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Unformatted text preview: oun phrases
in newspaper discourse with the following words:
The present study suggests that newspaper prose has been linguistically
innovative in other ways designed to achieve a compressed style. That is,
devices like noun–noun sequences, heavy appositive post-modifiers, and
noun complement clauses are especially characteristic of newspaper prose.
These features are all literate devices used to pack information into relatively few words. These devices are also commonly used in academic
prose, together with functionally similar devices like attributive adjectives
and prepositional phrases as postmodifiers. However, the features discussed above are noteworthy because they are considerably more common
11 Charles Alexis de Tocqueville was a 19th c. French historian and politician, the
founder of liberalism who described the emerging democratic society and the processes
characteristic of it. Corpus linguistics and the language of mass media 69 in newspaper prose. That is, at the same time that news has been developing more popular oral styles, it has also been innovative in developing literate styles with extreme reliance on compressed noun-phrase structures. Ni compares the stylistic differences between four different genres (which
he calls registers): academic writing, news, novels and short stories, and
conversations. As could be expected, all of them differ with respect to the
use of NPs. What’s more, he has also run frequency counts for pronoun,
and non-pronoun headed NPs, and NPs with pre- and post-modifiers
within various register of the mass media language, i.e. press news reports, press editorials and broadcast news, and found out that there is an
inside variation within the media language as well.
Ayto attempts to demonstrate that the press are responsible for either the introduction or at least the popularisation of many lexical blends.
In this way he also suggests that the language of the press is distinct from
other forms of writing.
Aitchison (2003) conducts a detailed analysis of the vocabulary
used in press reporting as well as President Bush’s speeches following the
9/11 attacks in the US. She shows that the rhetoric used by Bush changes
from the early ‘crusade’ to a ‘war on terror’ wording. When it comes to
press reports, Aitchison (2003: 200) concludes that
the language used was composed of mostly everyday words. A significant
characteristic was the large number of different lexical items involved, all
relating to disaster and tragedy. These were often polysyllabic, and were
frequently combined into longer sequences. Neologisms and figurative
language were rare, and gruesome ‘facts’ were exaggerated.12 12 When talking about exaggeration, Aitchison (2003: 199) refers to the factoids released by the Press concerning the number of victims of the attacks: Sunday Times on Sept.
13th 2001 wrote that 5, 818 are feared to have died, when six months later the number
dwindled significantly – The Observer on March 10th, 2002 reports...
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