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The Discourse of Classified Advertising Exploring the Nature of Linguistic Simplicity

by Paul Bruthiaux

  • ISBN: 9780195100327
  • ISBN10: 0195100328

The Discourse of Classified Advertising Exploring the Nature of Linguistic Simplicity

by Paul Bruthiaux

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 07/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780195100327
  • ISBN10: 0195100328
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Description: Linguists who have studied simplified varieties of a given language, such as pidgins or the language of caregivers, have tended to explain similarities in their structure by arguing that they use the same mechanisms of simplification. Bruthiaux tests this idea by looking at the structure of classified advertisements in American English, using a body of 800 ads from four categories: automobile sales, apartments for rent, jobs offered, and personal ads. Bruthiaux's thesis is that strict, uniform constraints on space should result in uniformly simple texts, no matter which category they are in, and that any variation would be due to the particular functional needs to each category. To prove this he describes the linguistic structure of classified ads, and shows that they are characterized by a minimal degree of syntactic elaboration. He then examines aspects of their conventions to highlight the role of prepatterned and prefabricated segments whose collocational rigidity may force the inclusion of otherwise dispensable items. He finds that there is indeed significant variation across ad categories in terms of syntactic elaboration, and links this to variation in the need to be explicit, as well as in anticipation of interaction between writer and reader. Finally, he examines the implications of these findings for the study of linguistic simplification and register variation.
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