News and online news linguistic features


News and online news linguistic features


The English newspaper dates back from the 17th century where newspapers only carried news without comments and opinions. However, this trend changed in the 19th century with recognition that newspaper language required a variety of styles to ensure that they conveyed information clearly to the readers. Nowadays the linguistic features include system of interrelated lexical, grammatical and phraselogical aimed at informing, instructing and entertaining the readers. Today news comes in form of comments, stories, crosswords, poems and puzzles, feature stories editorial aimed at informing. This paper shall analyze some of the linguistic features of news and online news.

Linguistic features of news

In news stories, facts are stated without any commentary.  Therefore, this language lacks individuality of expression and emotional coloring. The language and the vocabulary adopted is neutral and common literary meant to enhance understanding.  Adoption of this literary style is to enhance understanding because; the news is intended to reach diverse audience (Galina, 2013). However, sometimes the language, adopts a stereotypical form especially in articles, editorial and advisements.

News that aims at  influencing public opinions on political, social and moral matters uses  language that contains vocabulary with evaluative connotation such as allege. Therefore, some language helps to tell the reader that information is not yet affirmed facts. Selection and way of presenting the news is also specifically aimed at indicating lack of surety on the part of the reporter (Galina, 2013). Headlines in news items provide information about the subject matter and carry considerable amount of appraisal. The choice of a headline is important and it helps to trigger the emotionas of the readers. Most headlines are typed in large face and use emotional colored words and elements of emotive syntax.

When it comes to newspaper feature articles, paragraphs of one to four sentences are used and transitions used to ensure that there is consistence and flow of idea from one paragraph to another. Quotations are also used in news articles using inverted comas. Most of the quotes are from eyewitness and experts or the speaker of the statement. Register is also used in these news article as well as emotive language. The syntax is also important linguistic feature in news stories.  The length of sentences varies in terms of structure from short to long, complex to simple sentences aimed at avoiding monotony (Galina, 2013). The tense used in news stories and features is also important. Most of them use second person address, third person narratives mixed with first person comments to involve the readers.

News stories also adapt to specific word order and most of the news use five W and H pattern rule of who, what, why, how, where and when . The sentences structure is expressed in this way, subject (predicate object), adverbial (modifier of the reason- manner), adverbial modifier of place, adverbial modifier of time. Clinches and abbreviations are also used in the news articles. Most of the frequently used abbreviation includes world trade center (WTO) United Nations (UN) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) as well as the Cable News Network (CNN) among many others.

Online news linguistic features

The evolution of internet and technology has also affected the online news linguistic features.  Language is one of the mediums that helps people to communicate and understand one another.   Linguistic features have been impacted by the internet. Most of online news use informal language. Most of the communication through the online is done through the SMS, emails and this has played a role in affecting the styles of writing. Many rules of linguistic are broken. For instance, the coming into shape of social media such as facebook and twitter has contributed to this to great magnitude. People communicate and inform others using informal language without structuring their information in a better way (Crystal, 2011). The intention is to pass information as long as the receiver is able to connect and understand the meaning. Most online news networks use abbreviations and slang which is not considered as formal language. Sentences and paragraphs do not follow literal rules as the sender of the message aims to convey massage (Thurlow, Lengel & Tomic, 2004). The language lacks objectivity and therefore, it may not be emotive.

However, there are online news stories that adhere to appropriate linguistic features such as publications from newspapers. Digital information from newspapers is well structured and therefore adheres to correct linguistic features.  Therefore, most of the news stories in such issues have headlines as well as synopsis and part of the byline.  The synopsis provides the reader with the context of the story (Crystal, 2004). They also use different font size, which helps to catch the attention of the readers. The font size in online news varies from one article to another and comes in various colours. They also use the concept of ‘5 Ws and H’ which is one of the journalist approaches of writing news (Gibbs & Krause, 2006). Therefore, online news linguistic features differ from the kind of the news stories. The social media used informal styles and compared to other credible online source of news.

In conclusion, it is imperative that news stories adapt to linguistic features that comply with the correct structure of English to enhancing understanding. Most of the news complies with linguistic features as opposed to much online news.



References list

Crystal, D 2004, The Language Revolution (Themes for the 21st Century). United Kingdom:       Polity Press Ltd

Crystal, D 2011, Internet Linguistics: A Student Guide. New York: Routledge

Galina, G 2013, English for specific purposes: The use of language in newspapers. Retrieved        from:

Gibbs, D, & Krause, K 2006, Cyberlines 2.0.: Languages and Cultures of the Internet.      Australia: James Nicholas Publishers

Thurlow, C., Lengel, L. B., & Tomic, A 2004, Computer Mediated Communication: Social           Interaction and the Internet. London: Sage Publications.


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