Discourse Analysis of Internet News

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Discourse Analysis of Internet News

I. Introduction
Inherited the idea of situational context from Malinwoski, Halliday abstracts the theory as semiotic construct, which consists of field, tenor and mode. Any alteration of these three elements may produce different styles of discourse. By change of the field, it can be news about politics, economy, sports, etc; by change of the tenor, it transforms into news reports, editorials and column writings; by change of the mode, it turns out to be newspaper news, broadcasting news, TV news and internet news. As we know, human language changes under the influence of various social and situational factors. Today thanks to the popularization of internet, people can get much more information via internet webpages than they used to do from TV, radio and newspaper. Generally speaking, a discourse of internet news is very recapitulative and informative. But with a further study, internet news has its own specific features, which is somehow different from the forms of discourse on newspaper, TV and radio. In order to help readers have a general knowledge of it, this paper seeks to investigate how informative it is and how it achieves such cohesion and coherence that enable readers to get clear understanding of the whole discourse.

II. Internet News - Informative discourse
As we mention above, internet news is very recapitulative and informative. Within a very limited passage length, it gives readers the general ideas and even some details and comments about what has happened and what is going on. Studying on its lexical density and information structure, we can learn how effective it delivers its information. 1. Lexical density

Lexical density is a term used to tell how much meaningful information contained in a discourse is conveyed to its target readers. In linguistic studies, lexical density refers to ratio of lexical words and total words in a discourse:

|Lexical words | |
| |* 100% |
|Total words | |

Lexical density =

Lexical words include nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbials; empty words refer to prepositions, conjunctives auxiliaries and pronouns. The following table is the lexical density of 5 pieces of internet news from Yahoo.com [1] | |Total words |Lexical words |Empty words |Lexical density | |News 1 |833 |464 |369 |55.7% | |News 2 |180 |105 |75 |58.3% | |News 3 |920 |574 |346 |62.4% | |News 4 |1096 |622 |474 |56.8% | |News 5 |567 |345 |222 |60.8% | |Average |3596 |2110 |1486 |58.67% |

From the statistics, we can see that two pieces density are above 60%; the other three are also higher than 55%, and that the average lexical density of 5 internet news is close to 60%. Although the density of internet news discourse is a little bit lower than that of broadcasting news, a type of very formal news writing, it still contains a great amount of meaningful messages, compared with the density of oral discourse, 40%[2] . 2. Information Structure

Information structure deals with the distribution, interrelationship and inner structure of given and new information of a discourse. “New information is information that the addressor believes is not known to the...
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