The mixing of modes as a means of resolving the tension between involvement and detachment in news headlines

Title: The mixing of modes as a means of resolving the tension between involvement and detachment in news headlines
Author: Chovanec, Jan
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2003, vol. 29, iss. 1, pp. [51]-66
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Type: Article
License: Not specified license

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This article sets out to explore the application of the linguistic strategies of involvement and detachment in news discourse in general and in news headlines in particular. It notes the opposed tendencies of relating detachment phenomena with the need for objectifying the presented information and utilizing involvement phenomena in order to increase the readers' engagement in a more personal form of communication. The tension between these two tendencies becomes manifested on the level of the mixed modes: the written form of anonymous mass communication comes to rely on linguistic features evoking the oral mode, adding a synthetic "personal touch" to the discourse. This resulting mix is derived from the media's aims both to inform and to attract the readers; such aspects may be labelled with reference to Halliday's functional grammar as ideational and interpersonal.
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