By Alan Alexander,2014-05-03 20:44
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摘要 本文旨在通过对书面英语广告的语言分析总结出广告英语在词汇?











关键词: 广告英语,词汇,句法,篇章,相同点,不同点



This paper presents an analytical study of the language

    features of English advertisements at lexical, syntactic and

    discourse levels. In order to conduct a data-driven study, the

    author builds a corpus of 60 English advertisements. It is

    hoped that through the detailed survey of three types of

    advertisements: namely, daily consumer goods ads, technical

    equipment ads, service ads, similarities and differences in

    advertising language features can be summarized and possible

    reasons will be given in the light of the meaning, and function of language.

This paper will be presented in five parts. The first part is

    the introduction and the last conclusion. The focus of the

    paper is laid on the three middle parts which respectively

    analyze language features at lexical, syntactic and discourse levels. The conclusion of this paper is drawn from the data

    analysis. In the analysis, examples from the corpus will be

    given; figures, tables and graphs will also be offered to make

    the paper understandable and persuasive.

It is hoped that the study can shed light on the language

    features of advertisements and also provide help to copy

    writers and advertising English learners.

KEYWORDS: English Advertisements, Lexical, Syntactic,


Similarities, Differences



    Introduction „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 1

    1.1 Rationale of the

    study „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„... 1

    1.2 Definition of

    advertising „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„... 1

1.3 Focus of the present

    study „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 1 1.4 Sources of

    data „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 2 2. Lexical

    features „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 2 2.1 Classification of advertising and its

    audience „„„„„„„„„„„.. 2

    2.2 Similarities at the lexical

    level „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 3 2.2.1 Few verbs are

    used „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„... 3 2.2.2 Use of emotive

    words „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„.. 4 2.2.3 Make pun and

    alliteration „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 4 2.2.4 Use of weasel

    words „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 5 2.3 Differences at the lexical

    level „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 6 2.3.1 Gender identity in

    advertisements„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 6 2.3.2 Selection of

    Adjectives „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 7 2.3.3 Compound

    words „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 8 2.3.4 Use of

    pronouns „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 8 3. Syntactical

    features „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 9 3.1

    Similarities „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 9


    Differences „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„ 10


    Headlines „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„.. 10

    3.2.2 Comparison of headlines of different types of

    ads „„„„„„„„„... 11

    4. Discourse

    features...„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„.. 12 4.1 Body copy of

advertisements „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„... 12

    4.2 Differences in body

    copy „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„. 12 5.

    Conclusion „„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„„



Sincere thanks go to Dr. Wei Naixing for his insightful

    guidance and earnest help all through the searching, analysis

    and paper-writing stages.

The author also wants to extend her thanks to Ms. Linda Frost

    who has given much help in data collecting.


[1] Bolinger, Dwight & Sears, Donald A. Aspects of Language

    third edition

    New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1981

[2] Bovee, Courtland L. & Arens, William F. Contemporary

    Advertising forth edition

Homewood, IL: Irwin 1992

    [3] Gove, Philip Babcock Websters Third New International


    Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co. 1976

[4] Gregory, Michael Language Varieties and Their Social


    London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1981

[5] Jefkins, Frank William Advertising Philadelphia, PA:

    Macdonald and Evans 1985

    [6] ODonnell, W. R. & Todd, Loreto Variety in Contemporary English

    London: George Allen & Unwin (Publishers) Ltd. 1985

[7] Roberts, William H. & Turgeon, Gregoire About Language

    second editon

Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1989

[8] Vestergaard, Torben & Schr der, Kim The language of


Oxford[Oxfordshire]; New York, NY, USA: B. Blackwell 1985

    [9] 方薇 《现代英语广告教程》 南京大学出版社 1997


1. Introduction

1.1 Rationale of the study

We live in a world of advertising. As potential consumers, we

    are endlessly bombarded with all kinds of product or service

    information from various media including newspapers, magazines,

    television, radio, posters and Internet, etc. Advertising

    provides a valuable service to society and its members, because

    it defines for consumers the meaning and the role of products,

    services, and institutions. It indicates the difference that

    exists between brands of products and alternative services, as

    well as the distinguishing characteristics of companies and

    institutions. Advertising also tells the consumer what a specific product, brand or service should do when it is used

    and thus helps him or her to understand and evaluate experience

    with the products and services that he or she uses. On the

    other hand, by making people aware of products, service and ideas, advertising promotes sales and profits. Finally,

    advertising is one of the major forces that are helping improve

    the standard of living around the world. Combined with all

    these communicational, marketing and social functions.

Advertising becomes indispensable in the modern world.

Naturally, advertisements in English have become an important

    means of communicating ideas, demonstrating a variety of

    linguistic features of its own. The present study attempts to

    examine these features at the lexical, syntactic and discourse levels, in the hope of bringing them to light and, thereby,

    offering help to advertisement writers and language learners.

    1.2 Definition of advertising

According to the Definition Committee of American Marketing

    Association(方薇, 1997:2), advertising is defined as follows:

Advertising is the nonpersonal communication of information

    usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about

    products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the

    various media.

    1.3 Focus of the present study

Usually, advertising communicates information in three types:

    audio, visual, and language. It is a more common case that an

    advertisement is a mixture of the three. In radio

    advertisements, music is always accompanied by language; on TV

    and motion pictures, music and language illustration are mixed

    with each other. In magazines and newspapers, advertisements

    are a combination of pictures and language of written

    information. Although music and pictures can provide some

    hints, or create a kind of atmosphere, the information about

    the product is limited. Even worse, it may lead to

    misunderstanding. Thus, we may say that language in a way

provides more exact, detailed and dependable information

    whereas music and pictures only act as a supplementary means in

    advertising. Advertising language, playing a role of

    communication and persuasion, has developed its own features.

This paper will focus on the language features of English

    advertisements at lexical, syntactic and discourse levels. It is hoped, by a contrastive study of advertisements on three

    types of products (daily consumer goods, technical equipment

    and service), similarities and differences of the three types

    of advertisements will be summarized and possible reasons will

    be given in the light of the meaning, and function of language.

1.4 Sources of data

All the advertisements studied in this paper are taken from

    English magazines. They are chosen from Time, People and

    Newsweek (issues from 1999-2000), because these three magazines have a huge circulation, covering all kinds of audience. Almost

    all kinds of advertisements can be found in these magazines. In

    order to get valuable information for the study, a corpus of 60

    advertisements was built, which consists of 20 daily consumer goods ads, 20 technical equipment ads, and 20 service ads.

    Conclusions will be drawn through quantitative and qualitative

    studies of the data.

2 Lexical Features

    2.1 Classification of advertising and its audience

Generally speaking, advertisements can be divided into two

    types: public relation ads and commercial ads. The former tries

    to advocate reputation for a social group, whose purpose is to

    leave a favorable impression upon the potential audience. The

    latter leads to the act of purchasing the products or using the

    recommended service. Commercial ads are much more presented

    through mass media for the reason that manufacturers and

    companies are willing to spend a large sum of money to make a

    certain product known or to boost the image of a certain brand.

    In some cases, competitors, like Coca-cola and Perpsi, even spare no expense to launch advertising campaigns to win over

    the market share. Commercial advertising can also be divided

    according to the target audience into two groups: consumer advertising and business advertising. Most of the ads in the

    mass media are consumer advertisements. They are typically

    directed at consumers. By contrast, business advertising tends

    to be concentrated in specialized business publications, professional journals, trade shows targeting at a certain group

    of people involved in some business. Since consumer advertising

    is most accessible to common people, the present study on will

    focus on consumer advertising. The classification of

    advertising is clearly shown in the following graph:

    Graph 1 Classification of advertisements

    Public ads Daily consumer goods ads

Advertising Consumer ads Technical equipment ads

Commercial ads

Business ads Service ads

The bold parts show the scope of advertisements we study. Daily

    consumer goods are necessities of daily life, such as food,

    detergent, hygiene, etc. Technical equipment is technical toys

    and electric equipment such as camera, vehicle, hi-fi, etc.

    Service covers bank, insurance, fund, etc.

Actually, advertising works effectively some of the time and

    doesnt work other times. The single crucial reason that

    advertising does not work is that in specific instances the

    information it conveys never reaches the consumer at all, or is

    judged by the consumer to be either redundant, meaningless, or

    irrelevant. For example, a motorbike advertisement will

    probably be invisible to housewives on the lookout for new

    cutlery. Social status and individual interest decide that

    consumer goods ads are mainly targeting at women while

    technical equipment ads are largely aiming at men. The amount

    of shared knowledge between the advertiser and the audience

    together with the thinking habit of the audience directly

    influences the advertising language. Since products and audience change in every advertisement in order to achieve high

    advertising effectiveness, language used differs in different

    types of advertisements. Thus, in this paper we discuss not

    only the similarities of language shared by all types of

    advertisements but also differences of language used in

    different kinds of advertisements.

    2.2 Similarities at the lexical level

In order to make the information accessible to audience

    effectively, the choice of words in advertising is very

    cautious and skillful. The aim of the advertiser is quite

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