Textual structures in eighteenth-century newspaper advertising.
The linguistic study of eighteenth-century newspaper advertisements has been a neglected area of research due to the unavailability of quantitatively sufficient material. This problem has been overcome, however, with the compilation of the 1.5 million word Zurich English Newspaper Corpus (ZEN) a computerised text collection consisting of complete newspaper issues printed in London between 1661 and 1791. This corpus provides not only interesting texts from different newspaper sections (for example domestic news, foreign news or Crown proclamations), it also contains over 3,000 advertisements for numerous products. The current study is an investigation of two product samples taken from a subcorpus of the ZEN material, namely 368 medical advertisements and 1,184 bb1cook advertisements. The aim of the investigation was to identify typical components that constitute an advertisement in the eighteenth century. In order to understand advertising at this particular point of time, the development of early newspaper printing in England, the establishment of the London press and provincial newspapers, and the growth of advertisements in early English newspapers are discussed in the first part of the study. Particular attention is paid to book and medical advertising. The second part of the book provides information about the quantitative and qualitative approaches towards the analysis of medical advertisements and book advertisements. Four studies (Leech 1966, Suter 1993, Gieszinger 2001, and Bendei 1998) that contributed to the methodology used are presented in detail in this section. The main part of the book presents results of the analysis of the two advertising samples, medical advertisements and book advertisements, of the ZEN Corpus. Formal features, such as the headline, standing details, signature line, typographic devices, the initial capital, and digits were analysed over a period of 120 years. Additionally, content features such as the space given to the seller, price, or product were also examined. Moreover, the verbal phrases of how books or medical products were sold were studied.