The Discourse of Classified Advertising: Exploring the Nature of Linguistic Simplicity

Hardcover | July 11, 1996

byPaul Bruthiaux

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Linguists who have studied simplified varieties of a given language, such as pidgins or the language of care-givers, have tended to explain similarities in their structure by the fact that they use the same mechanisms of simplification. Bruthiaux tests this idea by looking at the structure ofclassified ads in American English, using a body of 800 ads from four categories: automobile sales, apartments for rent, help wanted, 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 needs of each category. To prove this he describes the linguistic structure of classified ads, andshows that they are characterized by a minimal degree of morphosyntactic elaboration. He then examines aspects of their conventions to highlight the role of pre-patterned and prefabricated segments whose collocational rigidity may force the inclusion of otherwise dispensable items. He finds thatthere is indeed significant variation across ad categories in terms of morphosyntactic elaboration, and concludes that this is due to a greater or lesser need to be explicit, as well as a greater or lesser anticipation of interaction. Finally, he examines the implications of these findings for thestudy of linguistic simplification and register variation.

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From Our Editors

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...

From the Publisher

Linguists who have studied simplified varieties of a given language, such as pidgins or the language of care-givers, have tended to explain similarities in their structure by the fact that they use the same mechanisms of simplification. Bruthiaux tests this idea by looking at the structure ofclassified ads in American English, using a ...

Paul Bruthiaux is at American Language Institute, USC.

other books by Paul Bruthiaux

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.71 × 0.79 inPublished:July 11, 1996Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195100328

ISBN - 13:9780195100327

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From Our Editors

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

Editorial Reviews

"...a welcome contribution to liguistic discussion. It is clearly organized, has a very useful survey of work done in the field, and presents a thorough analysis of the corpus....a valuable contribution to the discussion of fundamental linguistic issues. Its argument is sound, and itcompetently fills a gap in the small number of register studies which exist."--Language in Society