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

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Description

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 of classified 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, and shows 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 that there 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 the study of linguistic simplification and register variation.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 148.1 x 218.2 x 21.6mm | 447.88g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • tables
  • 0195100328
  • 9780195100327

Review quote

Bruthiaux's concise treatment of the specialized register of classified advertising covers many issues that are important in all ESP work ... I found the book clearly written, with frequent summary statements that made it easy to track analyses and arguments that had been presented ... Bruthiaux's volume makes valuable contributions, including clearly showing how issues important to ESP are manifest in the discourse of classified ads. * Susan Conrad, Iowa State University *show more

Back cover copy

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.show more