On the Rhetorical Devices of English News Headlines

Topics: Rhetoric, Newspaper, Irony Pages: 5 (1574 words) Published: April 28, 2013
On the Rhetorical Devices of English News Headlines

Abstract: Newspapers constitute a part of media discourse, which is an extremely important field of research in both rhetorical analyses. Specifically, certain features of news headlines and also their important role in appealing and directing readers' attention have made the interface between the linguistic analyses of newspaper headlines. Through conducting an analysis of selected headlines, culled from the editorials of the English newspaper, The New York Times and Time, the present study aimed at exploring the effect of rhetorical devices on newspapers headline writing. Key Words: newspaper headline; rhetorical devices; applications; functions; effects

I. Introduction
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features, editorials, and advertising. It features with publicity, periodicity, currency and universality. Regardless of the march of epochs newspaper still exerts its influence over the whole society. In the fast-stepped age, people tend to digest everything in a glimpse, which entails newspapers to be more eye-catching. Thus the headlines of news play a prime role to this demand. To achieve the arresting end, news headlines take a various range use of rhetorical devices. Namely, headlines with the proper rhetorical devices can be extraordinary and make news itself incredibly powerful. The goal of rhetoric is to persuade towards a particular frame of view or a particular course of action, so appropriate rhetorical devices are used to construct sentences designed to encourage or provoke a rational argument from an emotional display of a given perspective or action. Note that although rhetorical devices may be used to evoke an emotional response in the audience, this is not their primary purpose. In this paper, we will study the news headlines writing in the view of rhetorical devices from fours aspects: rhetorical devices on structure, semantic rhetorical devices, rhetorical devices on images, and sonic rhetorical devices.

II. The Rhetorical Devices
A rhetorical device is a technique used in language to convey ideas and messages in a persuasive way. Different rhetorical devices are classified as being related to logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos is an appeal to logic, pathos is an appeal to emotion, and ethos is an appeal to the perception of the speaker’s character. An example of a rhetorical device is hyperbole, which is essentially exaggeration for emotive effect. Several rhetorical devices are often combined in political speeches and advertisements to persuade the listener or reader to accept an argument. The definition of a rhetorical device is a technique used to convey information in a persuasive fashion. These devices are set methods of presenting information for logical or emotional effect. They can also be used to negate the emotional impact of ideas or arguments. For example, a politician arguing for the legalization of hunting an animal may use a euphemism to reduce the emotional impact of the action. The word “culling” is emotionally neutral when compared to a word such as “murdering” or “killing,” which has the same logical meaning.

III. The Analysis on Rhetorical Devices of English News Headlines 3.1 Rhetorical Devices on Structure
In news headline writing, the structure of headline has the trend to be brief, concise as well as self-evident. In order to make news headlines well-structured, we can adopt the following devices of rhetoric: parallelism, antithesis, repetition, rhetorical question, abnormal collocation and etc. And in this aspect, we take rhetorical question for instance. Rhetorical question was used a persuasive device in a crowd of headlines as presented below: Remember Iran? (Reference: New York Times 3);

Putin’s Mini-Me (or Not?) (Reference: New York Times 20). The questions were asked for emphasis and provocation...
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