What is it about?

This text deals with the language of perspective in a set of texts written by women in the seventeenth-century. Writers combined necessity modal devices and probability modal devices in order to claim authority and credibility in a male-dominating area of knowledge, i.e. medicine.

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Why is it important?

The main contribution is to highlight the way in which women, both unlike and similar to men, claim their own territory in scientific matters.


This article was a pleasure to write because we could demonstrate something we felt as readers, and that is the powerful devices effective and epistemic modals represent, both today and in earlier periods. We wanted also to show that seventeenth-century women writers were also well aware of this potential of certain linguistic strategies.

Francisco Alonso Almeida
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Stancetaking in seventeenth-century prefaces on obstetrics, Journal of Historical Pragmatics, February 2014, John Benjamins,
DOI: 10.1075/jhp.15.1.01alo.
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