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English Language and Linguistics 16.2: 261–280. C  Cambridge University Press 2012 doi:10.1017/S1360674312000056
A bit of this and a bit of that: on social identification in Early and Late Modern English letters
MINNA NEVALA
University of Helsinki
(Received 10 December 2011; revised 29 February 2012)
This article deals with the use of deictic pronouns this/these and that/those as demonstrative determiners in person-referential terms in Early and Late Modern English personal letters. The material for the study comes from the Corpus of Early English Correspondence and its Extension. The data chosen for this study cover personal correspondence between 1600 and 1800. The main purpose of the study is to show the link between the use of such demonstratives and what e.g. Tajfel & Turner (1979; also Hogg & Abrams 1988) call social identification. Since previous research has shown that the use of person reference in Present-Day English is biased towards group distinction, linking positive characteristics to members of one’s in-group and distancing people in the out-group with negative reference, it is probable that this was the case in historical language use as well.

The study shows that most of the referents in the letter writers’, and in many cases also in the recipients’, in-group are indexed with positive descriptions and reference terms in positive contexts, whereas identifiable out-group referents mostly receive negative descriptions. The negatively, positively and neutrally evaluative functions were found to be central during both centuries. The neutral function is more prevalent than the others in the seventeenth century, but the negative and positive gain more emphasis in the eighteenth century. This shows that when both pronouns increasingly started to appear as connotative demonstrative determiners, their use as mere indexicals decreased. Overall, we can conclude that although the historical use of demonstrative pronouns as determiners in reference did not show a similar bias towards negative foregrounding to their Present- Day English equivalents, there is some indication that a change towards a more specialised use was on the way from the eighteenth century onwards.

1 Introduction
The dynamic nature of reference means not only that terms are used to shift between different deictic positions but also that they can be used to express the speaker’s attitude towards the referent. Stivers (2007), for example, has found this to be true of what she calls alternative recognitionals, such as demonstrative pronouns this and that, in particular. Whereas the name is considered the unmarked reference form for recognitionals, alternative terms not only refer to a person but often are also markedly used to perform a certain pragmatic action, such as complaining. This article deals with the use of deictic pronouns this/these and that/those as demonstrative determiners in person-referential terms in Early and Late Modern English personal letters. The material for the study comes from the Corpus of Early English Correspondence and its Extension. The data chosen for this study cover personal correspondence between 1600 and 1800. The period in question has been 262 MINNA NEVALA

shown to be critical in relation to changes in, for example, the use of address forms, as well as person reference (see e.g. Nevala 2004, 2009).
The main purpose of the study is to show the link between the use of such demonstratives and what e.g. Tajfel & Turner (1979; also Hogg & Abrams 1988) call social identification. It concerns when and why individuals identify with social in-groups and adopt shared attitudes to members of the out-group. Moreover, my study concentrates on the diachronic use of referential expressions, which is then mirrored against studies on the present-day use of demonstrative determiners in reference. Since research shows that use of person reference in Modern English is biased towards group distinction, linking positive...
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