Lexical Peculiarities of the Newspaper Style. 

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Lexical Peculiarities of the Newspaper Style.

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Newspaper style was the last of all the styles of written literary English to be recognized as a specific form of writing standing apart from other forms. Information and evaluation co-exist in the modern English newspaper, and it is only in teftns of diachrony that the function of information can claim priority. In fact, all kinds of newspaper writing are to a greater or lesser degree both informative and evaluative. But, of course, it is obvious that in most of the basic newspaper "genres" one of the two functions prevails; thus, for example, news of all kinds is essentially informative, whereas the editorial is basically evaluative. Information in the English newspaper is conveyed, in the first place, through the-medium of: 1) brief news items, 2) press reports (parliamentary, of court proceedings, etc.), 3) articles purely informational in character, 4) advertisements and announcements. The newspaper also seeks to influence public opinion on political and other matters. Elements of appraisal may be observed in the very selection and way of presentation of news, in the use of specific vocabulary, such as allege and claim, casting some doubt on the facts reported, and syntactic constructions indicating a lack of assurance on the part of the reporter as to the correctness of the facts reported or his desire to avoid responsibility (for example, 'Mr. X was said to have opposed the proposal'; 'Mr. X was quoted as saying...'). To understand the language peculiarities of English newspaper style it will be sufficient to analyze the following basic newspaper features: 1) brief news items, 2) advertisements and announcements, 3) the headline, 4) the editorial.

1) The principal function of a brief news is to inform the reader. It states facts without giving explicit comments, and whatever evaluation there is in news paragraphs is for the most part implicit and as a rule unemotional. News items are essentially matter-of-fact, and stereotyped forms of expression prevail. As an invariant, the language of brief news items is stylistically neutral.

It goes without saying that the bulk of the vocabulary used in newspaper writing is neutral and common literary. But apart from this, newspaper style has its specific vocabulary features and is characterized by an extensive use of:

a) Special political and economic terms, e. g. Socialism, constitution, president, apartheid, by-election, General Assembly, gross output, per capita production.

b) Non-term political vocabulary, e. g. public, people, progressive, nation-wide, unity, peace, A characteristic feature of political vocabulary is that the border line between terms and non-terms is less distinct than in the vocabulary of other special fields. The semantic structure of some words comprises terms and non-terms, e. g. nation, crisis, agreement, member, representative, leader.

c) Newspaper clichés, i. e. stereotyped expressions, commonplace phrases familiar to the reader e. g. vital issue, pressing problem, informed sources, danger of war, to escalate a war, war hysteria, overwhelming majority, amid stormy applause.

Clichés more than anything else reflect the traditional manner of expression in newspaper writing. They are commonly looked upon as a defect of style. Indeed, some clichés, especially those based on trite images (e.g. captains of industry, pillars of society, bulwark of civilization) are pompous and hackneyed, others, such as welfare state, affluent society are false and misleading. But nevertheless, clichés are indispensable in newspaper style: they prompt the necessary associations and prevent ambiguity and misunderstanding.

d) Abbreviations. News items, press reports and headlines abound in abbreviations of various kinds. Among them abbreviated terms— names of organizations, public and state bodies, political associations, industrial and other companies, various offices, etc.—known by their initials are very common, e.g. UNO (United Nations Organization), TUG (Trades Union Congress), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), AFL-CIO (Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations), EEC (.European Economic Community), TGWU (Transport and General Workers Union), FO (Foreign Office), PIB (Prices and Incomes Board),

e) Neologisms. These are very common in newspaper vocabulary. The newspaper is very quick to react to any new development in the life of society, in science and technology. Hence, neologisms make their way into the language of the newspaper very easily and often even spring up on newspaper pages, e.g. lunik, a splash-down (the act of bringing a spacecraft to a water surface), a teach-in (a form of campaigning through heated political discussion), backlash or white backlash (a violent reaction of American racists to the Negroes' struggle for civil rights), frontlash (a vigorous antiracist movement), stop-go policies (contradictory, indecisive and inefficient policies).

The above-listed peculiarities of brief news items are the basic vocabulary parameters of English newspaper style. The vocabulary of brief news items is for the most part devoid of emotional coloring. Some papers, however, especially those classed among "mass" or "popular" papers, tend to introduce emotionally colored lexical units into essentially matter-of-fact news stories.

Important as vocabulary is, it is not so much the words and phrases used in brief news items that distinguish them from other forms of newspaper writing. The vocabulary groups listed above are also commonly found in headlines and newspaper articles.

The basic peculiarities of news items lie in their syntactical structure.

2) Advertisements and announcements. The vocabulary of classified advertisements and announcements is on the whole essentially neutral with here and there a sprinkling of emotionally colored words or phrases used to attract the reader's attention. Naturally, it is advertisements and announcements in the PERSONAL section that are sometimes characterized by emotional coloring.

3) The headline.The functions and the peculiar nature of English headlines predetermine the choice of the language means used. The vocabulary groups considered in the analysis of brief news items are commonly found in headlines. But headlines also abound in emotionally coloured words and phrases, as the italicised words in the following: End this Bloodbath (Morning Star), Milk Madness (Morning Star) Tax agent a cheat (Daily World)

Furthermore, to attract the reader's attention, headline writers often resort to a deliberate breaking-up of set expressions, in particular fused set expressions, and deformation of special terms, a stylistic device capable of producing a strong emotional effect, e.g. Cakes and Bitter Ale (The Sunday Times) Conspirator-in-chief Still at Large (The Guardian)

4) The Editorial. The function of the editorial is to influence the reader by giving an interpretation of certain facts. Editorials comment on the political and other events of the day. Their purpose is to give the editor's opinion and interpretation of the news published and suggests to the reader that it is the correct one. Like any evaluative writing, editorials appeal not only to the reader's mind but to his feelings as well. Hence the use of emotionally coloured language elements, both lexical and structural. In addition to vocabulary typical of brief news items, writers of editorials make an extensive use of emotionally coloured vocabulary. Alongside political words and expressions, terms, clichés and abbreviations one can find colloquial words and expressions, slang, and professionalisms. The language of editorial articles is characterized by a combination of different strata of vocabulary, which enhances the emotional effect. Along with neutral and literary (common and special) vocabulary one can find words used with emotive colouring: topmost, giant, screams (of agony), fawning, pious, platitudes, scandalous, frightening, rapacious, alas; colloquial vocabulary units: to sack, fat, jamboree; slang: to buy (in the sense of 'accept'); "and instances of linguistic imagery: this golden handshake, the top drawer of US capitalist society, stratospheric increases, etc. All these lexical means are highly emotive and thoroughly evaluative. Emotional coloring in editorial articles is achieved with the help of various stylistic devices,, both lexical and syntactical, the use of which is largely traditional. Editorials abound in trite stylistic means, especially metaphors and epithets, e.g. international climate, a price explosion, a price spiral, a spectacular sight, an outrageous act, brutal rule, an astounding statement, crazy policies. Traditional periphrases are also very common in newspaper editorials, such as Wall Street(American financial circles), Downing Street (the British Government), Fleet Street (the London press), the Great Powers (the five or six biggest and strongest states), the third world (states other than socialist or capitalist), and so on. Most trite stylistic means commonly used in the newspaper have become clichés. Use of Irony, breaking up of set expressions, the stylistic use of word building by using allusions: allusions to political and other facts of the day which are indispensable and have no stylistic value; allusions to historical, literary and biblical events –to create satirical effects.


1)Proper names: toponyms, antroponyms, names of organizations, etc.

2)Many numerals. Dates. Many words belonging to the Lexical – grammatical field of plurality, quantity.

3) Etymology.On the one hand- tendency to innovations, on the other – clichés.

4) Denotation. Hugh percent of abstract words, although the information is concrete.

5) Connotation. Abundant use of expressive, evaluative words, high-flown words; high-flown archaic military words for emotional recruitment of the readers.


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