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Genre-based language curriculum – the case of English in newspapers

English teaching and learning continues to be nowadays teacher-based, especially in the cases where it is a second language. In terms of curriculum this is determined and designed by language planners and teachers as part of a formal system. Language learning can be facilitated within a genre-based flexible language curriculum, but even across and beyond its confines, which is going to confer more freedom to the participants to the teaching and learning process. One of the most effective means of doing this is a daily newspaper which provides a wide variety of genres and sub-genres which are meant to enlarge the linguistic knowledge of any reader that wants to learn English. ESP/ESL courses are meant to provide linguistic information regarding the rich data of the language used in the newspaper. Because of the variety of genres, the newspapers offer many different headlines, news report, sports, reports, editorials, feature articles, comments, letters to the editor, classified advertisements, reviews, book reviews, weather and ordinary reports and fashion columns. There are also articles on every topic, such as accidents and disasters, crimes and police beat, etc. to subject like travel, real estate, films, food, music, television, theatre, etc. Therefore due to this large variety of genres and topics, a large variety of language learners is motivated. However, unlike other written discourse which seems to require specific expertise and relative knowledge to understand the message conveyed, the appeal of a newspaper is meant for a general audience, combining the standard language use which is internationally recognized and a typical national variety. Using newspaper language as input to language-teaching will create less problems of cultural bias, which other types of writing might in most second-language learning. Another advantage of newspaper language is its freshness and the fact that it’s topical and current. The fresh linguistic data on different topics is delivered on a daily basis. Therefore the teachers will preserve the human interest and motivation year after year bringing forth a new linguistic input in their English lessons. There are also some disadvantages to this wide variety of genres in newspapers in that each genre serves a distinct communicative purpose, and thus represents a particular type of English. In order for the learner not to get a misleading picture of the use of language for communicative purposes the teacher has to draw the line between these generic distinctions. Newspaper genre distinctions are very important in use that sometimes they can be very prominent and significant in practicing at the level of a sub-genre. The discourse structure of a typical news report is quite characteristic presenting information from general to specific, or summary to expansion, or preview to detail. We can run into problems if genre specificity is overlooked, being counterproductive to introduce the ESL learner to news report discourse without making him aware of the pitfalls that lie ahead because it is one of the genres which systematically break the rules of chronological sequencing in narrative, which is valued very much in many other genres in which language learners are mostly interested in.

The Language of Newspaper Reporting

English newspaper writing dates from the 17th century. The first newspapers carried only news, without comments, as commenting was considered to be against the principles of journalism. By the 19th century, newspaper language was recognized as a particular variety of style, characterized by a specific communicative purpose and its own system of language means. It includes a system of interrelated lexical, phraseological and grammatical means serving the purpose of informing, instructing and, in addition, of entertaining the reader. As a result of this diversity of purposes, newspapers contain not only...
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