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Textual Comparison on Blog and Journal Summary

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 4553 words Published: 1st Sep 2017

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In the following I will be reporting on two texts containing a similar research different in terms of presentation: one is a blog and the other is a journal summary. Of importance however, is not their text presentation mode but on how their respective writers made their lexicogrammatical choices. I chose to work with the following features: noun group composition and lexical density.

Lexical density

I computed the lexical density of the texts by estimating how each writer used lexical as well as grammatical units in total.

The entire blog text has a lexical density of 53.78% while the journal article summary has a lexical density of 55.61%. This is an indicator that the journal article has a huge quantity of information-carrying words. The blog text, on the other hand, has comparatively limited information-carrying words. Mostly, you will find incomplete clauses in the blog text like the writer was constructing his/ her own utterances. For example, how the blog post used “The five largest statewide whooping cough epidemics identified” as the journal writer used “The 5 largest statewide epidemics had substantial proportions “. Seemingly, the writer had little time to ponder and plan what they wanted to write. The journal writer had more time to plan as well as shape the units of meaning they wanted to use comparatively. The writer of the journal sufficiently selected the best lexical word befitting, reviewed the text and replaced words before he submitted the text compared to the blogger. The writer of the journal also seems to be well equipped when it comes to vocabulary as well as word finding. Comparatively, the blogger has more difficulties finding words and with their vocabulary. Additionally, the lexical density tells us that there is more information in the journal text compared to the blog text. True to this, the journal text has 355 words and the blog text has 308 words (excluding the last bit about requesting for a copy).

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Take “Of the 970 measles cases with detailed vaccination data, 574 cases were unvaccinated despite being vaccine-eligible and 405 (70.6%) of these had nonmedical exemptions (e.g., exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons, as opposed to medical contraindications; 41.8% of total)” from the journal article summary – it has a lexical density of 48.84%. A similar edition of the blog is “Of the 970 measles cases with accompanying vaccination data, 574 cases were unvaccinated despite being eligible to receive the immunization and 405 cases had nonmedical vaccine exemptions, such as religious or philosophical opposition to vaccines”, which has 54.29%. Here, the writer of the blogger used more lexical words in the sentence compared to the writer of the journal to tell the same story. The blogger also used lesser words i.e. 35 while the writer of the journal text used 40 words. In the given text, the blogger came strong with his/ her words and overtook the writer of the journal when he said, “despite being eligible to receive the immunization”. The journal writer simply wrote, “despite being vaccine-eligible”. For the reader, it is easier to understand the blogger because it is not difficult for anyone who is not equipped with vocabularies to know what ‘eligible’ by itself means. The blogger explicitly tells us how the subject(baby), and the object(vaccine) relate by telling us how the subject would have had an action performed on it. The other sentence does not clearly depict the object nor talk more on it nor the action. When the journal writer uses ‘vaccine-eligible’, the sentence comes out as vague.

Taking this sentence apart from the text, the lexical words give us a general idea of what the whole text is about which is what the blogger did. The journal writer decided to take the other approach by using grammatical, non-lexical words more to assist us to make a whole from the pieces. Judging from this alone, the blogger intended to convey more information compared to the writer of the journal.

See how in the journal text the writer says “However, several pertussis outbreaks also occurred in highly vaccinated populations indicating waning immunity”. The whole sentence has lexical words except for the word ‘in’. the lexical density is a clean 92.31%. For the same text in the blog, it amassed a 68.18% lexical density. The prepositions and determinants replaced lexical words. “However, the study also noted that epidemics of whooping cough occurred in vaccinated populations too which highlights the issue of waning immunity”. The blogger uses more words because they have incorporated grammatical non-lexical words but that does not increase the density of the sentence. I feel the blogger already told us what they study was about thus, saying ‘which highlights the issue of waning immunity’ would have been replaced by, ‘highlighting waning immunity’. More lexical units, more density less tautology but still maintaining the meaning.

When it gets to the general text, the journal writer’s text is more expository compared to the blog text. The reason their lexical densities are not that far apart is because they both used information-bearing as well as lexical words, only that one excelled at it more.

Noun group composition.

With the noun groups, I tackled the four common noun phrases: pronouns, nouns alone, nouns + determinants and nouns + modifiers+ determinants.

When it comes to parts of speech, the journal has 37.08% usage of nouns, 5.48% of adjectives, 5.48% of verbs, 1.83% of adverbs, 15.67% of prepositions, 2.09% of pronouns, 4.18% of auxiliary verbs.

The blog text has 27.32% usage of nouns, 7.92% of adjectives, 14.48% of verbs, 4.37% of adverbs, 17.49% of prepositions, 3.55% of pronouns and finally, a 5.19% of auxiliary verbs.

There are two rules that simply govern how noun groups are used in English. One of them is that many noun phrases have at least two essentials. When a noun is not used in a generalizing manner, there is at least a determiner and a noun. A determiner could be a quantifier like “many”, a possessive like “my”, a numeral like “thirty”, a question word like “whose” and finally an article like “the”.

The writer of the journal used longer and many noun phrases compared to the blogger. He was trying to be very accurate about the information being conveyed because it was complex. I made a count of 25 noun phrases with determiners in the blog text. Comparatively, I made 31 noun phrases with determiners in the journal text. When it comes to the noun phrases with determiners as well as modifiers, the journal text beat the blog text by far. An indicator of how complexly the writer of the journal viewed the information before he accurately relayed it. I feel the blogger was very sketchy when conveying the information. He did not want to delve deeper rather just give the reader an idea of the matter at hand.

The writers have both tried to be very noun-centric. They have used many noun phrases as well as been very modest with their variety of verbs. An example is at some point; the two writers have used a noun phrase repeatedly without making use of the pronouns. They ended up repeating a specific term as it was the only way to refer to the concept in the text. An instance is in how they both have used the noun phrase ‘The United States’ at least more than twice.

The second rule that governs how noun groups are used in English claims other multiple noun phrases also use modifiers. Modifiers can be adjectives, subordinate nouns, adjectival clauses, relative phases or prepositional clauses. Using examples in the blog texts, ‘a substantial number’ and ‘the 5 largest statewide whooping cough cases’. The determiners in the two examples are ‘a’ and ‘the’. Substantial, largest, statewide as well as whooping are adjectives. In this case, ‘largest statewide whooping’ is an adjectival clause. Lastly, the nouns are ‘number’, and ‘cough cases’. 5 counts as a number which is just part of the clause but is not necessarily important to the clause.

An example from the journal text is ‘this phenomenon improved understanding’. This is the determinant here. Phenomenon improved is the adjectival clause and understanding is the noun in this case. Noun phrases are an essential fragment of every sentence.

Noun phrases function first as the subject of clauses. For example, in ‘the scientific literature’, scientific acts as the subject.Secondly, they act as subject complements. Take “that have occurred since measles was declared eliminated”. Measles is the subject and eliminated is the subject complement.

Thirdly, they function as the direct objects e.g. epidemic in the phrase ‘The 5 largest statewide whooping cough epidemic’.

Conclusion.

A journal text tends to try and be as formal as can be while the blog can be informal. They thus differ in their lexical densities because the writer relayed the information stressing the information differently. The building of noun phrases in the journal is also taken seriously because there are more complex clauses compared to the blogger. The blogger seemingly rushes through to make a submission while the journal writer has to think through and integrate so many aspects of grammar in his writing before submitting.

APPENDIX.

Blog’s noun group composition.

Noun alone

pronoun

Determiner + noun

Determiner + modifier+ noun

Refusal

They

The vaccine

A substantial number

Disease

They

The spread

The scientific literature

Jama

whose

This month

The 5 largest statewide whooping cough epidemic

U.S>

Who

The study

The recent surge whooping cough cases

Measles cases

Themselves

The disease

An unfortunate comeback

Patients

They

The U.S.

The largest number

Vaccine refusal

The study

Risk

That diseased

Cough

A record low

Immunity

The immunization

Researchers

The study

Reporters

The researches

Measles outbreaks

The study authors

Cough outbreaks

The issue

Incidence

The vaccine

Measles cases

The study

Percent

A rise

Children

Some groups

Parents

The U.S.

Vacation

Percent

Patients

Measles cases

Vaccination data

Cases

Opposition

Vaccines

Cough outbreaks

Studies

Vaccination data

Percent

Percent

Patients

Purpose

Epidemics

Coughs

Populations

Immunity

People

Measles

Percent

People

Risk

Factors

Measles

Cough

People

CDC

Measles

Disease

Cases

Cases

Cough

Cases

Street

Journal’s noun group composition

Noun alone

Pronoun

Determiner + noun

Determiner + modifier+ noun

State vaccine mandates

Their

The United States

‘This phenomenon improved understanding’

Vaccine delay refusal

A review

‘The published literature’

Diseases

The United States

‘that have occurred since measles was declared eliminated”

Measles

We

The association

‘That assessed diseases risk’

Pertussis

The epidemiology

‘Which described measles reports’

Parents

These diseases

‘No history of measles vaccination’

Children

The epidemiology

‘The measles cases with detailed vaccination data’

Immunizations

The association

‘These had non-medical exemptions’

Exemptions

The epidemiology

‘Which included 10,609 individuals for whom vaccination status was reported.’

Association

The united states

‘The 5 largest statewide epidemics had substantial proportions’

Outbreaks

The context

‘A substantial portion’

Disease

These outbreaks

‘The phenomenon of vaccine refusal’

Attention

The U.S measles cases

‘An increased risk’

Exemption

The era

‘An increased risk’

Pertussis

Some populations

‘the lowest point in U.S pertussis incidence”

Pertussis

Diseases

U.S. outbreaks

Search

November

Reports

U.S measles outbreaks

Measles

January

Studies

Vaccine delay

Exemption

Measles studies

Summaries

Outbreak reports

Age range

Years

Cases

Month

Half

Cases

Vaccine eligible

Exemption

Reasons

Contradictions

Percent

Total

Reports

Pertussis outbreaks

Age range

Years

Range

Percent

Percent

Individuals

Pertussis outbreaks

Populations

Immunity

Reports

Outbreaks

Vaccination data

Cases

Percent

Elimination

Measles

People

Vaccines

Individuals

Pertussis resurgence

Immunity

Vaccine refusal

Factors

Blog’s lexical density classification by sentence.

No. of sentences

Lexical density by every sentence.

Lexical density

1

vaccine refusal is fueling the spread of potentially deadly diseases.

70%

2

“Published this month in Jama the study found that a substantial number of U.S. measles cases that happened after 2000 when the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. occurred among patients who were left purposefully unvaccinated i.e. vaccine refusal.”

48.84%

3

“They also found that vaccine refusal was associated with an increased risk for whooping cough though waning immunity seems to be contributing as well.”

58.33%

4

“To conduct the study researchers combed through the scientific literature for reports of measles outbreaks between 2000 and 2015 and for whooping cough outbreaks since 1977 when incidence of that disease reached a record low.”

48.57%

5

“They identified more than 1400 measles cases since 2000 of which more than 56 percent occurred in children whose parents refused vaccination.”

47.83%

6

“Among the five largest statewide whooping cough epidemics identified between 24 percent and 45 percent of patients were unvaccinated or undervaccinated.”

57.14%

7

“Of the 970 measles cases with accompanying vaccination data 574 cases were unvaccinated despite being eligible to receive the immunization and 405 cases had nonmedical vaccine exemptions such as religious or philosophical opposition to vaccines.”

54.29%

8

“in eight of 12 whooping cough outbreaks from nine studies that included vaccination data the researchers found that 59 percent to 93 percent of unvaccinated patients were left unvaccinated on purpose.”

58.06%

9

“however, the study also noted that epidemics of whooping cough occurred in vaccinated populations too which highlights the issue of waning immunity.”

68.18%

10

“the study authors concluded that refusing the vaccine against measles meant that people were putting not only themselves but also other people who had been vaccinated at risk.”

57.14%

11

“they also wrote that while the recent surge whooping cough cases may be down to other factors too the study clearly demonstrates that refusing to be vaccinated against measles has led to a rise in whooping cough among some groups of people.”

53.66%

12

“according to CDC though measles was declared eliminated in the u s in 2000 the contagious disease is making an unfortunate comeback spiking to 667 cases in 2014.”

42.86%

13

“as for highly contagious whooping cough the disease reached a recent high in 2012 with more than 48000 documented cases that’s the largest number of reported cases since 1955.”

51.72%

Journal’s lexical density by sentence.

No. of sentences.

Lexical density by every sentence

Lexical density.

1

“association between vaccine refusal and vaccine preventable diseases in the united states a review of measles and pertussis. “

58.82%

2

“parents hesitant to vaccinate their children may delay routine immunizations or seek exemptions from state vaccine mandates.”

70.59%

3

“recent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases in the united states have drawn attention to this phenomenon.”

60%

4

“improved understanding of the association between vaccine refusal and the epidemiology of these diseases is needed.”

50%

5

“to review the published literature to evaluate the association between vaccine delay refusal or exemption and the epidemiology of measles and pertussis 2 vaccine preventable diseases with recent us outbreaks. “

55.17%

6

“search of PubMed through November 30 2015 for reports of us measles outbreaks that have occurred since measles was declared eliminated in the united states after January 1 2000 endemic and epidemic pertussis since the lowest point in us pertussis incidence after January 1 1977 and for studies that assessed disease risk in the context of vaccine delay or exemption.”

48.33%

7

“we identified 18 published measles studies 9 annual summaries and 9 outbreak reports which described 1416 measles cases individual age range 2 weeks84 years 178 cases younger than 12 months and more than half 56 8 had no history of measles vaccination.”

57.14%

8

“of the 970 measles cases with detailed vaccination data 574 cases were unvaccinated despite being vaccine eligible and 405 70 6 of these had nonmedical exemptions e g exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons as opposed to medical contraindications 41 8 of total.”

48.84%

9

“among 32 reports of pertussis outbreaks which included 10 609 individuals for whom vaccination status was reported age range 10 days87 years the 5 largest statewide epidemics had substantial proportions range 24 45 of unvaccinated or undervaccinated individuals.”

55.26%

10

“However, several pertussis outbreaks also occurred in highly vaccinated populations indicating waning immunity. “

92.31%

11

“Nine reports describing 12 outbreaks provided detailed vaccination data on unimmunized cases among 8 of these outbreaks from 59 through 93 of unvaccinated individuals were intentionally unvaccinated.”

55.56%

12

“A substantial proportion of the u s measles cases in the era after elimination were intentionally unvaccinated.”

47.06%

13

“the phenomenon of vaccine refusal was associated with an increased risk for measles among people who refuse vaccines and among fully vaccinated individuals.”

57.69%

14

“although pertussis resurgence has been attributed to waning immunity and other factors vaccine refusal was still associated with an increased risk for pertussis in some populations.”

57.69%

Work cited.

Laufer, Batia, and Paul Nation. “Vocabulary size and use: Lexical richness in L2 written production.” Applied linguistics 16.3 (1995): 307-322.

Johansson, Victoria. “Lexical diversity and lexical density in speech and writing: a developmental perspective.” Working Papers in Linguistics 53 (2009): 61-79.

Abney, Steven Paul. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987. Pg. 45

 

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