Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Kognitive Sprachforschung

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Abstract Potapenko

Image schematic structure of English printed news stories

The presentation aims to show that in news stories of British papers the organization of headlines, leads and the blocks of main event correlates with the structure of image schemas (Johnson 1987, p. 126) which we divide into three groups – dynamic (PATH and CYCLE), force-related (ENABLEMENT, COUNTERFORCE, BLOCKAGE, RESTRAINT REMOVAL) and scalar (PHYSICAL, BODILY, QUANTITATIVE, EVALUATIVE AND EMOTIONAL SCALES).

The distribution of predicates throughout a story is determined by the strategies relating the contents to a particular image schema while the selection and arrangement of nominals in separate paragraphs is guided by tactics. Their choice depends on the inner structure of image schemas and the way the story contents are highlighted in the headline.

In this presentation the interaction of strategies and tactics is exemplified by the news stories with the contents related to COUNTERFORCE consisting of the source, the vector and the target (Johnson 1987, p. 43). All the three components are identified in the headlines of the stories based on the elaboration tactics aimed at characterizing the inner elements of the image schema, e.g. Sinn Fein mob attacks towers (The Daily Telegraph 10.12.2001). In the cited headline the subject mob represents the COUNTERFORCE source, the predicate attacks identifies the vector, towers denotes the target while in the body of the text each of them is further characterized.

Particularizing tactics underlie the structure of the texts based on the headlines with abstract nouns row, war etc. They represent COUNTERFORCE from a general perspective, e.g. Civil war in the Kennedy wake (Daily Mail 9.01.2006) while in the body of the text the opposing parties are distinguished and characterized.

The identifying tactics are aimed at naming in the text the COUNTERFORCE source missing in the headline, e.g. School is sued (The Times 13.01.2006).

Besides, the structure of printed news stories depends on the correlation of the contents with the physical, social or communicative COUNTERFORCE. If a headline relates the contents to PHYSICAL COUNTERFORCE, e.g. Sinn Fein mob attacks towers (The Daily Telegraph 10.12.2001), a text usually consists of two main event blocks. One is structured according to COUNTERFORCE and the other describes the consequences relating them to DISABLEMENT representing a person as a victim, e.g. 22 police officers were injured yesterday when supporters of Sinn Fein attacked two security forces watchtowers.

The structure of news stories with the headlines related to SOCIAL COUNTERFORCE, e.g. Humprys hits at ‘grotesque’ Times attack (The Daily Telegraph 9.09.2005), rests on the paragraphs identifying the opposing sides and foregrounding the names of the people with a higher status.

COMMUNICATIVE COUNTERFORCE performs a text-forming function irrespective of the headline contents, i.e. determines the foregrounding of the names of the people who express the opposite opinions and mainly underlies the organization of commentary blocks.

Similar tactics support the strategies relating news story contents to BLOCKAGE and RESTRAINT REMOVAL while the texts resting on PATH and SCALE require the tactics taking into account the structure of these gestalts.



Johnson M. The Body in the Mind. The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. – Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987.