies or characterizes entire forms of communication or single acts and act sequences or minor units. Within the context of their use, such lexical expressions, in fact, provide a key for disclosing historical forms of communication; taken out of context, they build the meta-communicative lexicon.The articles follow three principal distinctions in that they investigate the meta-communicative profile of genres, meta-communicative lexical sets and meta-communicative ethics and ideologies. They cover a broad spectrum of text types that span the entire history of the English language from Anglo-Saxon chronicles to computer-mediated communication.
1. Preface and acknowledgements; 2. Introduction (by Hubler, Axel); 3. Part 1. Metacommunicative profiles of communicative genres; 4. 1.1 Cross-sectional studies; 5. Sociability: Conversation and the performance of friendship in early eighteenth-century letters (by Fitzmaurice, Susan); 6. "I write you these few lines": Metacommunication and pragmatics in nineteenth-century Scottish emigrants' letters (by Dossena, Marina); 7. 1.2 Longitudinal studies; 8. Inscribed orality and the end of a discourse archive: Metapragmatic and metadiscursive expressions in the Peterborough Chronicle (by Watts, Richard J.); 9. Managing disputes with civility: On seventeenth-century argumentative discourse (by Gotti, Maurizio); 10. The metapragmatics of civilized belligerence (by Verschueren, Jef); 11. The metapragmatics of hoaxing: Tracking a genre label from Edgar Allan Poe to Web 2.0 (by Heyd, Theresa); 12. From speaker and hearer to chatter, blogger and user: The changing metacommunicative lexicon in computer-mediated communication (by Bublitz, Wolfram); 13. Part 2. Metacommunicative lexical sets; 14. Now as a text deictic feature in Late Medieval and Early Modern English medical writing (by Taavitsainen, Irma); 15. Performative and non-performative uses of speech-act verbs in the history of English (by Kohnen, Thomas); 16. Verbs of answering revisited: A corpus-based study of their pragmatic development (by Simon-Vandenbergen, Anne-Marie); 17. A lexical approach to paralinguistic communication of the past (by Hubler, Axel); 18. Part 3. (Meta-)communicative ethics and ideologies; 19. Historical evidence of communicative maxims (by Brock, Alexander); 20. Name index; 21. Subject index