n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Taalhandelingsdeterminante in koerantkoppe

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-0069



The newspaper headline presents itself as a linguistic axis in the communicative interaction between the speaker (the writer of the headline) and the hearer (the reader thereof) against the background of the speech act theory. As such, the meaning of the headline is determined by certain variables, i.a. syntactic and contextual variables, and its inherent communicative components.

The universal and multidimensional reality, including the rich context of man, entity and event, features as the source of information on which the newspaper headline reports.
Knowledge of the speech act theory can empower the subeditor with a means of inference regarding the intention with and discourse strategies of the newspaper headline, ensuring maximal cognition and perlocution by the reader.
In short : by using the speech act apparatus analytically, the headline writer can rest assured that he informs the reader optimally; that he, though it be journalistically unethical, can even manipulate him.

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