Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006
Hallinnon lehdistötiedotteiden kieli
Väitöskirja, syyskuu 2006.
This study seeks to answer the question of what the language of administrative press releases is like, and how and why it has changed over the past few decades. The theoretical basis of the study is provided by critical text analysis, supplemented with, e.g., the metafunction theory of Systemic Functional Grammar, the theory of poetic function, and Finnish research into syntax.
The data includes 83 press releases by the City of Helsinki Public Works Department, 14 of which were written between 1979 and 1980 (old press releases), and 69 of which were written between 1998 and 1999 (new press releases). The analysis focuses on the linguistic characteristics of the releases, their changes and variation, their relation to other texts and the extra linguistic context, as well as their genre. The core research method is linguistic text analysis. It is supplemented with an analysis of the communicative environment, based on the authors' interviews and written documents. The results can be applied to the improvement of texts produced by the authorities and even by other organizations.
The linguistic analysis focuses on features that transform the texts in the data making them guiding, detailed, and poetic. The releases guide the residents of the city using modal verbal expressions and performative verbs that enable the mass media to publish the guiding expressions on their own behalf as such. The guiding is more persuasive in the new press releases than in the old ones, and the new ones also include imperative clauses and verbless directives that construct direct interaction. The language of the releases is made concrete and structurally detailed by, e.g., concrete vocabulary, proper nouns and terms, as well as definitions, adverbials and comparisons, which are used specifically to present places and administrative organizations in detail. The rhetorical features in the releases include alliteration and metaphors, which are found in the new releases especially in the titles. The emphasized features are used to draw the readers' attention and to highlight the core contents of the texts. The new releases also include words that are colloquial in style, making the communicative situations less official. Structurally, the releases have changed from being letter-like to a more newsflash-like format. The changes in the releases can be explained by the development towards more professional communications and the more market-oriented ideology adopted in the communicative environment.
Key words: change in administrative language, press releases, critical text analysis, linguistic text analysis
Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.
© Helsingin yliopisto 2006
Viimeksi päivitetty 10.07.2006