Every time we pick up a newspaper, what come into our sight will be lots of news headlines. A headline has become an indispensable part of newspaper. The editor means to attract the reader’s attention through headlines. As a result, news paper headlines are usually specially designed to be short, concise, and informative to convey different kinds of information. We may be confused by the headlines like “Cater’s War on Waste”, “UFO Sighted”, “Smugglers Get Jail and Fines”, “Weekly Mag for Stamp Lovers to Be Launched”, ect. Yet without some knowledge of news headline features, it is not easy for us to read English newspaper. This paper has summarized the study of newspaper development in recent years and presents the lexical features, structure features and rhetorical devices of English newspaper headlines in details.
II. Literature Review
The study of English newspaper headlines can date back to 1990s. In the past ten years many scholars in China have carry out many study concerning news headlines and many papers have been published. One of the papers, 《On the Features of English Newspaper Headline》, is written by Zhang Qiong in 2001. That paper covers different features of newspaper headlines but it is not specific enough. This paper will concentrate on three aspects of news headlines, lexical features, structure features and rhetorical devices, which help to some extend make our understanding of newspaper headlines more deeply and specific.
III. Lexical Features of English Newspaper Headlines
Lexical features of English newspaper headlines can mainly include four parts. They are exemplified as follows.
Abbreviation, which is used in a large quantity in English newspaper, means “A shortened form of a word or phrase used chiefly in writing to represent the complete form”. Generally speaking there are 3 kinds of Abbreviations used in the newspaper.
① Abbreviation for organizations
Examples: UNESCO = Uinted Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization PLO = Palestine Liberation Organization
IOC = International Olympic Committee
NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration APEC = Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference FIFA = Federation Internationale de Football Association
② Abbreviation for profession and career
Examples: MP = member of parliament PM = prime minister GM = general manager PA = personal assistant
③ Abbreviation for our familiar things
Examples: UFO = Unidentified Flying Object DJI = Dow-Jones Index AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
GMT = Greenwich Mean Times
Laser = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Radar = Radio Detection and Ranging
Sonar = Sound Navigation Ranging
TOEFL = Test of English as A Foreign Language
IELTS = International English Language Testing System
Shortening of different words in newspaper aims to spare more space or to cut down the length of the headlines. Examples: grad – graduate hosp – hospital cig – cigarette Cell – cellular Sec – second Reps – representatives Info – information Int’l – international Deli– delicatessen Hi-fi – high fidelity Hi-tech – high technology 3-D – three dimensional G-7 – Group of seven A-bomb – atom bomb V-day – victory day
Compound words in English newspaper are usually formed by two or over two words. By compounding, we can make complicated structure simpler, what’s more, save space. Examples: ① “Plan to aid school dropouts extended” ( China Daily, Feb.5.1998 ). Here “school dropouts” refers to “the student who drops out of school”. ② “Li stresses corruption fight” (China Daily,...