Pragmalinguistic Peculiarities of English Slogan in Fashion Domain/Chapter 1. Pragmatics of advertising discourse

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Discourse is a complex communicative unity, which includes a text and extra-linguistic factors, which are necessary to understand a text. Discourse is such a dimension understood as a complex of utterences, which combines the process and the result of speaking (communicative) act. Its inner structure is built on syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations between formal elements of the system and defines the pragmatic position of the subject of the utterance, limiting the field of possible text meanings.[1] From the formalistic point of view discourse is the creation that exceeds the sentence and is compared to complex syntactic unity and text.[2] Speaking about functionality, discourse is seen as combination of functionally organized and determined by context language usages. Discourse is determined by a situation it appeares in. Discourse as the situational phenomenon includes a set of social, cultural, and pragmatical factors, which are out of linguistics, but they do influence the process of speaking.[3]

Levels of language[edit | edit source]

M.A.K.Halliday in his work An Introduction to Functional Grammar [4] presents the concept of the notion of pragmatics. Halliday divides a language into Extralinguistic and Linguistic levels. The Extralinguistic levels include the Context of Culture, which shapes the meanings of any interaction in social practices, and the Context of Situation, which gives substance to the words and grammatical patterns produced by speakers or writers. These two contexts are realised on the Linguistic levels, which are divided into two levels: the Content level and the Expression level. The Content level is further divided into Semantics and Lexicogrammar. These are further realised on the Expression level, which includes the Phonology (in speaking), Gestures (in signed languages) and Graphology (in writing).

Levels of language (according to M.A.K. Halliday)

Genres of discourse[edit | edit source]

Teun Van Dijk writes that the term "discourse" is used to refer to different genres, "political discourse", "scientific discourse", "news discourse" [5]. He added that the known types of text added a new genre that "fills the space newspapers and screen - active and persuasive advertising." The advertising discourse is a kind of institutional discourse. Guy Gook identifies two main types of discourse, personal, or self-centered, and institutional [1]. In the first case, the speaker acts as a person, with all the individual characteristics of the world-view, the second - as a representative of a particular social institution. Institutional discourse is a set of communication which is based on the status and the role within the society or institution. A stereotype is an essential feature that helps to distinguish institutional discourse from personal. Institutional discourse is based on two important elements: the purpose and participants of communication[6]. The purpose of advertising communication is not only to attract the attention of the audience, but also to encourage the greatest part of it to action.

Communicative roles in discourse[edit | edit source]

Major participants in institutional discourse are social institution members (agents) and people who address them (clients). Communicative roles are cliches within the institutional discourse; they are the key to understanding the whole system of relations in the particular situation. They help to clearly distinguish the range of duties and rights (original rules), which will be later interpreted as the basic elements for pragmatic text.

Pragmatics[edit | edit source]

Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics and semiotics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Unlike semantics, which examines meaning that is "coded" in a given language, pragmatics studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge (e.g., grammar, lexicon, etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, any pre-existing knowledge about those involved, the inferred intention|intent of the speaker, and other factors.[6] The basic idea of ​​pragmatics is language that can be understood and explained only in the broader context of its usage. The concept is a basic operation in the pragmatic approach to language. Pragmatics studies all the conditions under which people use language signs. By the conditions the adequate selection and usage elf language units in order to achieve the goals of communication are understood. J.L. Austin, analysing the impact on the members of the communication act during speech activity, came to the conclusion that pragmatics is a branch of semiotics, which studied the linguistic sign in broadcasting, including the complex issues related to the speaker, the addressee and their interaction in the communication process and the situation of communication.[3]

Advertising discourse[edit | edit source]

Advertising discourse is "pragmatic discourse" because it actualises particular communication strategies. These strategies are implemented within the speech act, which is the basis for the exchange of information between participants of communication. The theory of speech acts is associated primarily with the name of John Langshaw Austin, who drew attention to the fact that the intonation of the utterance may be not only a message which contains some information, but also it may include some other actions, for example, request, advice, or warning. Within the theory of linguistic philosophy of Austin and Searle there was an attempt to proposed the distinction of locution (the act of speech,) illocution (the realisation of any communicative act in the process of speaking,) and perlocution (impact on feelings, thoughts and actions of others and getting results.)[3] When the participants of the communicative act interact two processes happen simultaneously - locution and illocution. The utterance is being pronounced and the utterance is being heard. A number of issues that pragmatics studies are relevant to promotional activities, which implies the impact on the recipient. Each ad text is designed for a perlocution effect. The pragmatic orientation of any advertising text is to provoke the recipient to act. The effectiveness of communication by means of advertising lies in how successful was the impact on the recipient of the information. N.D. Arutyunova analysing the recipient factor in the speech act, points out the relation between the pragmatic speech act, the speaker, and the communicative situation itself. All these factors influence the way the recipient decodes the message. So-called agreement between all the elements of the communicative act ensures adequate communication where the message of a speaker is properly decoded by a receiver of the message.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b Cook, Guy. The Discourse of Advertising. London: Routledge, 1996. Print.
  2. Searle, J.R. “What a Speech Act Is?” New in Foreign Linguistics. Iss. 17. Moscow: Progress,1986. 151-170. Print.
  3. a b c Austin, J.L. “The Meaning of a Word.” Philosophical Papers by J.L. Austin. Ed. J.O. Urmson and G.J. Warnock. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961. 23-43. Print.
  4. Halliday, M. A. K., and C. M. I. M. Matthiessen. An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd ed.) London: Arnold, 2004. Print.
  5. Dijk, Teun Van. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: Sage, 1998. Print.
  6. a b Mey, Jacob L. Pragmatics: An Introduction (2nd ed.) Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.