Jan. 10, 2003
Newspaper as a Tool
of Teaching a Language
- Newspapers are there to give news, not to do anything else, much
less teach a language.
- If successful teaching a language can increase its circulation, no
newspaper need have any objection to becoming a TOOL of teaching one.
- This is not a phenomenon totally unknown to the experience of the
industry, though when it occurred, it occurred unconsciously.
- There were periods of national linguistic revival when those
newspapers identifying themselves with the language had become such a one.
Such newspapers were read more for the language than for its news. They originally
started as organs of sectarian movement.
- In India today, the local language is losing its struggle for
existence to English. The increasing population of youngsters seek solace in English. It
does not gainsay the increasing popularity of the local vernacular newspapers,
but, it is noteworthy they are not purists in language, but liberally
borrow the English terms.
- To those in the industry, it is not necessary to explain or go
about convincing them that newspapers will do well by paying greater
attention to the language.
- As the printer's error jars the eye, a simple elegant expression
that conveys the news in its own spirit, the spirit of the context of its
genesis, pleases the reader's nervous senses.
- English newspapers that are popular as newspapers or for their
language unconsciously distance themselves from the appreciation of the
- In the earlier decades, their language was serious or solemn as if
it was a national pronouncement on the pattern of the dead spirit of The London
Times. International news agencies that emphasize objectivity either set
that pattern or follow that. In recent years American slang is invading.
- The first clearly eliminates the sensual appreciation of readers
even when they prefer it. The second too does so for an opposite reason.
- The tendency of serious journals is towards abstraction of the
general which elevates thought. But, in a newspaper, it eliminates the
linguistic sympathy of the reader. A New York newspaper which was
attracted to sensationalism decided to combine it with idealism and raised
its circulation from 15,000 to 250,000 in three years a hundred years ago.
Sensation has its power, but its power emerges more when it is the
attractiveness of the ideal.
- Solemn, serious, serene expressions ruled the 19th century with a
vengeance. Slang holds the field today. But NEWS has a personality and a
context. That seriousness which brings out the news—context in a light
expression appropriate to the moment carries the greatest power of
expression and can serve the newspaper best. It is elegance of truth,
simplicity of the simple fact written in a light spirit permitting the
serenity of the language to the extent it energises the writing.
- The question is not so much training as the appreciation of the
commercial value of this aesthetic exercise.
- One characteristic of language is its capacity to lend itself to
any version of its use.
- Confining them to our purpose and not extending it to the
psychological potentials of the user, language that expresses the same
event can be the lisp of the child, the shout of the dumb, the simple
expression of the fact, its sense impression, its selfish distortion, its
wide impersonal generosity, its capacity to describe the personality of
the event, etc.
- Each of them can be literal, metaphoric, figurative, simple unembellished
fact, conversational, colloquial, slang, dialect, wrong emphasis on one aspect,
false, true, casual, serious, etc.
- All is created in Ananda, lives in Ananda and returns to Ananda.
- Ananda seen by the mind is the form of beauty.
- Ananda that touches the sensation is JOY.
- Ananda received by the soul is love.
- Here, in this project, I would like to develop phrasing in
reporting events that are 1) factual, 2) truthful, 3) comprehensive, 4)
socially sympathetic, 5) elegantly linguistic in the best local tradition,
6) expressed in the native idiom of English naturally so that the
words would capture the imagination of the reader's ethical, social
- The above is not true of newspapers only. The English aristocracy
has developed out of its sense of gentlemanly propriety a language that
suited table manners as well as drawing room conversation. To a large
extent, in true sincere contexts that language shone like a bright jewel
in the last century.
- I have not read any sermon of the church. I believe when sincere
preachers delivered their sermons, they rang true in the ears of the
audience, as the preachers were prepared in thought and expression at
Oxford and Cambridge and often the parishioners were highly educated.
- A remarkably successful attempt of this type was made by the politicians
of Tamilnadu in the 1950s and 1960 playing to the lower vital emotions of
the gallery. Irrespective of the motive and poisonous results, the
method of approach and linguistic skills were the same I speak of.