From Symptomes of Martirdome to Symptoms of Inclination

An Investigation of Symptom in Non-medical Writing in Early Modern English

Authors

  • Jukka Tyrkkö
  • Pauline Alkenäs
  • Esme Richardson-Owen
  • Johannes Widegren

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.778

Keywords:

symptom, signifier term, Early Modern, non-medical, corpus

Abstract

The signifier term symptom is strongly associated with the medical register, and its history in English medical writing has been studied quite extensively. This study contributes to our knowledge of the non-medical uses of symptom during the Early Modern period. Drawing on the 1.4-billion-word Early English Books Online corpus, the study examines all extant occurrences of symptom and categorises their usage. The diachronic study shows that non-medical uses of symptom emerged almost immediately after the word came into common use, and that despite its semantic association with medical prognostication and ailments of various kinds, symptom has always been used to some extent as a signifier term referring to positive events and states of being.

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Published

2022-12-28

How to Cite

Tyrkkö, J., Alkenäs, P., Richardson-Owen, E., & Widegren, J. (2022). From Symptomes of Martirdome to Symptoms of Inclination: An Investigation of Symptom in Non-medical Writing in Early Modern English. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 21(2), 108–137. https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.778

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