Text-initiating strategies in eighteenth-century newspaper headlines

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This study investigates textual organisation in early newspapers by singling out one important feature of news discourse that appeared in the course of the eighteenth century: the headline. The present paper argues that modern headlines started as foregrounded text elements of the news story before they were printed separately from the text. This claim is substantiated by a computer-assisted analysis of approximately one thousand headlines collected from the ZEN corpus (Zurich English Newspaper Corpus). The analysis is intended to reveal underlying syntactic processes involved in foregrounding and to show distribution patterns of different headline types in late eighteenth century news publications.


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