Newspaper Style: Stylistic Features of the Headlines






3.1 The Structure of News Stories 9


4.1 The Special Language Features of Newspaper Headlines 14


5.1 Methodological Considerations of the Research 20

5.2 The Omission of Words 21

5.3 The Use of Short Words 23

5.4 The Use of Loaded Words 25

5.5 The Use of Nominalization 26

5.6 The Use of Noun Phrases 28

5.7 The Use of Gimmicks 31






Today‘s life is unimaginable without the mass media. A lot of different printed as well as online newspapers try to attract the readers. Firstly, the reader notes the headline of the article and only after then decides whether to read it or not. Therefore the headlines are one of the most important components of the piece of writing. The newspaper as a form of the mass media is known for several ages. However, the investigation of the language in newspapers has started only in the mid-20th century. The principles of creating and analyzing newspaper headlines have not been widely explored.

The object of the work is the analysis of British newspaper headlines.

The aim of presented research is to analyze the stylistic features of the newspaper headlines of The Telegraph. To achieve this aim the following objectives have been set:

1. To overview the theoretical data of functional styles.

2. To overview the newspaper style.

3. To disclose the functions and general peculiarities of the headlines.

4. To analyze special language features of the headlines.

5. To indicate the frequency of certain stylistic features used in the newspaper headlines.

Relevance of the work. There are quite many linguists who analyzed the newspaper style such as A. Bell (1991), T. A. Znamenskaya (2005), C. Rich (2010), O.K. Denisova and L.P. Pozniak (2014). The stylistic features of the newspaper language as well as the headlines were introduced by R. Fowler (1991), M. Swan (1995), D. Reah (1998), J. Morley (1998). The syntactical classification of the headlines was studied by I. Mardh (1980), Caroline M. de B. Clark (2007).

The novelty of the present research. The newspaper headlines can be analyzed from different linguistic perspectives. The present paper focuses on the main grammatical as well as lexical language features that create the style of headlines found in the broadsheet newspaper.

The research methods used in the present study are the following:

1. Descriptive theoretical analysis made it possible to analyze scientific literature regarding the features of functional styles, newspaper style, headlines.

2. Descriptive analysis was useful in analysing the selected examples of English newspaper headlines.

3. Descriptive statistic method was used to indicate the frequency of certain stylistic features revealed by the analysis.

The scope of the research and research material. For the purpose of investigation 200 examples of the newspaper headlines have been drawn from the British online newspaper The Telegraph. 71 instance of headlines has been used as illustrative examples.

The structure of the present research. The work is composed of introduction, theoretical and practical parts, conclusions and the list of references. In the introduction the objectives, the aim, the relevance of the work, the methods used in the research as well as the number of analyzed headlines are presented. The theoretical part contains the discussion of functional styles, publicistic style, the features of the newspaper style and headlines. The practical part is for the analysis of the stylistic features typical for the newspaper headlines. Conclusions give the findings and the results of the presented study. The list of references arranged in alphabetic order presents the used materials.


Every written or spoken discourse has a style. The word itself refers to some kind of a function. A style depends upon the purpose of the text or the specific conditions of communication in different situations. However, there is no single and concrete definition of a word style.

N. Leech and M. Short (2007:10) point out that the style refers to the way in which language is used in a given context, by a given person, for a given purpose. To cite V. Mathesius (1982:105f) ―style is a significant manner in which the linguistic means of expression has been employed or will usually be employed for a concrete purpose‖. The online Reference Dictionary1 defines style as the mode of expressing thought in writing or speaking by selecting and arranging words, considered with respect to clearness,

effectiveness, euphony or the like, that is characteristic of a group, period, person, personality, etc. In other words, style refers to ways of writing or speaking—how a person varies the resources of language in order to make a speech or written discourse meaningful.

We may have the style of an individual which is typical for the individuality of the writer or speaker and the functional style which is dependent on the aim of a text or speech. It is clear that functional has something to do with function or objective. R. Dirven and V. Fried in the book called Functionalism in Linguistics (1987:13) state that functional style is the manner in which texts respond to the demands of the functional objects. Functional style is dependent on the specific conditions of communication in different situations.

The main problem on which linguists do not agree is whether or not there are different styles in the spoken English language. Another problem is the classification of functional styles. O.K. Denisova and L.P. Pozniak (2014:110) say that there are linguists such as R.G. Piotrovsky (1975), Y.S. Steponov (1986) who state that there are no functional styles at all. However, functional styles have been divided into specific groups by some other scholars. According to I. V. Arnold as cited by T.A. Znamenskaya et al (2005:136-137) styles can be divided into two groups:

1. Colloquial Styles: (literary colloquial; familiar colloquial; common colloquial).

2. Literary Bookish Styles: (scientific; official documents; publicistic newspaper; oratorical; poetic).

According to I. R. Galperin (1981) as cited by Denisova and Pozniak et al (2014:110)

the set of style classes include:

a) official business style; b) scientific professional style; c) publicistic style;

d) literary colloquial style; e) familiar colloquial style.

In order to get better understanding of the classification of functional styles, the linguists give the more explicit subdivision. Denisova and Pozniak represent the different position towards the problem of functional styles. Their classification is presented below (Ibid):

a) Literary or bookish style;

b) Free or colloquial style;

The literary or bookish class includes: 1) publicistic; 2) scientific; 3) official documets style. The free or colloquial style is subdivided into: 1) literary colloquial and 2) familiar colloquial style. The scholars do not classify neither poetry nor imaginative prose (fiction), stating that they are non-homogeneous.

Functional styles are subsystems of language and each of them has its own features concerning vocabulary means, syntactical constructions or phonetics. The use of a certain functional style is connected to the particular situations of communication in different spheres of life.

Having reviewed the main aspects of functional styles, the conclusion that functional styles are the subsystems of language with distinctive lexical, syntactical and phonetic features can be drawn. The following chapter will briefly introduce the main features of the English publicistic style.


Publicistic style is used in newspaper or magazine articles, public speeches, essays, radio or TV comments. Denisova and Pozniak (2014:111) state that the function of publicistic style is to influence the public opinion. The main feature of the usage of this style is the combination of logical argumentation and emotional appeal to the audience, i.e. readers and listeners. Moreover, the special elements from scientific as well as from emotive prose are found in publicistic style.

The newspaper is the most readable source of information throughout the world. The facts in the newspaper are presented objectively and fairly. The language is clear and acceptable. One of the main functions which publicistic style has to contain is that the information in the newspaper should be relevant. To put into R. Fowler‘s words (1991:13): ―The news media select events for reporting according to a complex set of criteria of news worthiness; so news is not simply that which happens, but that which can be regarded and presented as newsworthy.― In other words news does not have to be just simple description of events, but also has to be meaningful. Another feature that plays a huge role on the news is the use of colloquialisms, incomplete sentences, questions and a varied typography suggesting variations of emphasis, the written text mimics a speaking voice, as of a person talking informally but with passionate indignation (Fowler, 1991:39). In addition, Denisova and Pozniak (2014:119) note that the publicistic style takes some features from emotive prose: the use of stylistic devices and imagery as well as brevity and expression. The scientific elements found in publicistic style include the logical structure of the news presentation, clear paragraphing and consecutiveness.

To conclude this chapter it could be stated that specific linguistic means used in the writings of the publicistic style (in this case newspapers) have strong meaning in creating the language attractive, interesting and informative to the reader as much as possible. The following part will be based on the features of the newspaper style.


The word newspaper suggests that its main function is to give news. Despite this, it is used to educate, enlighten or entertain people. The newspaper also seeks to influence public opinion on political, economic and other matters. Newspapers can provide a medium of information to those who do not have television, radio or the internet. According to J. Tunstall (1996) as cited by D. Reah et al (1998:2) there are three types of newspapers:

1. The broadsheet newspapers (e.g., the Telegraph, the Independent, the Times and the Guardian);

2. The middle-range tabloids (e.g., the Express and the Daily Mail);

3. Tabloids (e.g., the Sun, the Mirror, the Star).

The tabloids and broadsheet newspapers have different functions to perform. As The New British Politics (2007:301) states, tabloids are less serious (popular) daily or Sunday papers so called because of their smaller size. It is added that the broadsheets now publish in a tabloid format, but are still known as broadsheets, or quality papers. It should be mentioned that tabloids tend to focus on personalities and gossip, stories found in these newspapers are smaller comparing to broadsheets, the writing style is less formal and slangy, more pictures are found. While the broadsheets are described as serious (quality) national daily or Sunday papers so called because of their size (Ibid). It is generally believed that broadsheets contain more serious news than tabloids and are read by more educated people. Information in the middle-range tabloids focuses on the sensational stories as well as on the important news events.

There are two types of news that can be found in broadsheets or tabloids: hard news and soft news. C. Rich (2010:17) points out that ―hard news― include stories of a timely nature about events or conflicts that have just happened or are about to happen such as fires, crimes, meetings, protest rallies, speeches and testimony in court cases. Hard news has little value after 24-48 hours. The news of such themes found in broadsheet newspapers tend to focus on the main and the most important details related to the story. Another type of news is called soft news and Rich (Ibid) states that ―soft news― entertains or informs, with an emphasis on human interests and novelty and less immediacy than hard news. Unlike the hard news, soft news pay attention to the things related to the minor things of the story e.g. personal life, work, etc.

It should be mentioned that the distinction between the two types of newspapers disappears as broadsheets tend to entertain more and tabloids include more serious articles. However, the use of gimmicks, allusions, pictures and images for entertainment purpose in broadsheet newspapers are rather of educational nature.

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