Bare nominals in American-Spanish headlines

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The common absence of definite articles (especially in the singular) in newspaper headlines is one of the most remarkable linguistic features in the American-Spanish press, in contrast to the Spanish press. Using the examples of headlines in previous studies and 800 headlines found from 22.04.2011 to 18.05.2011 in a sample of newspapers from Spain and from the Americas in 〈〉 as a corpus, the objectives of this article are threefold. Firstly, it is tried to draw geographical differences regarding the presence or lack of definite articles in American-Spanish headlines, seeking to establish whether what in the American context seems to be an exception, namely the lack of bare singulars in Argentinian verbal headlines nowadays, a feature common with the Spanish press (as Hurtado 2008, 2011 has recorded), is also found in other parts of the Americas. For this purpose, the corpus used by Hurtado (Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Chile) is expanded to all of the Americas. Secondly, it is considered whether English could have some influence on the above mentioned lack of articles in American-Spanish headlines and the lesser dropping of articles in Spain and Argentina. Thirdly, a discourse explanation of the lack of definite articles in American-Spanish headlines mainly rooted in Spanish stylistic studies (Alonso 1951; Lapesa 2000b: 469) is offered. Properties of journalistic discourse are also considered in the explanation and headlines are viewed as a Discourse Tradition.


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