A Contrastive Study on Rhetoric in COVID-19-Related News Headlines from Native and Non-Native English Online Newspapers

Jitsuda Laongpol


Rhetorical devices have been widely used in a variety of writing works including news headlines. These short messages are considered to be the first informative and persuasive product of news reports. This research aims to investigate what type of rhetoric was most frequently found in English news headlines and to compare the similarities and differences of the rhetorical aspects of the headlines taken from two major online news websites in England and Thailand. The 2-week corpus includes 594 coronavirus-related headlines: 351 headlines collected from the BBC and 243 from the Bangkok Post. All electronic news headlines are contrastively analysed based on Shams’s (2013) and Picello’s (2018) taxonomies. The findings reveal that there are twelve rhetorical devices found in these headlines. Alliteration noticeably marks the highest frequency among all rhetorical features, followed by metonymy, rhyme, depersonalization, rhetorical question, metaphor, hyperbole, pun and euphemism, cliché, allusion, and simile respectively. The combination of alliteration and metonymy is commonly found in news headline writing. However, allusion and simile are only found in the headlines from the Bangkok Post, but at very low frequencies. Furthermore, the metonymic uses in the headlines may reflect certain preferred ideologies of presenting coronavirus-related news between the two counterparts.


Keywords: rhetoric; news headlines; online news websites; native and non-native countries; COVID-19

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/3L-2021-2701-04


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