This paper introduces medical prescriptions as a distinct text type, on the basis of 16-17th century Hungarian examples. The primary communicative function of medical prescriptions is giving instructions, a function that occurs in widely divergent forms in those early text samples. Old prescriptions did not have a constant and predefined structure. Nevertheless, in most cases, they began with an initiator, followed by the list of components and procedures required, and were often concluded by a note serving persuasion. The world of the text was complex, the sender and the recipient were not as clear-cut as they are today (doctor and pharmacist, respectively). Further components of the world of text (point of view, temporal and spatial structures, etc.) require further study, involving pragmatic aspects, too. Another interesting field of research could be the analysis of related instructional texts (like cooking recipes, gardening manuals, etc.).
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.