A Pragmatic Study of CNN and BBC News Headlines Covering the Syrian Conflict

Fareed Hameed Al-Hindawi, Abid Hmood Ali

Abstract


Lately, there has been a growing interest in media. As a result, many trends are found from both the academic and industrial points of view. News channels, for example, play an important role in transmitting news about political situations, military events and other issues to people all over the world. The language used in news reports or even in their headlines is very influential in attaining the communicative intent of such news reports. This language is characterized by various linguistic features. One aspect of those features is the pragmatic one. This latter issue has not been given its due attention in research study. Precisely, the use of speech acts as a basic component of pragmatics has not been sufficiently tackled in research work in this regard. Thus, the present study attempts to fill this gap and investigate the types of speech acts employed in CNN and BBC headlines that represent the Syrian conflict. Fifty-six headlines are selected from each of these news channels - 26 from CNN and 30 from BBC. This study purports that headlines can be loaded with the encoded pragmatic meanings which makes this study worth conducting to reveal those kinds of meanings. The selected period ranges from September 2015 to May 2016.The investigation performed by this study shows that scrutinizing the speech acts employed in the headlines in news channels can be a good way to understand the intended meaning set by writers. It is found out that assertive speech acts are the most frequent speech acts used in the headlines of CNN and BBC news channels. The results also indicate that the headlines of CNN news channel show a preponderance use of commissives whereas the headlines of BBC news channel show an eminent employment of expressives.

Keywords


Pragmatics, Pragmatic Analysis, Speech Acts, News Headlines, Media, BBC News Channel, CNN News Channel

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.3p.43

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