Publication details [#17455]

Fritz, Gerd. 2001. Text types in a new medium: The first newspapers (1609). Journal of Historical Pragmatics 2 (1) : 69–83.
Publication type
Article in journal
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Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The first printed newspapers in the modern sense of the word appeared in the seventeenth century. They were weekly publications which contained regular reports by correspondents from all over Europe, mainly on political matters. Although the new medium as such was innovative in its general organization, the individual news items were produced by following text patterns which already had a history of their own. The article reports recent research on the emerging constellation of text types in the first two German newspapers, the Aviso and the Relation of the year 1609. It is focussed on delineating a prototype-based typology of the relevant text types and on tracing back these forms of presentation of news items to earlier genres and media like chronicles, handwritten newsletters, printed pamphlets and biannual news collections. The general interest of this line of research as a contribution to historical pragmatics lies in the attempt to see historical text types in an evolutionary perspective, taking into account the context of text production and, as far as possible, the reactions of the reading public.