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This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2006 (Index of presentations)

Encyclopedias on the web: a linguistic analysis of Wikipedia vs Britannica Online

Creator Antonella Elia
License Heckert GNU.png GNU Free Documentation License (details)
About the creator
Antonella Elia is an expert in media education and currently a Ph. D. Student in "English for Special Purposes" at the University of Naples Federico II. She has been a lecturer in ‘Humanities and Computing’ at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ since 2002
This poster presents a doctoral research in progress in ESP focused on a new textual genre: online encyclopedias. It is based particularly on an investigation of the linguistic formality of Wikipedia vs. Britannica Online’s articles. Formality is the most important variation between styles or registers. According to Heylighen and Dewaele a formal style is characterized by detachment, accuracy, and rigidity. It is unambiguous, context independent (comprehensible by wider set of persons, groups and cultures) and highly informative. The aim of this research is an empirical measurement of the stylistic formality rate in the two analysed encyclopaedic corpora. The analysis is based on the quantitative investigation of different word classes, indicative keywords, significant word-suffixes and on the average length of words, sentences and encyclopedic articles to conclude with a contrastive analysis of the respective indexes of readability (Gunning-Fox) and neutrality. Quantitative results have been supplemented with qualitative textual observations on the nature of information and organization provided in the two analyzed corpora.
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