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Background: I am comparing a historic set of procedural instructions for the same action see mini-corpus below (1770-now).

I have noticed that almost all are in the active voice but the older ones use 3rd person while the newer ones use imperatives. This may be in order to avoid the gender reference (master of the house/ father). I also noticed that more modern instructions are far more explanatory and therefore lengthier, than the older ones

I am looking for: 1. More insights into the changes of style 2. Information on historic trends of style changes of procedural instructions that can prove/ disprove my findings 3. (Academic) articles references that relate to this kind of comparison.

Any information will be highly appreciated

Mini Corpus:

FEH 1787 After which, the Master of the family breaks the Cake which lays in the dish, with the two notches, and saves one half of it till after Supper under his pillow, and the other half remains in the dish.

DLEVI 1794 The master of the house then breaks the middle cake in the dish, and leaving one half of it there, he lays the other half by, till after supper, for the afikoman.

MEND 1862 The Master of the house breaks the middle cake in the dish, leaving one half between the two whole ones, and places the other half aside for the “Aficomen”

LIB 1879 The master of the house then breaks the middle cake, and he lay one half by; till after supper, for אפיקומן

SCHLESINGER 1887 The Master of the House breaks the middle cake in the plate and leaving half of it there, he reserves the other half, till after supper for the אפיקומן.

SHABTAI 1889 Take the middle cake and break it in two, leave one half between the two whole ones and put the other half under the cloth for the “Afcomon”.

AAG 1898 The head of the household breaks in two the middle Matzah, leaving one half on the Seder dish, and placing the other half aside as the Aficoman.

HAHAM 1905 The master of the house breaks the middle cake, setting one-half of it aside for distribution after the meal.

CHAB 2006 Take the middle matzah and break it into two, one piece larger than the other. The larger piece is set aside to serve as afikoman. The smaller piece is put back, between the two matzot.

GRATE 2006 The middle matzah - מצה - is divided into two parts, with the larger part reserved for the Afikomen - אפיקומן. This piece is either “hidden” by the children with the expectation that the adults will later search for it and return it or by the adults so that the children could conduct the search and return it on the condition that a reward is offered in exchange.

HOL 2006 Divide the Matzoh; before we begin to read the story of Passover in the Haggadah, the father divides the middle Matzoh before him. One half he leaves on the table. The other half, which is the Afikomon, he hides.

After the meal we shall share it together. We shall do this in remembrance of the time when our ancestors, on Pesach night in the days of the Temple of old, would partake of the holiday sacrifice known as the Pascal Lamb.

We cannot finish the Sedor without the Afikomon. Therefore anyone who succeeds in obtaining the Afikomon can hold it for ransom. If he does not give back the Afikomon we cannot finish the Sedor.

INT 2007 Take three sheets of Matzah, put them between the special covering dividers (or stack them between unfolded napkins) and say: We now take three sheets of matza and designate them for a special purpose. Normally on Shabbat and on festivals, we have two loaves of hallah bread over which we say “hamotzi” our praise of G*d for making the grains from which we make bread. On Pesach, we add one more, so tonight we have three. We put them in a special place, we stack them up, and we break the middle one. We put half of the broken matza aside and we designate it as the Afikomen. Later on, this will be our dessert, the final bite of our Seder meal. And IF it should ever get lost or misplaced or stolen, we could not finish our Seder. So, everyone pay attention to where we are placing it. It might get lost. Some mischievous child might even steal it! IF after dinner it is missing for any reason, whoever returns it deserves a reward!

BDL 2010 Divide the middle Matzah into two parts, and there is no berakhah. Take the larger part, wrap it in napkin and save it for the conclusion of the meal as the Afikoman. Try - but don’t try too hard -to keep it from being stolen by the children because it must be available for the end of the meal. For the sake of the children – and “a night of watching” – use a special Afikoman cover to identify it throughout the Seder and meal. The top matzah and a middle smaller portion is to be used later for the “motzee-matzah” blessing recited for bread, and the bottom matzah is for “Korech,” the Hillel sandwich.

The Afikoman traditionally was placed or concealed under a pillow near the master of the house (or the one leading the Seder). Another suggestion for its being wrapped separately and removed from the table is to prevent against the possibility of eating the piece designated Afikoman before the proper time.

EFEINST 2013 Break the middle matzah and set the larger piece aside to hide as an afikoman.

MEZSTOR 2015 Take the middle matzah and break it into two, one piece larger than the other. The larger piece is set aside to serve as Afikoman. This is traditionally hidden, by the leader of the Seder. Some have the custom for the children to “steal” or “find” the Afikoman and then ransom for a something at the end of the Seder. The smaller piece is put back, between the two matzot. This smaller piece

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  • I think this would be better asked on either English.SE or Literature.SE. Perhaps a moderator can better advise you. – F1Krazy Aug 1 '18 at 11:32
  • I thought it is a writing style question – user50741 Aug 1 '18 at 11:38
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    We can help you craft your own writing style, but asking us to analyse other people's writing styles is off-topic here. – F1Krazy Aug 1 '18 at 11:40
  • ok. So please let me know where to post it or how to "move it there" – user50741 Aug 1 '18 at 11:50