A critical discourse approach to Benjamin Martin’s preface to "An introduction to the English language and learning" (1754)
Keywords:English grammars, eighteenth century, Critical Discourse Analysis, systemic functional grammar, transitivity structures, Benjamin Martin
The purpose of the present paper is to contribute to the depiction of Martin’s role as a grammarian by analysing the preface to his grammar “An Introduction to the English Language and Learning” (1754). By using a Critical Discourse Analysis approach and a method based on systemic functional grammar, this study intends to describe the discourse structures used in the preface to fulfil its advertising function and persuade the addressee as a potential buyer or user of the grammar. Martin’s preface is characterised by a peculiarly exaggerated and aggressive tone and by a strong emphasis on the religious implications of education, all of which confer some distinction to Martin within the discourse community of eighteenth-century grammarians.
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