Taking full advantage |
of the news style
Watch for synonyms
News stories in the Bangkok Post are designed to be understood quickly and easily by ordinary
readers without expert knowledge of the subject matter. The main topics are introduced at the
beginning and expanded upon as the story develops. This means you get several chances to
understand the main ideas. This is especially useful for understanding unfamiliar vocabulary. For
example, writers will often use a synonym (word with the same or similar meaning) to avoid
sounding repetitious. If you know one of the two words, you can understand them both—without
|Irate Canadians question lack of information|
Ottawa (AFP)—ANGRY Canadians were asking Wednesday why they were not informed of a
serious incident in which 11 Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia-Hercegovina were reportedly put in
front of a mock firing squad.
Watch for explanations
Newswriters realise that they are writing for ordinary people. For this reason, they often explain
technical vocabulary or technical concepts. This may be done in a phrase immediately following the
technical word, or it may take the form of a complete sentence of explanation.
|Brain diseases kills 325|
NEW DELHI (Reuter)—An encephalitis outbreak has claimed 325 lives in the past month, a State
Health Department spokesman said yesterday.
Encephalitis, a viral brain disease spread by mosquitoes, killed 325 people in India last year,
according to official statistics.
Watch for examples and elaboration
You can often understand an unfamiliar word or concept even if the writer does not provide you with
a synonym or explanation. As the story develops and the writer adds details, you have a good chance
of finding one or more specific examples of the unfamiliar concept. In the story below, for example,
notice how you eventually find several specific examples of delinquency. Even if you only
understand one of the examples, you can still get a good idea of the concept of delinquency. And you
can also figure out that juvenile delinquency must be something carried out by young people.
|S'pore worries over delinquency|
Singapore (AP)—RISING juvenile delinquency is alarming authorities in Singapore, a super-efficient
city-nation often lauded as a model society.
According to the latest police figures, the number of juvenile delinquents reached a record high
of 1,892 in 1993, a 28-per cent rise over 1992 figures, Community Development Minister Ch’ng Jit
Koon said on Saturday. These statistics are of concern to all of us. We need to understand why juveniles turned to
crimes in order to check this disturbing trend, said Ch’ng
The 384 members of the government-sponsored group supplement the Community Probation
Service, which counsels juvenile delinquents usually caught shoplifting and vandalising cars, or for
more serious crimes like stealing motorcycles. Parental neglect could be one of the reasons for the rise in juvenile delinquency, Ch’ng said. Quoting studies, he also blamed poor academic performance and peer pressure. Of the 1,787 youngsters placed on probation between 1989 and 1993, 50 per cent were school dropouts.
Have a questioning attitude
Once good readers understand what the subject they are reading about is from the headline and lead, they automatically form questions in their minds. And because of the nature of news stories, they can expect their questions to be answered in the body of the story. This may not be automatic for you
at first, so you may want to spend a moment and form your own questions. This gives you a purpose and it makes even the most difficult story easier to read.
Return to Reading tips or read our pages on Building your vocabulary.