Sunday, 14 November 2010

Improving the Use of English by Reading HELLO

In order to identify how influent this magazine to improve readers’ ability in using English in their dailyy activities, we selected and analyzed this local English magazine called HELLO. We found that from its educative and understandable feature’s lines on the cover to its content of fun English articles, HELLO magazine is educating and entertaining, whose target audience is students or younger, aged 10-16. To analyze HELLO, we investigated the overall effect of the magazine by studying the cover and its features, and the table of contents of several issues. Moreover, we read the articles in the magazine and examined the writing style, including the grammatical structure, and tone and attitude.

First, from the appearance, we as the readers may underestimate this magazine by snatching its cover on the first sight. The appearance of its cover was unsatisfied for the readers. The quality of the picture was blurry and not attractive and it looked like in unfinished editing, so it seemed that the editors worked in a rush. Another weakness is that they put the picture not in a right place which could be seen in the April 2002 edition, so when the audiences read the name of the magazine from the cover that should be “hello”, it became “hell”. However, beyond those weaknesses, this magazine offered high quality English-reading materials that were suitable for general readers, both male and female. Moreover, the feature’s lines on the cover represented well for introducing the content with well-structured use of English.

The second aspect that we found is the table of content which demonstrated that the focus of this magazine is how to improve our English from knowing about what is happening in abroad by reading entertaining and educating articles in this magazine. For instance, in the January 2001 edition, it told about “Sarah Michelles Gellar”, “The Angels of the New Millenium Movie”, and “The Development of AC Milan”. Also, in the April 2002 edition, the headline was about Cameron Diaz. Most of the articles were about the hollywood artists, movies, and music. It seemed that by reading this magazine, not only do the readers read the article, but they can also know better about the people there who use English as their first languange.

Another point related to the content’s appearance of this magazine is that on the previous edition in 2002, the use of papers was quite simple because they used to use monochrome papers, but in the following editions, they used A4 papers for the magazine. Its contents are used to be black and white that were rare of pictures, but then they made the content colorful and full of pictures because of the readers’ requests. This magazine did not provide any advertisement, so when the publishers would like to make the magazine more colourful, they increased its price. From this effort of the publisher to reach the market target, it means that this magazine always tries to comply the readers’ needs of English materials. For every plus, there is also a minus. The posistion of the quiz form that should be cut in this magazine is not put in the right place. So, if the readers cut the quiz form, it will also affect to the useful article behind it. But, the most powerful thing of this magazine that bet all of those weaknesses is the presence of the educative feature called Language Forum. In this feature, the writers discussed the confusing words that came from the readers’ letters. For instance, in the January 2001 edition, feature were disccussing the confusing words between “beside and besides”, and in the December 2001 edition, it discussed the confusing words between “machine and engine”.

In addition, from the content of this magazine, as its aims to provide youth English learners lots of good reading materials, each article in hello was quite long and very detail. The use of pictures or colorful visual effects in most articles were very minimum; however, it did not reduce the readers curiosity to read the whole articles. For example an old movie called The Princess Diaries was reviewed perfectly by the writer in a two-page article. “A Lesson to be a Graceful Queen” (p.12-13), the title of the article, reviewed the movie by combining lots of idiomatic expressions or phrases that enrich the reader knowledge of English. Here is one example of the paragraphs that uses an idiomatic expression:

[A] shy San Fransisco teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) is thrown for a loop, from out of the blue, when she learns the astonishing news that she is a real princess (… par.1)

In this case, the meaning of “out of the blue” is related with British culture which means that something comes suddenly or unexpectedly. Moreover, the other articles in the magazine use formal language in transferring the idea of the article, such as “Tips to Study abroad” (p.26-27) and “The ABC of Translation” (p. 30 and 50). So, it is clearly shown that the editor of the magazine wanted the reader to understand English better after reading the articles that were provided in each edition.

Besides, we critized the grammatical structure, the tone and attitude of the magazine. As an English magazine that concerns in providing good English articles, most passages were written in a narative way. Therefore, the grammatical structure of each passage mostly combined the compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences, and the use of simple sentences were almost rare. For instance, the use of those structures can be seen in the April 2002 edition that stated, “She was right when she thought that it was a matter of luck” (2002, par. 8). Another point that encouraged our critical thinking was from the tone and the attitude of this magazine. The tone and the attitude of this magazine were attractive, persuasive, and informative. It was attractive because each edition wrote interesting articles about Hollywood artists, for example in the April 2002 edition entitled “Cool and Independent Cameron Diaz” (p.6-7). Another article entitled “Kang Guru Magazine” is very persuasive because the content of the article asked the readers to know more about the Kang Guru Magazine by buying it. In addition, HELLO is also informative because we could get lots of information, which can be seen in the Desember 2001 edition called “Effect Ways to Improve Conversation Skill” (p. 44-45) or in the January 2001 edition called “The Unforgettable England”.

In short, from studying the cover to critisizing its tone and attitude, we conclude that the important point from this magazine is that the appearance is not a matter of problem to produce reading materials for those who want to learn English. This statement is supported by the evidence which shows that this magazine still has loyal readers who have been with it for about 18 years (2002, p. 1). The saying of “Do not judge a book by its cover” is very suitable for this magazine. This magazine can influence the readers to improve English by reading its attractive, informative, persuasive articles.

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