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Distinctions Among Types of Periodicals: Language

This will help you understand what type of print publication you are dealing with.

Language

LANGUAGE

The type of language used in a periodical reflects the subject matter and intended audience of that publication.  Language is just one of the many clues that alerts the reader to the level of complexity of the magazine or journal.  Subject-specific terminology, often referred to as jargon, may be difficult for non-experts of a particular field of study to understand.  At the other end of the spectrum, some magazines use very general language in order to include a wider audience with diverse educational backgrounds. 

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Academic Journals Substantial
News/General
Interest
Popular
Magazines
Newspapers
Language Employ specialized terminologies which often only a handful of scholars might understand  Avoid jargon and use language that is appropriate for an educated readership  Use no jargon or subject-specific knowledge  Use common words and simple sentence structures 
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Academic Journals -- Employ specialized terminologies which often only a handful of scholars might understand 

The terms highlighted below illustrate the nature of the terminology used in an academic journal such as the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

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Substantial News/General Interest --Avoid jargon and use language that is appropriate for an educated readership

The passage below is written in a formal manner but can nonetheless be understood by the average reader.

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Popular Magazines -- Use no jargon or subject-specific knowledge

The language used in this exerpt from an article in People is written in an informal manner and easy to understand.

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Newspapers -- Use common words and simple sentence structures

Most newspapers try to attract as a large an audience as possible. It may happen that only a minority of a given paper's readership are educated beyond high school. Often editorial policies will require that writers keep their prose at a fairly low reading level.

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