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English and French Online Comments

A Text Linguistic Comparison of Popular Science Magazines


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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8. Diachronic Development of Online Comments


Chapter 7 illustrated the development of the genre “letters to the editor” during a period of 10 years. Meanwhile, the magazines launched their websites on the internet. The first entries in the Internet Archive for National Geographic are from 199620, for Discover from 199821, for Sciences et Avenir from 2002,22 and for GEO from 2001.23 It may well be that there are some gaps in the documentation of the Internet Archive. The sub-corpus for the diachronic analysis of online comments starts in 2005, which was set as a random date and for some magazines there are even gaps in the documentation after this date.

For National Geographic, the first readers’ contributions in the sub-corpus can be found in 2006 as shown in Example 14.

Example 14: National Geographic 2006 Forum, checked on 06/15/16.

The ethnocategory used for the readers’ contributions is Forums as can be seen in the tab. Below the tab, users can see where to find the readers’ contributions, which is under the rubric of NGM Communities. The Links also help to establish coherence by telling the user that the forum postings refer to a past issue called “State of the Coasts” and more specifically to an article of the same title. The posts can be sorted in various ways as can be seen in the drop-down menu, and users can switch between the posts by using the previous or next buttons. The title of the...

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