Call out: study on the shaping of language

Call out: study on the shaping of language

You are invited to participate in a study of editorial intervention in published English texts. The purpose of the study is to investigate the role that editors (sub-editors, copyeditors, text editors) of different written, published text types play in ongoing language variation and change.

The study will be conducted by Melanie Ann Law, currently enrolled for a Cotutelle PhD at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and North-West University, Vaal Triangle campus, South Africa under the supervision of:

Specifically, we are investigating what editors do when they encounter particular linguistic features in the texts that they edit. We are comparing this in two varieties of English – Australian English and South African English.

In order to do this,  we work with large collections of authentic texts. We are building two parallel, aligned collections of English unedited and edited texts, one for each of the two varieties under investigation. These two collections each comprise texts from five published text types:

  • Academic texts (academic articles appearing in scholarly journals, academic books, and dissertations and theses)
  • Instructional texts (schoolbooks, teacher’s guides, instruction documents and manuals, “hobby texts” such as DIY books, and administrative documents)
  • Popular texts (non-fiction, popular books, and magazines)
  • Fiction (narratives including short stories, novellas and novels)
  • Reportage (news reports and newsletters)

If you are interested in being involved, Ms Law is directly contactable at melanie.law@students.mq.edu.au or melanie.law@nwu.ac.za. You can also download the Participant Information and Consent Form here.

NewsMediaWorks is not affiliated with this study, nor has any further information.

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Please also note that the ethical aspects of this study have been approved by the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee and the North-West University Research Ethics Committee for Language Matters.  If you have any complaints or reservations about any ethical aspect of this research, you may contact the Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee through the Director, Research Ethics & Integrity (telephone (02) 9850 7854; email ethics@mq.edu.au), or the North-West University Research Ethics Committee for Language Matters through the Chairperson, Prof. Bertus van Rooy, (telephone 0027 16910 3482; email bertus.vanrooy@nwu.ac.za).  Any complaint you make will be treated in confidence and investigated, and you will be informed of the outcome.

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