Linguistic Analysis of Indian English News Headlines

Authors: Samapika Roy (Department of Humanistic Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, India)
Sukhada (Department of Humanistic Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, India)
Anil Kr. Singh (Department of Humanistic Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, India)
Speaker: Samapika Roy
Topic:Textualization Contextualization Entextualization
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


Fairclough (1995) stated that “headlines have distinctive syntactic properties, which make them a grammatical oddity.” This paper tries to analyse these properties of Indian English newspaper headlines linguistically.

To identify the problems in parsing we ran some open source parsers like Stanford Parser and Allennlp Parser and observed that the output is incorrectly parsed. There are nouns marked as verbs, adverbs, proper nouns; plural verbs marked as adjectives, singular verbs marked as plural nouns, adverbs; adjectives are marked as verbs etc. Thus, it became necessary to analyse NH linguistically so that we could find out the problems and correct them to in order to boost up the accuracy of parsers.

Headlines are the most interesting part of a news article. There are certain characteristics that make NH standout: for instance article omission to save space but also to attract the reader’s attention to the most significant words, use of strong active verbs, avoiding copula (‘be’ verbs) or passive construction which slows down the fluidity and takes up more space with little substance etc.

Though some works have been done on linguistic analysis of British English NH(Hameed), Hindi-Urdu NH, hardly any notable work is done on Indian English (IndE) NH. We have created IndE NH corpus by collecting NH from print and digital media from top 3 IndE newspapers as per wide circulation (Audit Bureau of Circulations) in both online and hard copy. Newspapers considered are The Hindu (TH), The Times of India (TOI), Hindustan Times (HT). We took 200 sentences from each newspaper from general domain. The motive behind this analysis is to find out the linguistic features of NH and to use the study for better parsing output of NH. We have covered sentence construction, speech, voice, tense, aspect, mood, punctuation marks, metaphors etc. for analysis.

NH are very different from ordinary grammatical sentences. By the following example we have tried to eplain the observations:

Types of sentences: Interrogative

  • HT- Spielberg’s stand cost Michael Douglas Cannes Glory?
  • TOI- Maharashtra to bail out 11,000 staffers with fake caste certificates?
  • TH- Ranbir Kapoor plays a DJ in Brahmastra? An insider spills the
  • In NH absence of question words can also serve the purpose of interrogatory which is not at par with syntax of the language.

    Fairclough, N.1995. Media Discourse. London. E. Arnold. ISBN 0340632224, 9780340632222
    Hameed, T. 2008. Tense in Headlines. Diala, Jour. Vol-30.

    Keywords: Indian English, IndE News Headlines, TAM, metaphors, punctuations,