Teaching English newswriting skills to Chinese students : a comparative study of news writing in Chinese and English and some suggestions on teaching

  • Yu Yueming

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Journalism education in China began early this century. However, the drastic changes in the Chinese society since the First World War have greatly hindered the development of journalism education. With the fall of the "gang of four" in 1976, China entered a new period in its history which is marked by a strong desire of the CPC and the people to modernize their country in the shortest possible time. This situation has produced an ever-increasing need for better journalists, especially international journalists who are able to use foreign language to promote mutual understanding and exchange between China and other countries. To meet this demand, the speciality of international journalism, a combination of journalism training and foreign language learning, has come into existence in many institutions. However, to teach Chinese students English journalism, particularly the skill of news writing in English, is not easy. Students constantly encounter difficulties in writing English news articles. They have problems in both language use and organisations. Their writing is very often unnatural and sometimes hard to comprehend for English-speaking readers. The reasons are mainly as follows. First, news writing, unlike any other form of writing, involves particular requirements which need to be carefully studied and analysed, such as the criteria for news value, the special structure of the article and the special choice of words; Secondly, as China’s policy towards journalism is very different from that of the west, its approach towards news is also different. Therefore, what is included in a Chinese news article is not always of news value to western readers. Thirdly, Chinese and English are two very different languages. Many dissimilarities exist in all aspects of the two languages, linguistic and rhetorical. Chinese students often find it difficult to free themselves of mother tongue interference. To solve these problems, a comparative study of the news - writing styles in both languages should be made by the teachers and students so that they can realise the similarities and dissimilarities between the two languages and their relative strengths and weaknesses in news writing. In addition, practice is also essential in the training of journalists. Extensive exposure to good English news writing styles and practices in producing them will surely benefit the students in their study of journalism.
    Date of Award1984
    Original languageEnglish

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