Speech-like syntax in written texts

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This article explores the extent to which present-day written news discourse hasbecome more speech-like regarding the structure of sentences. Three featureswill be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively: the use of conjunctions asextra-clausal linking devices, the occurrence of disintegrated clausal units, andthe loose attachment of syntactic fragments, i.e. of non-clausal material, to acompleted syntagma. The data are taken from news reports in a quality paperand a popular paper from two time samples, dating from 1900 and 2013. Theresults give evidence for an increasing informalization of British written newsdiscourse and thus align themselves with proposals to the general drift of writtenregisters toward more oral styles.


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