Three Steps To Understanding The Creolized Text


Our research is devoted to the understanding of the creolized mass-media text. Article in the modern printing edition is creolized the media text and as the special text type, which emergence not in the last the turn is caused by need of improving competitiveness on to comparison with online-versions, has a number of features. Continuous development of mass media "directs" semiotics complicated media text on a way of further visualization, which involves change of habitual verbally issued structures, emergence of such microtexts, as, for example, "lead", " photolegend". The printing edition, offering the reader new assistants reference points, demands also from it possession of a bit different competences for judgment of the creolized media text. Purely verbal texts are a tradition of journalism, and creolized materials became a trend only a few decades ago. German medialist is characterized by a pragmatic approach - the journalist is thinking about how to successfully “sell” the result of his work. In addition, when choosing verbal and non-verbal means, the journalist suggests possible aberrant decoding of information, but not only to eliminate potential misunderstandings. Non-standard perception can be consciously introduced into the outline of the article as a special means of influence, even (up to manipulation), but also as the possibility of expanding the field of potential meanings, the ability of the reader to interpret the information message.

Keywords: Creolized media textvisualverbal


In 2014, the West German journalist and media linguist Haller (2014) published a work entitled “Do we need newspapers? Ten reasons why the newspaper is losing ground and ten proposals how to avoid it”. Already in the publication of the following year, Haller (2015) wrote that the wonderful, 360-year-old tradition of a daily newspaper printed on paper is ending. Readers, especially those under 35, prefer to search for the latest news on the Internet, and daily newspapers are stuck in a crisis. Contribute to the crisis also reduced sales and falling advertising revenue, change of owners of publishing houses and newspapers, as well as a sharp reduction in journalistic staff. Journalists ignore a thorough analysis of trends in media transformation, refusing efforts to understand the audience and its expectations from the newspaper. If young people are often willing to give up print publications in favor of the Internet, then most of the readers of the print press are working adults over the age of 35 who still want a relevant, informative daily newspaper with high-performance information. This audience expects the newspaper to offer guidance in the daily flow of information and becomes frustrated because its newspaper seems to destroy information services and gradually becomes a storyteller. Since, according to M. Haller, the newspaper is still indispensable for an enlightened, democratically-minded society, whose representatives daily expect journalists who know their craft to have a reliable overview of what is important to know, in his work he proposes the newspaper can find its voice in a multimedia concert. Haller gives an overview of the effective operation of large print houses in Germany and the methods and means that have allowed the success of the print media. Following Haller, we tried to trace the innovations that appeared in the newspapers, but not from the “producer of the product”, but from the perspective of the recipient and answer the question whether what is being done by the journalistic community benefits the readership, helps it orient itself in the flow of information and is it always easy to take in a freshly designed message.

Problem Statement

The objective of the study is to analyze all opportunities cotextual information and possibilities of its perception.

Research Questions

The relevance of the research question is determined, first of all, by the interdisciplinary nature of the object being studied - the creolized media text is in the center of attention of both practicing journalists and linguists. In addition, the process of visualization, which is closely related to the perception of modern printed media texts, is a trend in many areas of society. The study of the production and perception of the content of a creolized media text along with visualization has potential prospects for identifying effective means of interpreting printed materials and the possibilities of influencing the target audience.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this work is to study creolized media texts in the modern press of Germany and to identify those creative technologies that are used by journalists to attract the attention of the target audience and provide the reader with news information without immersion directly into the text of the material.

Research Methods

In the course of the study, this method of analysis was used as a compositional one, namely, the structure-compositional parts of the publication material, as well as language and non-linguistic means of their design were examined in the relationship. Since the creolized media text appears as a communication between a journalist or a narrator and a recipient, the narrative method of research was also used. This method assumes to pay special attention to the communicative chain, including the sender of information, the message of the author of the work and the recipient of the message. In addition, the author resorted to discursive analysis as one of the methods of research in modern linguistics, focused on the description of the reality of speech activity.


Our choice of the topic of the message is dictated, first of all, by the fact that today the reader is offered a qualitatively different media product that requires certain knowledge and skills. The recipient is used to receiving and processing verbally arranged news information. Our focus will be on media text as a special type of text that has undergone a transformation over the past 30-40 years under the influence of competition of electronic media and has become creolized, that is, combines both verbal and extralinguistic visual means of expression. Since the recipient has to comprehend not only the traditionally used verbal language, but also widely used non-linguistic means of expressing meaning, the factors influencing the perception of the creolized media text are of particular interest to us. Media text, which has become the subject of interdisciplinary study, is a fusion of three elements - media, verbal and extralinguistic. That is why the potential meaning laid by the author of the article can be revealed by observing three aspects, the essence of which we will try to illuminate further.

First, the extralinguistic, most often visual element, which has been added to the verbal media text in recent decades, still causes a lot of controversy. Since the tendency to creolism in the media, or rather, the justifiably permissible degree of media creolization is perceived to this day ambiguously, we will try to sort out this issue by making some excursion into the past. In general, the visual (iconic, mass-media, information-communicative) turn in culture and art has been talked about for quite some time. In the 60-70s of the last century, the fashion for ocular-centrism gradually began to penetrate even into the power structures of Western European countries, marking the transition of society to a certain democratic, freedom-loving stage of development (Drabek, 2010). Like the book, which “like artillery equalized the walls of feudal castles with the earth and contributed a lot to the leveling of feudal privileges,” the e-mail revolutionizes the existing social structure, giving rise to the phenomena of the “Global Village” and transnational planetary consciousness (McLuhan, 2003).  So, William Mitchell (2002) argues that science begins in the study of the world to focus more on the image than on the text, and visual perception has eclipsed all other types. In the last decades of the 20th century, such concepts as “visual history”, “visual sociology”, and “visual journalism” appear. The attitude to the phenomenon of visual rotation is still ambiguous, you can hear the opinion of both excessive iconomania and iconophobia. Icon-phobes understand the visual turn as a radical innovation that interrupted the tradition and violated a certain cultural code of society. Appeal to iconicity is considered as a catastrophe, supplanting the letter from the culture of society by all sorts of technical means, propagating the dictatorship of the eye and changing the human nature of the individual.  There is also an understanding of the iconic turn as a cultural addition, which creates in the culture field a kind of enclave - a relatively autonomous, symbolic world with which it is necessary to improve relations. Iconic cite arguments, pointing, for example, to the birth of a new paradigm of thinking - Net-thinking (fragmentary and hypertextual), built on the so-called fractals, that is, the merit of the iconic turn and creolized text as its natural product is the amazing ability of the multidimensional vision and thinking of the recipient in the process of perception of the media text (Soloviev, 2010). Moreover, more and more, creolization is not seen as a certain escalation of visuality to the detriment of the verbal text, but rather as a complementary element in relation to the linguistic, due to the same, if we are talking about journalism, for socio-economic reasons.

Secondly, the problem of creolization is closely connected with the appearance in publicism of such a thing as “visual compositional forms”, first introduced by the German researcher Löwisch (2012). About the compositional forms of speech known since antiquity, they devoted a lot of work. Over the past decades, their nomenclature has widened considerably, and the viewing angle has also changed somewhat. The absolutely new concept of “visual compositional forms”, proposed by Löwisch, is undoubtedly connected with the increasing role of various illustrative inserts in printed material. It is curious that M. Haller pays special attention to compositional forms, more precisely the need to change them within the framework of one material in order to maintain readers' interest. However, Haller's interest relates to traditional compositional forms within the text, that is, to verbal ones.

Thirdly, the almost constant presence of the iconic component entailed the transformation of the introductory block, ̶ the photo cannot “hang in the air”, it must be organically included in a common canvas, and this is done using photo-signature or photo legend in the terminology of Häusermann (2011). In the opinion of Russian photojournalists, for example, Nikitin (1999), the “photo + text” complex is the optimal, capacious and effective way of transmitting information. In general, creolization has found the most widespread use in the heading complex of the printed media text, which, without a doubt, should be considered as a navigation mechanism promoting the optimal orientation of the reader within the article. Ways of “navigation” in the heading complex conditionally fall into two types: verbal (heading, subtitle, photo caption, lead) and non-verbal (various types of images, for example, photos, drawings, diagrams).

Such an architectonics of the material with a special selection of the introductory block has turned into a modern print media in the necessary navigation mechanism for the reader, helping to better navigate the newspaper page and make a choice in favor of one or another message. In this regard, the West German researcher Sabina Butzhammer (2012) mentions some features of reading journalistic texts, namely: the recipient starts directly reading the material in the last place, and only if he is interested in all previous components of the proposed information. The “steps” leading to the text, according to Butzhammer, are the following: publication logo, sender, recipient, introduction, authorship, postscript, text. Consequently, even in the absence of any illustrative parts of the material, the reader makes a long “path” to the text, his decision to “read - not read” is influenced by a huge number of factors that have, rather, a social connotation. If we recall the opinion of La Roche (2012) about the fact that the lead in the article is the main statement, and all the others are additional, the emphasis may well shift in favor of iconicity: as a rule, the verbally typed input is in front of the main text body and works in conjunction with illustrative material. As Novikov (1983) said back in the early 80s of the last century, the perception of a text has its own characteristics, determined by the very nature of the text, which is an object in the form of sequences of meanings. This idea, as well as possible, relates to the media text, because it combines several completely independent microtexts (photo-legend, lead, the text of the article itself) with its content, but “working” for the general meaning of the media. At the heart of each media text lies not only composition, architectonics, but also one of the text-forming strategies — narrative, iterative, performative (Lenkova, 2011). In terms of using text-forming strategies in the written discourse of the media, it is possible and necessary to talk about their specifics in this area (Lenkova, 2018). 


Of particular importance, in our opinion, is now an iterative strategy that is considered to be auto-communicative, that is, its focus on the potential recipient is rather weak, the iterative discourse function is reduced to generalization of categories, background knowledge. The use of this particular strategy in media materials becomes most relevant in connection with the development of electronic communications, in connection with the turn towards the “global village” and “planetary consciousness” that McLuhan (2003) spoke about. A necessary condition for existence in such a case becomes, according to van Dijk (1988), the presence of a single semiotic space of the author and the audience, all participants in the situation should have a single semiotic experience, that is, knowledge of the world.

On the one hand, the iterative discourse, appealing to the background knowledge of readers, to their outlook in a modern newspaper is simply necessary, because the central print media, and even more their online versions “lose citizenship”, going international. But, on the other hand, no one will ever measure the very qualitative and quantitative level of the background knowledge possessed by the target audience. In this case, at a minimum, there is a potential possibility that the “inhabitants of the global village” will not understand each other’s problems, but as a maximum, there is a danger of manipulating public opinion, with a very large number of people (Bylieva, Lobatyuk, & Rubtsova, 2017, 2018; Gashkova, Berezovskaya, & Shipunova, 2017; Kolomeyzev & Shipunova, 2017). In the conditions of modern society there are no guarantees that the theoretical knowledge necessary for disclosing the topic of the article will not be generalized in favor of the initiator of the material. In the absence of background knowledge, the initiator through the author gets the opportunity to freely manipulate public opinion. Thus, the iterative discourse, “designed” to educate and educate, in the media can be used not for entirely plausible purposes.

In connection with the text-forming strategies, one can not fail to mention the concept of “factual or nuclear utterance”. The existence of such a concept suggests that if there is a nuclear utterance, then there are some peripheral utterances. Of course, every utterance should have a meaning, but since the face has a gradation of utterances according to their degree of importance, then, therefore, it is legitimate to speak of a hierarchy of meanings within each specific journalistic material. We call these types of meanings nuclear and complementary. In addition, the composition and text-forming strategy is something that is inherent both in the media text as a whole and in its structural parts. In this case, the nuclear meaning of each microtext turns out to be additional in relation to the nuclear meaning of the factual statement of the whole article. In this connection, the question arises of how smoothly the additional meanings “work” on the nuclear meaning. The meaning of the iconic component is added to the distinguished meanings of the verbal part of the material, and again we come to a certain triunity, leading or not to the comprehension of the intention of the author of the article.

As a conclusion, we say that the perception of a printed journalistic text has now become easier, because practicing journalists, following the spirit of the times and the wishes of the audience, work not only with the word, but also on the design and structure of the material. A creolized, well-structured text seems clear and easy to understand, but this is only at first glance. The attraction of illustrative components, the emergence of new mini-texts (for example, a photo legend), a shift in the focus of attention towards an iterative strategy — all this implies a slightly different type of reader. The newspaper offers the reader guidance, but the reader, in turn, must learn to handle these guidelines.


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02 December 2019

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Lenkova, T. (2019). Three Steps To Understanding The Creolized Text. In N. I. Almazova, A. V. Rubtsova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Сulture of the Specialist of the Future, vol 73. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 517-523). Future Academy.