Brian D. Joseph, Μιχαήλ Ι. Μαρίνης: Τίτλοι ελληνικών εφημερίδων και υφογλωσσολογία – Συγχρονική και διαχρονική προσέγγιση

Brian D. Joseph Διακεκριμένος καθηγητής Γλωσσολογίας και καθηγητής Νοτιοσλαβικών Γλωσσών και Γλωσσολογίας Kenneth E. Naylor, Πολιτειακό Πανεπιστήμιο του Οχάιο Μιχαήλ Ι. Μαρίνης Mεταδιδακτορικός ερευνητής, υπότροφος Έδρας Μιλτιάδη Μαρινάκη. Πολιτειακό Πανεπιστήμιο του Οχάιο

It is well known that newspaper headlines can constitute a special genre with their own style and their own linguistic structure (i.e. Aitchison 2006, Dor 2003). In American English headlines, function words such as articles are often omitted and temporal reference is achieved through special means. For instance, in the headline from the New York Times with the stock market crash of 1929 (30-10-29):

Stocks collapse in 16,410,030-share day, but rally at close cheers brokers; bankers optimistic, to continue aid

an indefinite article (a) is missing with rally, a definite article (the) is missing with close, the copular verb are is missing in bankers optimistic, the future tense is indicated by an infinitive (to continue), and temporal reference is unusual, with verbs in the present tense (collapse) even though the events happened in the past, i.e. the day before.

In this paper we report on the a study using the historical archives of TA NEA1 to investigate Greek newspaper headlines from both a descriptive synchronic perspective to determine the parameters of Greek headline style and linguistic structure, and a diachronic perspective to catalogue and account for changes in that style and structure over the years, throughout its history. For this purpose, for each examined decade, an equal number of titles were selected in a statistically random way and were indexed and studied in terms of their linguistic characteristics.

Our research identifies and highlights phenomena that support the idea that the titles of Greek articles should indeed be treated as a special genre characterized by their own conventions that differ in specific features from the ones observed in English titles. Moreover, we show that these conventions did not remain constant over the years, but instead changed in the diachronic axis, confirming the idea that the titles are an “alive” text type that changes, on the one hand, adapted to the general changes of the Greek language during the same period (see also the evolving language issue (γλωσσικό ζήτημα)) and on the other hand the general change of the role of the titles in the newspaper. It is characteristic that the observed changes of titles do not occur only at the level of pure grammar but, among other things, extend to the spelling, the length, the content, the stylistic choice of using only capitals, or the alternation of lowercase and uppercase letters, etc.

Selected References

– Aitchison, J. (2006). Headlines and deadlines: changing newspaper language. Plenary lecture.

– Dor, D. (2003). On newspaper headlines as relevance optimizers. Journal of pragmatics, 35(5), 695-721.


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