LINGUIST List 13.2105

Thu Aug 15 2002

Books: Computational Ling, Ingrid Westin

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  1. E.van.Broekhuizen, Language Change in English Newspaper Editorials by Ingrid Westin

Message 1: Language Change in English Newspaper Editorials by Ingrid Westin

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 04:19:01 +0000
From: E.van.Broekhuizen <>
Subject: Language Change in English Newspaper Editorials by Ingrid Westin

Title: Language Change in English Newspaper Editorials.
Series Title: Language and Computers Vol. 44
Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: Rodopi
Author: Ingrid Westin 

Hardback: ISBN: 9042008636, Pages: XVI,204 pp., Price: $ 50/ Euro 50

This work is a corpus-based study of the language of English up-market
("equality") newspaper editorials, covering the period
1900 - 1993. CENE, the Corpus of English Newspaper Editorials, was
compiled for the purposes of this study and comprises editorials from
the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, and The Times
chosen to represent periods at ten-year intervals. The language of
the editorials was investigated with regard to features that previous
research had proved to be markers of such types of discourse as might
be of interest to an investigation of the development of the language
of newspaper editorials. To begin with, sets of features associated
with the empirically defined dimensions of linguistic variation
presented in Biber (1988) were compared across decades and newspapers;
these dimensions included personal involvement and information
density, narrative discourse, argumentative discourse, abstract
discourse, and explicit reference. However, since the study showed
that the features within each set often developed in diverging
directions, the old sets were broken up and new ones formed on the
basis of change and continuity as well as of shared
linguistic/stylistic functions, specific for newspaper editorials,
among the features involved. It then became apparent that, during the
20th century, the language of the editorials developed towards greater
information density and lexical specificity and diversity but at the
same time towards greater informality, in so far as the use of
conversational features increased. The narrative quality of the
editorials at the beginning of the century gradually decreased
whereas their reporting and argumentative functions remained the same
over the years. When the features were compared across the newspapers
analyzed, a clear distinction was noticed between The Times and
the Guardian. The language of the Guardian was the most
informal and the most narrative while that of The Times was the least
so. The information density was the highest in The Times and the
lowest in the Guardian. In these respects, the Daily
Telegraph took an intermediate position. The editorials of the
Guardian were more argumentative than those of both the Daily
Telegraph and The Times. As regards lexical specificity and
diversity as well as sentence complexity, the Daily Telegraph
scored the highest and The Times the lowest while the
results obtained for the Guardian were in between the two.

Lingfield(s): Computational Linguistics 
Subject Language(s): English (Language code: ENG)
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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Thursday, January 17, 2002