Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Too Cryptic

Since Internet, I get to see UK & US newspapers again.
Or at least I get to browse headlines rapidly, then dip into a few articles every day.

What strikes me, coming back to English-language headlines after French ones, is how tortuously cryptic they are.
French headlines, mainly in the sports pages, occasionally go as far as a pun, but otherwise remain immediately comprehensible.
English (language) ones seem to be having a crypticity (no, it doesn't exist) competition.
Is there an Oscar for the most obscure, misleading, time-to-decipher-wasting headline?
Or is it just an in-joke between writers?

Here are a few I have collected.
Imagine you are a foreign, English-language student trying to wring meaning from these.
Or an automatic translation software writer (though I am certainly not suggesting we change our writing styles for them).
  • Immigration fuels rent rises
  • Blair set to outline quit plans
  • Phone links with LTTE-held area snap
  • Doctor training reform delay call
  • Dog attack boy stable in hospital
  • Stocks eye flat open
  • Hero guard slams crash fines for Network Rail
  • Ferry girl bar snub for wills
  • Kids' jabs bond aid
  • Rumsfeld exit lessens threat to nuclear sites, hardliners believe
  • Diana jury inquest move prominent
  • Poor forces housing 'for decades'
  • Democrats Search for Exit Strategy From Iraq Showdown With Bush
  • Dead biker family meet watchdog
  • Beau cop busted in ma-to-be's slay
  • Darling makes banks change pledge
  • Conkers win is double over French
  • Nato stretch spurs force rethink
  • Yahoo profit bolsters takeover defence
  • Norman stoic after Open near miss
  • House price plunge fuels recession fear
  • UK rate futures tumble as rate cut bets unwound
  • BBC prank calls row goes to Trust
  • Japan Stocks Post Best Weekly Rally in a Month
  • Saying Times implied McCain affair, lobbyist sues

Parting thot: "Writing distills, crystallizes & clarifies thought." - Stephen R Covey

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