A stylistic analysis of administrative English through a qualitative and quantitative investigation of government information leaflets
Previous work in stylistics has concentrated a great deal on theory to the exclusion of practical investigation of styles. The practical investigations deal with Newspapers or Advertising copy. No thorough stylistic analysis has been made of Administrative English. A qualitative analysis of Government Information leaflets, reveals that they are stylistically distinct at all linguistic levels, but that two different types of text emerge, closely linked to the means by which the reader is addressed either personally as 'you' (P.A.) or impersonally as for example in 'the claimant (I.A.). A subsequent quantitative analysis of a selection of the most prominent stylistic features of Government Information Leaflets and their comparison with the leaflets published by financial institutions reveals that whilst most of the variables chosen are stylistic, there is little evidence to assume a single Administrative variety. Checks on the relationship between supposed style categories and the individual texts assigned to than are shown by a Cluster Analysis to be very accurate. Patterning of variables is revealed around 2 stylistic dimensions: Status and Mbdality. leaflets are distinguished from P.A. largely by Status variables. The leaflets of Financial Institutions group with P.A. texts. All three of these styles are grouped together by Modality Variables.