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Headlinese (wikipedia.org)
45 points by missosoup on Feb 10, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments



My favourite example was "Foot heads arms body" which was allegedly created although not perhaps used by the Times when the UK politician Michael Foot was put in charge of a disarmament committee [0].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Foot

[Edit: emphasised the ambiguity picked up Confiks]


However, Wikipedia suggests [1] (the primary source is unreachable for me) that "the headline does not, however, appear in The Times Digital Archive, which includes every day's newspaper from 1785 into the 21st century. It is found in a letter published in The Guardian in 1978. [2]"

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Foot#In_popular_cultur...

[2] https://www.newspapers.com/clip/39001580/foot_heads_arms_bod...


In the clickbait era, I've also noticed everything amped to 11. One no longer "disagrees", one "slams". One no longer "loses", one "gets destroyed", etc.

Not a fan.


I think there's a similar effect in play to 1984's "Newspeak". While Newspeak was designed to restrict freedom of expression and quell any nascent revolutionary feeling, Headlinese seems to lend itself perfectly to these intensely polarised feelings. I don't think it's a new thing though, it's certainly been employed by the British press for as long as I can remember.

And the constraint does lend itself to some fun creativity in the sports pages at least, see "Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious"[1] and "Young Boys Wankdorf erection relief"[2] for example.

1: https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/554447/where...

2: http://m.espn.com/soccer/story?storyId=337901&src=desktop


"downerending destroys missosoup on HN over Headlinese spat."


Same in git commit message, we need to put as much information as possible in the fewest number of bytes to make it useful. I am looking forward to an article name "committese"


I use these 7 git commit message style rules [1] to establish my foundation of "committese". Things like "Use the imperative mood in the subject line" give commit messages a succint, consistent style.

Everything after that is finesse, personal effort, and ability to express things succinctly (much like the personalized "headlinese" styles mentioned).

[1]: https://chris.beams.io/posts/git-commit/


I don't mind longer, multi-line git commit messages. I find shorthand in commit messages annoying.


Interesting. Now I know why, as a non native english speaker, I sometimes get confused after reading english language online newspaper headlines.




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