Luận văn The languega of airline's advertising slogans

Nowadays, in a developed world, thousands of new products and services are introduced each day, which makes advertising become a real art - the art of informing and persuading customers. Slogans can be considered the heart of advertisements wherever they appear. Slogans are the most important and condensed messages advertisers would like to send to their customers. Sharp and intelligent slogans can help advertisers leave unforgettable impressions on their potential customers’ minds. However, creating a successful slogan is never an easy task.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Rationale Nowadays, in a developed world, thousands of new products and services are introduced each day, which makes advertising become a real art - the art of informing and persuading customers. Slogans can be considered the heart of advertisements wherever they appear. Slogans are the most important and condensed messages advertisers would like to send to their customers. Sharp and intelligent slogans can help advertisers leave unforgettable impressions on their potential customers’ minds. However, creating a successful slogan is never an easy task. The use of just a few words in a slogan proves to be harder than it appears. It requires a sophisticated linguistic insight of phonology, lexicology, syntax as well as semantics and pragmatics. Hence, the study on some successful slogans promises a lot of interesting facts in the art of using language among advertisers. On the other hand, what can be called a successful slogan is still a question. The answer depends on the area of products and services the slogan is used for, the country or geographical regions it is used in and maybe the population of its target customers. Therefore, choosing one kind of products or services to study the slogans used in it should bring more thorough and detailed results of aspects of language exploited. The advertising slogans of some world-famous airlines are chosen to investigate in this study for two main reasons. First of all, when the airlines can be called famous, they must be successful in many aspects. They may provide services of elegant quality. Or they may have a long history of building their own prestige and class. But one thing that can be ensured is their successful advertising campaigns in which slogans play a vital part. The investigation into those slogans will hopefully reveal interesting features in language used in slogans in general and airline slogans in particular. Second, world-famous airlines have a wide scope of activities with customers coming from all over the world and. Thus, the language they use must be of common values and highly appreciated by many customers. There is no case of “accident slogans” which cause failure in advertising campaigns due to differences in cultural values and perceptions. Aims and Objectives of the Study The objective of this study is to investigate the phonological, lexical, semantic and syntactic features of airline advertising slogans. Basing on this, the study is hopefully aimed at drawing out some hints for Vietnamese advertisers, especially in airline services, which may help to improve their effectiveness and professionality. Scope of the Study All the slogans investigated in this study are taken from the advertisements of world-famous airlines, which include national airlines and the biggest ones of some developed countries. In this study, syntactic, semantic, phonological, and lexical features of the slogans are extensively discussed. Significance of the Study The values of the study lie in both theoretical and practical aspects. Theoretically, the study helps to find out linguistic features used in airlines slogans in particular and in our social life in general. Practically, it helps to find out the effectiveness of those linguistic features when applying to the act of advertising and hopefully suggests some ways of achieving great impression on customers’ minds through the art of using words by advertisers. Design of the study The study consists of five chapters. Chapter 1, entitled “INTRODUCTION”, outlines the background of the study. In this chapter, a brief account of relevant information is provided about the rationale, aims, scopes, method, and design of the study. Chapter 2, with the title “LITERATURE REVIEW”, can be considered a slight overview of some previous researches on the same subject both in English and Vietnamese. At the same time, it gives a theoretical background to this study with theoretical preliminaries directly related to the investigation of English employed in airlines’ advertising slogans, namely discourse, context, genre, register as well as the definitions of advertising and advertising slogans. Chapter 3 – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY – refers to the researching approach of the study and the method to collect and analyze the collected data to help the author achieve the best results in the study. Chapter 4 is called MAIN FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS, in which the author summarizes her findings in the characteristics of the English language used in airlines’ advertising slogans and also her conclusions on the percentage of slogans employing those characteristics. The last chapter is Chapter 5 – CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS, which provides the recapitulations, implications of the study to the creating process of advertising slogans in general and airlines’ slogans in particular, and suggestions for further studies. The study ends with the “BIBLIOGRAPHY”. CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Review of Previous Researches Advertising activities in Vietnam can be considered young and inexperienced compared to the long-built industry of advertising in the USA and European countries. This economic and social fact has led to the difference in the quantity of researches on this field in Vietnam and other countries. As a result, there are quite a few researches which have been carried out in every aspect of the same matter in English, many of which cover the features of advertising language. Some famous titles that can be mentioned here are “English in advertising: A linguistic study of advertising in Great Britain” by Geoffrey N.Leech (1996), “Advertising as communication” by Gillian Dyer (1982), “English for sale: A study of the language of advertising” by Lars Hermeren (1999), or “The discourse of advertising” by Guy Cook (2001). There are also some researches which only focus on some certain features in advertising language. Typical examples are “Selling America: Puns, language and adverting” by Michel Monnot (1982), “Pictorial Metaphor in Advertising” by Char Forceville (1998). There are also some contrastive studies which compare the advertising language in English and that in other languages, e.g. “Advertising language: A pragmatic approach to advertisements in Britain and Japan” by Keiko Tanaka (1994). In Vietnam, some notable researches on the language of advertising include two PhD theses done by Mai Xuan Huy (2001) on “Các đặc điểm của ngôn ngữ quảng cáo dưới ánh sáng của lý thuyết giao tiếp” (Features of advertising language in the light of communicative theory) and Ton Nu My Nhat (2005) in which she carried out a contrastive discourse analysis of travel advertisements based on the theory of Functional Grammar. Besides, there are many articles on the matter of advertising language which are collected by Nguyen Kien Truong in 2004 in a book called “Quảng cáo và ngôn ngữ quảng cáo: (Advertising and the language of advertising). Also, there are some MA theses carried out at institutional level. For example, in Vietnam National University, Hanoi College of Foreign Languages, a thesis on advertising language used in trade was studied by Hoang Thi Thuy in 2005 and another on “Presupposition and Implicature in English and Vietnamese Advertising Slogans” by Tran Thien Tu in 2007. All those books, articles and studies have revealed typical and very interesting features of advertising language in general and slogans in particular. 2.2 Theoretical preliminaries as instruments employed for conducting the research 2.2.1 Discourse Different linguists hold different points of view on what discourse is. Crystal (1992:25) considers discourse as a continuous stretch of language larger than a sentence, often contributing a coherent unit such as sermon, argument, joke or narrative. To Halliday and Hasan (1985:3), discourse is functional language. This fact suggests that linguists need more debates and discussion before an agreeable definition of discourse is made. However, the following definition of discourse suggested by Guy Cook (1989:7) seems to provide relatively sufficient information so that we can shape a clear image of discourse in our minds: “Discourse may be composed of one or more well-formed grammatical sentences – and indeed it often is – but it does not have to be. It can have grammatical “mistakes” in it, and often does.” “Discourse can be anything from a grunt or single expletive, through short conversations and scribbled notes right up to Tolstoy’s novel, WAR AND PEACE, or a lengthy legal case. What matters is not its conformity to rules, but the fact that it communicates and is recognized by its receivers as coherent.” Basing on this definition, advertisements and advertising slogans are undeniably discourses because they do communicate and they are recognized by their potential customers to be coherent. This is because advertisements themselves are messages from manufacturers or service providers to their customers and slogans are those messages in the most concise ways. 2.2.2 Discourse Analysis 2.2.2.1 Context Guy Cook (1989:39) considered context as “knowledge of the world outside language” which helps us to understand and use it to interpret the messages both in spoken and written form. According to Nunan (1993: 10), “context refers to the situation giving rise to the discourse and within which discourse is embedded”. From the two ways of defining context, it can be concluded that context is something that we need to understand the discourse and there is no discourse without context. 2.2.2.2 Role of context in discourse analysis Discourse analysis studies language in use: both written texts of all kinds and spoken data from informal to formal speech and it also studies the language phenomena above the sentence level that are influenced by contexts, social phenomena, social relationships as well as cultural factors. Hymes (1962) sees contexts as a limit of the range of possible interpretations, and on the other hand, a supporter of the intended interpretation. He states as follows: “The use of linguistic form identifies a range of meanings. A context can support a range of meanings. When a form is used in a context, it eliminates the meanings possible to that context other than those the form can signal; the context eliminates from consideration the meanings possible in the form other than those the context can support. ” (Hymes, 1962 quoted in Brown and Yules, 1983:38) Hymes (1962) focuses on the features of context in which it is thought to be relevant to the reading and interpretation of discourse. These features are mentioned by him: Addresser and addressee Audience Topic Setting Channel Code Message-form Event Key Purpose 2.2.2.3 Register Different linguists give different concepts of register. Here are some of them: “Register may be defined as the variety of a language used in particular situational context”. (Halliday 1985:12) Michael (1991:478) sees register from a different point of view. With him, “register reflects the degree of technical specification in the language of economics, banking and finance, international business, advertising, medicine, information technology and so forth. Discourse register reflects the degree of formality of particular text by using a characteristic set of lexical and grammatical features”. Besides, Galperin (1977:319) suggests that , “a functional style of language is a system of interrelated language means which serves a definite aim in communication”. From different definitions of register above, it can be seen that registers of functional styles are linguistic variations linked to specific occupations, professions, topics and so on to serve a specific aim in communication. 2.2.3 Genre The word “genre” comes from the French (originally Latin) word for “kind” or “class”. It has been used in rhetoric, literary theory, media theory and linguistics to refer to a distinctive type of text (a text in any mode). Since classical times literary works have been classified under genres (poetry, prose, drama, etc.) with sub-genres, e.g. tragedy and comedy as sub-genres of drama, and modern media routinely categorized into genres (e.g. film-trailers, or TV programs – sitcom, game shows, etc.) In the realm of language, linguists have put forward quite a few concepts of genre. Among them, the following ones seem the most detailed and convincing. “A genre is a socially sanctioned type of communicative event, either spoken-like a sermon, a joke, a lecture – or printed, like a press report, a novel, or a political manifesto” (Kramsch, 1998:62) and “Genres are how things get done, when language is used to accomplish them. They range them from literary to far from literary forms: poems, narratives, expositions, lectures, seminars, recipes, manuals, appointment making, service encounters, news broadcast and so on. The term “genre” is used here to embrace each of the linguistically realized activity types which comprise so much of our culture”. (Martin, 1985:250) It can be easily seen that linguists, though contradicting in their concepts of others, seem to reach a relative agreement here as it can be concluded by Bhatia (1993 as cited in Holland and Lewis 2000: 76), “genre is recognizable and mutually understood by the number of professional or academic community in which it regularly occurs.” 2.2.4 Grice’s maxims Grice (1975), in his book, makes an attempt to develop the inferential model into an adequate explanatory account of communication. He suggests that communication is governed by a cooperative principle and maxims of conversation. Grice’s fundamental idea is that the communicators are trying to meet certain standards in their conversation. From knowledge of these standards, observation of the communicator’s behavior, and the context, it is possible to infer the communicator’s specific intention. “Our talk exchanges…are characteristically, to some degree at least, cooperative efforts; and each participant recognizes in them, to some extent, a common purpose or set of purposes, or at least a mutually accepted direction…at each stage, some possible conversational moves would be excluded as conversationally unsuitable. We might then formulate a rough general principle which participants will be expected to observe, namely: Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.” (Grice, 1975:45) This general principle, which was called “the cooperative principle”, is expected to be followed by all speakers. Furthermore, the standards for conducting cooperative communication were claimed by Grice to be of several different types. Grice called these standards maxims and grouped them under categories: Quantity, Make your contribution as informative as required (for the current purpose of the exchange). Do not make your contribution more informative than is required (Grice 1975: 45). Quality, Supermaxim: Try to make your contribution one that is true. Do not say what you believe to be false. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence. Relation, Be relevant. and Manner, Avoid obscurity of expression. Avoid ambiguity. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity). Be orderly. 2.2.5 Communication It cannot be denied that communication plays a vital role in human life. Life could not continue and thrive without people’s communication. In his work, Fiske (1990:51) defines communication as social interaction through messages. It can be inferred that communication appears in social contexts among people with messages to be transferred. Here, he emphasizes that the messages are not only information but also relationship between the speakers and the hearers. However, this definition seems too broad and blurred in meaning. According to Bovee and Thill (2000:57), communication can occur in various forms, written or spoken, verbal or nonverbal, to show a process of sending and receiving messages. This concept has much to share with the definition given by Saundra Hybels and Richard L. Weaver (1992:7) which says “communication is any process in which people share information, ideas, and feelings. That process involves not only spoken or written word, but also the body language, personal mannerism and style, the surroundings – anybody that adds meanings to a message.” As seen from this definition, communication itself is an on-going process with a lot of factors that help. Basing on particular situations, communicators will choose to make use of some factors that are most useful and available in such cases to make their messages understood. Therefore, it can be concluded that communication process is made up of various elements in which there are participants, messages, channels, feedback, noise and setting: Participants: the sender and receiver of the messages in both interpersonal and non-interpersonal communication. Messages: including meanings, signs, symbols, encoding and decoding and form or organization. Channels: the ways messages are sent. Feedback: the response of the receiver to the sender and vice-versa. Noise: it is interference that gets in the way of sharing meaning. There are 3 forms of noise. External noises: They are sights, sounds and other stimuli that draw people’s attention away from intended meaning. Internal noises: They are thoughts and feelings that interfere with meaning. Semantic noises: They are those that alternate meanings arisen certain symbols that inhibit meaning. Also, meanings are dependent on your own experience, other people may sometimes decode a word or phrase differently from the way you intended. Setting: It is the place where the communication occurs. This is an important factor and has great influences on communication. Advertising as a form of communication 2.2.5.1 Advertising American Marketing Association (AMA) defines advertising as “the non-personal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the various media.” (www.marketingpower.com) It is due to its generalization that this definition is chosen by AMA. First of all, advertising is non-personal communication in comparison with interpersonal communication in which both speakers and hearers are there to interact with each other. Advertising is not aimed at any individual, or by any individual. It’s a non-personal transmission of information aiming at the public or a certain group of people. Because of the non-personal features of advertising, the dissemination and operation of it should be restricted by the law of a country, the moral standards and people’s psychology. The information, methods, media, and other components of advertising should follow the advertising laws, policies and rules, and should be under the supervision of the public. All of these components are mutual features and essential elements of every advertisement. Secondly, it is because of the money advertisers have to pay for their messages that the language used in advertisements is always well-chosen and really meaningful. It can be said that advertising language is a style of immediate impact and rapid persuasion. This must be the result of many processes of writing, rewriting, testing, modifying and so forth. Churchill, Jr. and Peter (1998: 142) confirm the above concept with their definition: “Advertising is noted as any announcement or persuasive message placed in the mass media in paid or donated time or space by an identified individual, company, or organization to serve a number of audience about products and persuade or remind them of buying, to convey information about the organization itself or issues important to the organization in order to create or enhance perception of the quality or
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