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Jurebassos and Linguists: The East India Company and Early Modern English Words for 'Interpreter'
Samuli Kaislaniemi
60-73 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper uses the records of the early English East India Company (EIC) to look at whether and how the lexis of early EIC employees differed from "normal" Early Modern English. The focus of the paper is on words for 'interpreter.' It is found that Early Modern English did not have a single word for the job category of 'interpreter,' but a range of near-synonyms existed. The EIC is found to have played some part in the development of English words for 'interpreter.' The EIC records prove to be an underused source of linguistic evidence, which can be fruitfully used to gain valuable insights into Early Modern English, particularly in language contact situations.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 2008 Symposium on New Approaches in English Historical Lexis (HEL-LEX 2)
edited by R. W. McConchie, Alpo Honkapohja, and Jukka Tyrkkö
Table of contents
Printed edition: $220.00