Selected Headlines of a Week in Four British Newspapers

Dr Leila Luukko-Vinchenzo
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Headlines are a specific text type, not least determined by one of their main functions, namely to catch a reader's attention to the story. The proposed paper deals with a linguistic analysis of headlines and sub-headlines published in the week following Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004. The newspapers chosen for analysis are The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and The Times. The aim is to describe how the supposedly mixed views about Arafat's personality were expressed and conveyed linguistically in the headlines of four British newspapers with somewhat opposite mainstream readerships. Around 100 headlines are examined to answer questions such as: How to expect the name Arafat in the text when the headline does not include it? How to attract the reader to more or less same stories in four different expressions, i.e. depending on the newspaper? Are the assumed audience boundaries of a newspaper recognisable through the headlines?

Lexical and syntactic choice and features together with the semantic and pragmatic analysis of the headlines form the basis for the discussion. Randomly selected headlines as well as selected phrases from headlines for articles presenting by and large the same news were given to a sample group of 100 informed British newspaper readers for identification of source (e.g. The Guardian vs. The Daily Telegraph). The findings from this research are to add to the objectivity and reliability of the text analytical study and to confirm Danuta Reah's observation "headlines can often, in their attempt to attract a reader to a story, be ambiguous or confusing". (Reah, D., The Language of Newspapers. 2002:13)

Keywords: Newspaper, Headlines, Linguistic Analysis, Yasser Arafat
Stream: Language, Linguistics
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Selected Headlines of a Week in Four British Newspapers

Dr Leila Luukko-Vinchenzo

Assistant Director, Postgraduate Studies, School of Languages, Liverpool John Moores University
Liverpool, UK

Dr. Leila Luukko-Vinchenzo, born in Finland, gained undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in Finland, Germany and UK. Main areas of work include programme leadership of MA Advanced Language Studies and of MA TESOL; teaching of research methods and linguistics; supervision of undergraduate dissertations in German, postgraduate dissertations on the taught MA programmes as well as supervisions of MPhil and PhD dissertations on research programmes; examining of research degrees. Main research interests include: discourse analysis; comparative linguistics (English, German, Finnish and Swedish); specialist languages; various areas of applied linguistics, most recently in comparative (English-German) projects on doctor-patient and midwife-mother communication

Ref: H06P0492