STANDARD ADVERTISING LANGUAGE (SAL)From now on, see Leech, English in Advertising – Chapters 11-22Pennarola: Chapter 3 • Linguistic features that are unique in SAL • Linguistic features that are more frequently employed in SAL than in other registers
SAL • FEATURES TO BE INVESTIGATED IN: • Clauses • Mood • Questions • Absence of subordination (minor/non finite sentences with disjunctive language) • Coordination • Cohesion / Lack of cohesion • Verbal groups • Nominal groups • Words and compounds • Vocabulary
SAL – Clauses Imperative Mood • Higher occurrence of imperatives in SAL than in other registers. • They stir an active response • Used for three main reasons: • Product acquisition (addressed to the consumer): buy, choose, ask for • Product consumption / use: have, try, use, enjoy • Appeal for notice/fear (common in commercials of the demonstration type & to admonish or learn a lesson for the future): remember, make sure, see, look, watch
Clauses: Imperative MoodProduct acquisition, Product consumption or Appeal for notice??
SAL – Clauses Interrogative MOOD • Questions are more frequent in INDIRECT address than in direct address • Questions require an answer BUT advertising is a one-way channel of communication • Why then asking questions? Because they stir a verbal response, they activate a channel of communication….
Questions are more frequent in INDIRECT address than in direct address
SAL – Clauses: Interrogative MOOD • YES/NO questionsstir the expected answer according to the product • Ultimately, Yes/No questions are a special form or a sub-category of rhetorical questions. • Rhetorical questions: a rhetorical devise, posed not to elicit a specific answer, but rather to encourage the listener to consider a message or viewpoint. They are rarely used in SAL (though exceptions happen) • WH- questions are psychologically structured in problem/solution [i.e. headline/bodycopy] patterns; linguistically they are employed to make easier a sentence which otherwise would be complex
SAL – CLAUSES: INTERROGATIVE MOODYes/no questions as Rhetorical Questions
SAL – CLAUSESINTERROGATIVE MOODWh- questions Problem- solution patterns (headline-bodycopy)
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System • Major and minor sentences • A major sentence is a regular sentence; it has a SUBJECT and a PREDICATE • However, a minor sentence is an irregular type of sentence. It does not contain a finite verb. • For example, "Mary!" "Yes." "Coffee." etc. • Other examples of minor sentences are headings (e.g. the heading of this entry), stereotyped expressions ("Hello!"), emotional expressions ("Wow!")…..
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System The non-finite clause always has the ability to do without a subject: The best thing would be to tell everybody Also (optional subject) … for you to tell everybody It’s great to be free Covered in confusion, I left the room The absence of a finite verb from non-finite clauses, means that they have no distinction of person, number, or tense.
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System • Kids like to play on computers. (an infinitive clause using the English to-infinitive) • It's easy for kids to play on computers. (an infinitive clause containing periphrastic expression of the subject) • Playing on computers, they whiled the day away. (a participial clause, using a present participle) • The kids playing on their computers, we were able to enjoy some time alone. (a participal clause with a subject) • Having played on computers all day, they were pale and hungry. (a participial clause using a past participle) • Playing on computers is fun. (a gerund clause)
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System They constitute a means of syntactic compression. Popular in certain types of written discourse where the writer wants to suggest that their meaning should be recovered from the context. Can you try to detect the missing forms (verb TO BE + pronoun)?: Defeated, he left the room Once appointed prime minister, he took the strict measures expected of him During emergencies, feelings normally kept in check are ready to flourish
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System • non-finite and minor clauses are a feature of disjunctive grammar; • In disjunctive grammar (i.e. marked by break or disunity) relation between different parts of the message is inferred (not grammatically indicated): “Cascade. Because you don’t have time for spots” (Cascade dishwasher)
Disjunctive modeSee Leech, English in Advertising, chapter 9 • The disjunctive grammar that uses proper names only is called BLOCK LANGUAGE. • Block language, i.e. language structures--typical of headlines, slogans, lists, and text messages (including tweets)--made up only of words that are essential to convey a message.
Disjunctive grammarSee Leech, English in Advertising, chapter 9 • In disjunctive grammar, the only grammar we need is a knowledge of the structure of English proper names: one part of the nominal group. • Headlines, posters, public announcements
Disjunctive grammarLeech, English in Advertising, chapter 9 • Main difference between discursive and disjunctive grammar: • in discursive grammar, minor and non-finite clauses are dependent; • in disjunctive grammar, minor and non-finite clauses are independent
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/non-finite System • minor and non-finite clauses do not begin with a subordinate element • parenthetical inclusion does not occur in SAL • intonation and punctuation clues generally point to independent clauses. • In punctuation, the comma is rarely used; punctuation marks of greater separative force (as full stops, dashes, sequence of dots) predominate.
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/Non-finite System • Non-finite & minor clauses have such simple grammar (no structure above the group) as to coincide with block language. • The preferred structure is the AZ or ZA pattern. • Particularly characteristic clauses are those whose initial adjuncts are prepositional phrases beginning with FOR
SAL – CLAUSESMinor/Non-finite System • If the for phrase contains an abstract noun group, we have a benefit associated with the products: http://go.virgilio.it/clkc_M_search_siti_highvolume_0_819561_1_4/http://freeweb.supereva.com/favullo/
SAL – CLAUSES Minor/Non-finite System • When the for phrase contains a personal noun group, it denotes the potential beneficiary:
SAL – DEPENDENT CLAUSES: WHEN, IF and BECAUSE • When is equivalent to whenever and means: • whenever X is used, Y is the result • whenever you want Y, use X • You is almost invariably the subject of the when clause. • The tendency is to have the dependent clause BEFORE the independent one
SAL DEPENDENT CLAUSES: WHEN, IF and BECAUSE • In IF-clauses, there is a strong tendency to have the dependent clause BEFORE the independent • Reasons: • To single out the right category of consumers. • To make an initial bid for attention by appealing the consumer’s interest
SAL DEPENDENT CLAUSES: WHEN, IF and BECAUSE • BECAUSE = giving a reason for buying the product. • The main meaning is ‘buy X. Because Y will be the result’. • position of the because-clause is always AFTER the independent one. • Whenever the copywriter wants to state the reason before the conclusion, the alternative version is given by so or that’s why
SAL DEPENDENT CLAUSES: WHEN, IF and BECAUSE (examples) • Next time you pack his lunchbox pop in some cheese and an apple. Because men love cheese. • Men love cheese. So next time you pack his lunchbox pop in some cheese and an apple. • Men love cheese. That’s why next time you pack his lunchbox some cheese and an apple must be popped in.
SAL: COHESION & COHERENCE • Meaning is conveyed thanks to cohesion and coherence. • In advertising language meaning is granted by cohesion, coherence and anchorage (a necessity as the texts intermingle with the visuals). • Main features of cohesion and coherence in SAL: • Coordination (even in those cases in which subordination better defines meaning) – apposition • Parataxis rather than a hypotaxis • Disjunctive and abbreviated grammar exploit the ‘lack’ of cohesion given by parataxis and apposition.
COHESION & COHERENCECOORDINATION • A frequent type of coordination is apposition. • Apposition = coordination created by two noun groups, one of which - in the case of advertising – is the brandname: • Lifeguard. The disinfectant you trust completely. • Churchman’s Olympic Tipped. The cigarette that leads the way. • Apposition associates the brandname with a tag-line (sometimes the slogan) => positive image of the product.
SAL: COHESION & COHERENCE PARATAXIS • Why? Because the colloquial style is exploited by SAL: • No necessity of expressing the grammatical or lexical relations that allow the building of cohesion and coherence as speakers continually refer to their common-shared context. • context is provided by the visual (= common-shared context between the copywriter and the reader).
COHESION & COHERENCEPARATAXIS (2) • The text is divided in smaller and more digestible units which can be better stored in the short term memory of the readers – thus facilitating readability. • We have a strong presence of the lexical repetition of the same item, usually the brandname – this for obvious reasons which may be lead to the concept of memorability. • Parataxis augments the feeling of genuine and non-premeditated discourse (which is conveyed by linking).
SAL - VERBAL GROUPS • Verbal groups consist of a single verb. • Auxiliaries are found rarely. • Present tense is always used even in those cases where the present continuous or the present perfect are required. • In this way the present is unrestricted and has a universal reference • Past tense is used in prestige ad only • Passive is never used.
SAL - VERBAL GROUPS • Exceptions: CAN and WILL • WILL = PROMISE (consumer ads), a sort of conditional sentence with an unexpressed condition; • CAN = OPPORTUNITY & POSSIBILITY; • Subject • animate (YOU) - OPPORTUNITY, • unanimated subject & associated with the brand name - POSSIBILITIES.