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Analysing Genres and Judging
Language Course 6:
• Texts – Genre, Language and Purpose
• Types of Articles
– Feature Article
– Factual Report
– Personal commentary and blogs
• Judging Sources
Texts – Genre
• When we analyse a text for it genre we look at
– Linguistic features
– Style (read Pp 201-204)
• Expressive, which is a personal text about the thoughts,
feelings, experiences and memories of the writer of the
• Objective, which aims for a more neutral style.
Texts – Language
• We differentiate between four central styles of
writing. The four styles are the formal, semiformal, informal and colloquial.
• Each of the main styles has their own
characteristics. A high frequency of formal
features characterizes the more formal
language, e.g. P343 from Hutchinson
• We can find formal features in informal or even
News Articles – Formal
Article’s Structure: As a general rule, a news article has all
essential information in its first paragraph. There are six useful
questions journalists ask themselves when writing this first
Who (what) the subject is about?
Why did this happen?
When did it happen?
How and where did the events take place?
Perspective is Objective: Written from an observer’s point of
view without the personal pronouns “I” or “me”. That is the
journalist’s name is given, but s/he is invisible in the text and
does not use the pronoun I.
News Articles – Formal
Facts vs. opinion: It will contain facts and not opinions e.g. an
apartment building has burned down is a fact. An opinion is how
the fire started. Eyewitness reports may be used to add weight to
theories. If a statement cannot be checked as fact, it may be
reported in the following manner: “According to a witness at the
scene, the driver appeared to lose control of the car.”
Transition: Every phrase, sentence or paragraph flows from the
preceding one and carries the reader smoothly from one
thought or event to the next. For example words which aid the
transition will be:
also, thus, since, likewise, however, another, meanwhile, accordin
gly, subsequently, furthermore, etc.
And finally – remember it is usually follows the The Kiss Principle
(Keep It Short and Simple).
News Articles – Formal
• A formal text is often more advanced than the an
informal text, with a complex vocabulary and
better flow, partly because the author makes use
of a higher lexical word density which packs in a
lot of content in a little space with correct
• We find complete sentences and facts stated
without any subjective input.
• Often the interviewer concludes with something
that the interview object has said
i.e. a punch line.
News Articles – Informal
• The purpose of a news article is to give
information about an event or issue of public
interest. So a news article does not necessarily
have to be objective and impartial. Sometimes
the newspaper’s attitude to events shines
through e.g. in the editors column (leader)
and sometimes through the choice of
• A feature article differs from a news article in that
it does not inform about breaking news.
• The subject matter is usally topical and may
concern politics, social issues, or stories of human
interest. The purpose is both to analyse and
entertain – and sometimes to persuade or
influence readers too.
• The feature article has a clearly defined target
audience – the readers of a
• The feature article must grab the readers
• It has a similar layout to a news article i.e. a
headline, ingress (in bold letters) a main body
with subheadings and a concluding paragraph.
• Where as a news article sometimes “peteres
out” a feature article often ends with a
thought provoking final comment.
• Unlike the news journalist, the writer of a feature
article is usually “present” in his text.
• There is a personal, subjective tone and often
quite informal language.
• Facts and statistics are used to support the
writer’s views, quotes and interviews, anecdotes
• Feature writers see themselves as “writers” as
well as journalists.
• They use a broad range of literary devices, like
irony and metaphors.
Examples of different styles
Task 1 from SPR3008 V2013; Read the three texts in the
Write two or three paragraphs in which you discuss whar
genre each text belongs to and comment on some of the
language features of the texts. Use examples from each
of the texts in your answer.
• Article nr. 1: Edward Snowden: the whistleblower
behind the NSA suveillance revelations
• Article nr. 2: No Defence left for America’s Blanket
• Article nr. 3: Whistleblower or Traitor, Snowden Must
Writing newspaper articles
Study the following guidelines to writing a newspaper article carefully.
Begin with basic information and try to answer the questions.
– Who or what are you writing about?
– What happened?
– Why did this happen?
– When did it happen?
– How and where did the events take place?
Write from an observer’s point of view without the personal pronouns “I” or “me”.
Facts vs. opinion:
It will be fact that an apartment building has burned down but only opinion as to how the fire started. Eyewitness reports may be used to add weight
to theories. If a statement cannot be checked as fact, it may be reported in the following manner:
“According to a witness at the scene, the driver appeared to lose control of the car.”
Every phrase, sentence or paragraph should flow from the preceding one and carry the reader smoothly from one thought or event to the next.
Some useful words to aid the transition are:
also, thus, since, likewise, however, another, meanwhile, accordingly, subsequently, furthermore, etc.
And finally – remember The Kiss Principle: Keep It Short and Simple.