A telegram style is a form of expression characterized by enormous brevity. The telegram style is determined by an almost concise concentration on the essentials. As a result, the insignificant filling words of a message are often omitted, often with articles, possessive and personal pronouns or auxiliary verbs as well as prepositions. It is typical of the dramas of the storm and the urge, as well as of expressionism and a form of brachylogy.
The term appears for the first time in connection with the telegram. The term is derived from the Greek words tele as well as gramma, which can be translated with distance and letter. The telegram is thus a telegraph, which was used mainly for the transmission of short messages in the 19th century. Since the cost for an message calculated based on the number of letters, the telegram style was created.
Come Friday 5 pm
The above example consists only of the essential information of the message. Instead of writing I arrive on Friday at 5 pm, the message was shortened to the most important information. Here the personal pronoun I as well as the prepositions on and around was deleted. Stylistically, the message thus became an ellipse – a grammatically incomplete sentence. Another example.
Confirmed – 17 TOTE AT UNWETTER IN BRANDENBURG
The exemplary report could come from the liveticker of an online newspaper or from a TV broadcast. At the same time attempts are being made to pack a great deal of information in a few words by means of artificial scarcity. This is not about the savings of expenditure, but for the same reason, to achieve with signs as far as possible a statement maximum. Even headlines often have such a style.
Consequently, this style is a form of expression in which a message of deliberate violation of grammatical norms is taken as briefly as possible. But even if the term is due to the writing and dictation of telegrams, it can be found in the literature, although it is mainly found in dramas. Frequently in the form of the monologue or as a stitch myth.
WALTER: – – – Can anyone else here in the place -?
ADAM: No, in fact –
WALTER: The preacher, perhaps.
ADAM: The preacher? Of the –
WALTER: Or schoolmaster.
The extract comes from the work Der zerbrochne Krug, a comedy in Blankversen, by Heinrich von Kleist. Here, too, we are confronted with a very strong shortage, which is why the recipient (reader, listener) must partly guess which information is actually communicated there. Accordingly, this shortening can be described as a telegram style and a form of brachylogy.
Overview: Characteristics, effect and function of the telegram style
The term can be derived from the telegram, which still enjoyed great popularity in the late 20th century to provide news. In this case, costs were calculated according to the number of letters, which is why a clear brevity was developed when writing such messages: the so-called telegram style.
This is characterized by the reduction to the essentials, whereby usually articles, possessive and personal pronouns or auxiliary verbs and prepositions are dispensed with. The content of such messages, however, remains valid, but often has grammatical errors.
The term can, however, be applied to all kinds of texts. Thus such a style can be made in works of prose or in dramas. Most of the time he should be hectic, or mimic the language of conversation through all sorts of sentences and shortages.