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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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11. Situation


This chapter deals with the communicative situation of the genre. Part of the communicative situation are the participation framework and the time over which threads develop. For the year 2015 in the online corpus, 34 websites were collected that contained comments. The comparison of the different platforms in Tab. 4 shows that the commenting behavior on the websites differs considerably. It refers to the raw number of single comments found in the sub-corpora.

Tab. 4: Number of comments per group

In addition to the comparison of single comments, the number of threads can also be compared. There are various ways for threads to emerge. Firstly, the threaded view as a part of the communication form indicates a thread. Secondly, if there was no threaded view, comments were coded as conversations/threads, if address terms were used such as the @-address, the nickname, etc. These address terms make it possible to identify the reference between two comments, which also form a thread without a visual representation in the layout.

Tab. 5: Comparison number of threads with two participants

As Tab. 5 shows, most threads only consist of two participants, which makes this participation structure the typical one for conversations. However, there are also conversations with more participants as indicated in Tab. 6.

Tab. 6: Comparison number of threads with more than 3 participants

The commenting time is also part of the communicative situation. Generally...

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