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Towards a Linguistic Definition of ‘Simplified Medical English’: Applying Textometric Analysis to Cochrane Medical Abstracts and Their Plain Language Versions

Abstract : The Cochrane organisation publishes large-scale meta-analyses of clinical trials (Systematic Reviews). These are summarised in two distinct types of text: Sci- entific Abstracts (ABS), which target experts and researchers, and Plain Lan- guage Summaries (PLS), aimed at the general public. Although the Cochrane Style Manual and the PLEACS standards (McIlwain et al. 2013) provide some general advice on writing in “simple and accessible English”, Cochrane does not define what is meant by Plain English in formal linguistic terms. In this paper, we set out to identify some of the main lexico-grammatical characteristics of the simplified language used intuitively by Cochrane authors. In particular, we use textometric analysis to examine the differences between a representative parallel corpus of ABS and PLS. On the basis of these observations, we provide some tentative recommendations for any future style-guide for writing and editing Cochrane PLS.
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https://hal-univ-paris.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03190069
Contributor : Maria Zimina-Poirot <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 12:15:50 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 3:30:21 AM

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Christopher Gledhill, Hanna Martikainen, Alexandra Mestivier, Maria Zimina-Poirot. Towards a Linguistic Definition of ‘Simplified Medical English’: Applying Textometric Analysis to Cochrane Medical Abstracts and Their Plain Language Versions. LCM - La Collana / The Series, 2019, 9788879169196, pp.91-114. ⟨10.7359/919-2019-gled⟩. ⟨hal-03190069⟩

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