Some pragmatic aspects of historical minute-making. The distinctiveness of the Quaker approach


Abstract – This paper presents findings from a pragmatic investigation into the historical practice of administrative minute-writing as a text-type developed by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) over three centuries. Why and how have Quakers developed (and still rely on) their unusual decision-recording practice, based as it is on its theological underpinning? Quantitative and qualitative findings are compared with datasets from the historical minute books of some non-Quaker historical institutions. It is evident from this investigation how present-day Quaker minute-writing methods still evince the linguistic usages first developed in the late seventeenth century, notably commissive and directive speech acts, tense usage, and realized with many rich but formulaic expressions. This contrasts with a restricted, narrative discourse favored by the more conventional style found in contemporary organizations of past eras.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v31p67

Keywords: minute-writing; Quaker; corpus-based; speech acts; orality


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