Length of sentence- Changing with the Times

Here are extracts from two editorial articles in The Times of London. They appeared on the same day – 82 years apart. Note how the style of writing has changed. The language of The Times in the late 20th century certainly remains fairly formal and sophisticated by modern standards, and the sentences are fairly long, averaging about 20 words in the 1989 extract here. But the writing is still far simpler and less stilted than that of The Times in the early years of the century. The sentences in the 1907 extract average nearly 40 words in length. And more to the point, their syntax is vastly more convoluted.
He has also discovered, however, that when Molotov put his hasty signature to the agreement  with Ribbentrop, he and Stalin started the clock of a sizeable time bomb. Its tick is heard louder by the day, especially in the Baltic Republics and what is now Soviet Moldavia.
Reform at home has dictated that foreign policy be recast. Tippex has been applied to the script from which the late Mr Gromyko read so glumly and for so long. ‘No’ has given way to ‘maybe’and even occasionally to ‘why not’? It is in West Germany that Mr Gorbachov’s charm offensive has made the deepest inroads. The Soviet leader’s siren song about a common European home has beguiled large numbers of West Germans, and for many in the Federal Republic reunification is ceasing to be a repressed dream. The relationship between Germany and the Soviet Union is once again of major importance in Europe.
-The Times, 23 August 1989.
It is highly characteristic of our English way of doing business that, while many days are often spent by the House of Commons in wrangling about controversial trifles, a couple of hours at the fag-end of the session suffices for the introduction and acceptance of a measure of high imperial interest.
Such is the happy fate of the Northern Nigerian railway, disposed of yesterday in a couple of clauses of the public Works Loans Bill. Mr Runciman, the secretary of the Treasury, introduced the Bill, and Mr Churchill explained the proposal at some length, repeating in greater detail the facts which he had briefly indicated a little more than a fortnight ago. While, of course, repudiating the hint of the other side, that the Bill savoured of protection, Mr Churchill claimed that it was part of ‘the policy of improving the communications by sea and land across the surface of the British Empire’.
-The Times, 23 August 1907.

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