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Last Updated March 22, 2021, 11:14 pm


ALT IMG 1100 In the headlines A Features of headline language If a story hits the headlines it suddenly receives a lot of attention in the news. Here are two typical examples of headlines from tabloid newspapers with comments on their use of language. [popular papers with small pages and short simple reports] EXPERT REVEALS NEW CLOUD DANGERS Articles, prepositions and auxiliary verbs are often omitted from headlines. This use of the present simple instead of the past tense makes the story sound more immediate. The use of language is often ambiguous. It is not entirely clear, for example, what cloud refers to here. It is actually about the dangers of storing electronic information on a "cloud" [hosted services on the internet for storing personal data], but it could have referred to dangers relating to the weather. Readers have to look at the story in order to find out. Words with dramatic associations such as danger are often used. TV STAR TRAGIC TARGET FOR CRAZED GUNMAN This story is about how a well-known television actor was shot by a mentally unstable killer. In order to attract readers" attention, tabloid newspapers often feature celebrities, e.g. film/pop stars and sports personalities. Alliteration such as TV Star Tragic Target is often used to attract the eye in headlines and to make them sound more memorable. Newspapers tend to use strong, simple words such as "gunman" in order to express an idea or image as briefly and as vividly as possible. Strongly emotional words like crazed are often used to attract attention. [behaving in a wild or strange way, especially because of strong emotion] B Violent words Violent and militaristic words are often used in headlines, especially in tabloid newspapers, in order to make stories seem more dramatic. For example, people who cause trouble may be referred to as thugs, yobs or louts. EU acts to crush1 terror of thugs Crackdown2 on soccer louts Palace besieged3 by journalists Typhoon rips through town 4 destroy taking serious measures to deal with a problem 3 surrounded, as if by army 4 moves in a destructive way 1 2 C Playing with words Language help The kind of language that is common in headlines may sound strange in other contexts. So the vocabulary in this unit is more likely to be useful to you when you are reading rather than when you are speaking or writing. Many newspaper headlines attract readers" attention by playing on words in an entertaining way. For example, a story about a very heavy rainstorm which caused a landslide on a narrow mountain road was headlined Rain of terror. This headline was a play on words based on the expression reign of terror, an expression used about a period in which a country's ruler controls people in a particularly cruel way. Another example is the use of the headline Moon becomes shooting star to describe a football match where a player called John Moon shot [scored] the winning goal. Shooting star is an informal expression for a meteor. Here it is used to play on the expression shoot a goal, and also to link to the player's name, Moon (another astronomical body). The headline is particularly effective because of the association between star and moon in the sky. 206 2Exercises 100.1 Read these headlines. What do you think the stories might be about? 1 2 3 100.2 4 CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT 5 THUGS BESIEGE TEEN STAR 6 COPS TARGET YOBS Look at these headlines from a fictitious tabloid newspaper about Ancient Greece. Match them with the subjects of their stories and comment on the features of headline language they contain. 1 NUDE SCIENTIST IN BATHTUB SCANDAL 2 KING PHIL"S MACEDONIAN MASSACRE 3 MARATHON MAN IN DROP-DEAD DASH 4 5 a b c d e 100.3 BLAST TERROR IN CAPITAL PM TO REVEAL SOCCER LOUT PLANS TOP PLAYERS DEFEND COACH QUADRUPLE ROYAL MURDER SENSATION IT"S CURTAINS FOR CORINTH Four members of the royal family die in mysterious circumstances. Philip of Macedonia wins a battle against the city states of Athens and Thebes. Archimedes discovers the law governing the displacement of water. The city of Corinth is burnt to the ground by the Romans. A long-distance runner brings news of a battle victory to Athens and then dies. Match the headline to its story and explain the play on words in each case. 1 Bad blood 6 Hopping mad 2 Happy days? 7 Flushed with success 3 Shell-shocked 8 4 False impressions Highly embarrassed 9 Round-up 5 Happy haunting a A grandfather's breathing problems were solved when doctors found four false teeth at the entrance to his lungs. They had been forced down his windpipe in a car crash eight years before. b A 25-year-old terrapin is being treated for a fractured shell after surviving a 200-foot drop. c A Shetland teacher has suggested sheepdogs could be used to control pupils in playgrounds. d A ghost society has been told not to scare off a friendly female apparition at a hotel. e An unusual travel company is offering adults the chance to experience going back to school again - they will spend a week wearing school uniform, sitting through lessons and eating school dinners. f An ex-public loo in Hackney, East London, is to be sold for £276,000. g A Whitby vicar has attacked the resort's attempts to profit on its connections with Dracula: "a palefaced man with a bad sense of fashion, severe dental problems and an eating disorder". h A toad triggered a police alert when it set off a new hi-tech alarm system. i Firefighters had to scale a 30-foot tree to rescue a man who was trying to capture his pet iguana. 207

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