Article published in:Corpus Linguistics and Education in Australia
Edited by Alexandra I. García, Peter Crosthwaite and Monika Bednarek
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 43:2] 2020
► pp. 145–168
‘Is this normal?’
Examining sex education in a corpus of magazine advice columns
To properly understand sex education, it is important to consider the informal education that takes place outside the classroom. Students often seek out other resources to supplement the education they receive in school, especially to cover topics which are absent or underdeveloped in the formal sex education curriculum. A key resource for this, especially among young women, is the magazine advice column. Advice columns create a direct interaction between the reader and the magazine and encourage the disclosure of intimate, confidential information, making them a ready medium for the production and consumption of sex education. This study uses the advice columns in Dolly, a popular Australian magazine, to investigate adolescents’ concerns about normality. This research is based on a corpus of 88,000 words, with data from advice columns published 20 years apart (mid-1990s and mid-2010s), which is analyzed using keywords and concordancing. This is a unique corpus study in that it considers similarity as well as difference in the data by investigating the recurring concern with normality that is evident in both decades of the corpus.
Keywords: sex education, magazines, advice columns, corpus linguistics, discourse analysis
Published online: 03 July 2020
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