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English and French Online Comments

A Text Linguistic Comparison of Popular Science Magazines

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John Marcus Sommer

In recent years, text and media linguistics have focused on genres in the new media. This is almost always accompanied by the question of the establishment and development of such content. Due to the diversity of genres and their dynamic development one can speak of an almost inexhaustible field of research. The book is located in this field of research. Its goal is to examine the origin and nature of readers’ comments by readers of French and English popular science magazines. Media content is dissected by using text linguistic tools. Transmedial cultures are explored across time, platforms, languages, and editing houses.

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6. Corpus

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In order to focus on the cultural dimension of the genres of readers’ contributions, I will apply methods of Contrastive Textology (Hartmann 1980; Spillner 1981). However, since contrastive analyses often implicitly assume that the texts they use are representations of (in most cases) national languages or national cultures, I follow Hauser & Luginbühl (2011) who propose conducting a multifactorial parallel text analysis. This is to raise awareness for the compilation of corpora, which has a direct impact on the results of a study. In a more recent paper Luginbühl summarizes what aspects would ideally be included in such studies (Luginbühl 2012b: 206). However, multifactorial parallel text analysis lacks the consideration of different media. This is unfortunate since it has been claimed that the media and especially communication forms also shape genres. This means that the choice of the communication form has to be included in the discussion of cultural comparisons. Additionally, on the Internet considerations about the national origin of the texts are quite difficult to make as potentially anyone with access to the Internet could produce a text. This also reflects a change due to the medium of choice. While the print media still have primary national markets, online media drastically exceed these markets. Still, the national origin of a magazine can be considered. In some cases various languages can be found in the readers’ contributions of such a magazine. Very often (especially for the English contributions), readers come from different countries. Accordingly, the criteria for...

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