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Historical Discourse The Language of Time, Cause and Evaluation by Caroline Coffin

Historical Discourse The Language of Time, Cause and Evaluation

Part of the Continuum Discourse Series


Historical Discourse The Language of Time, Cause and Evaluation by Caroline Coffin

This is an important analysis of the language of time, cause and evaluation in historical texts studied by students at secondary school, looking at the implications for making meaning in historical writing. Historical Discourse analyses the importance of the language of time, cause and evaluation in both texts which students at secondary school are required to read, and their own writing for assessment. In contrast to studies which have denied that history has a specialised language, Caroline Coffin demonstrates through a detailed study of historical texts, that writing about the past requires different genres, lexical and grammatical structures. In this analysis, language emerges as a powerful tool for making meaning in historical writing.Presupposing no prior knowledge of systemic functional linguistics, this insightful book will be of interest to researchers in applied linguistics and discourse analysis, as well as history educators. Discourse is one of the most significant concepts of contemporary thinking in the humanities and social sciences as it concerns the ways language mediates and shapes our interactions with each other and with the social, political and cultural formations of our society. The Continuum Discourse series aims to capture the fast-developing interest in discourse to provide students, new and experienced teachers and researchers in applied linguistics, ELT and English language with an essential bookshelf. Each book deals with a core topic in discourse studies to give an in-depth, structured and readable introduction to an aspect of the way language in used in real life.


This book makes a major contribution to the study of historical discourse and while it will be of interest to teachers of history, it will in addition be of considerable interest to those who work in discourse studies generally- linguists, applied linguists and educational linguists. Frances Christie, Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne and Honorary Professor, University of Sydney 'Coffin's Historical Discourse provides a systematic, informative and insightful description of the nature of historical discourse, it's function and role, and of its pedagogic potential in the context of secondary schools... Historical Discourse is an exceptionally well-written book that expounds on the role of language in learnning and teaching history. It offers a systematic and comprehensive account of a rich array of language resources that are critical to success in history and provides valuable insights into the nature of, and the teaching and learning of historical discourse
Honglin Chen, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Australia

About the Author

Dr Caroline Coffin is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University, UK.

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Book Info

Publication date

27th November 2008


Caroline Coffin

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


224 pages


Semantics, discourse analysis, etc
Historical & comparative linguistics



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