Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Advertisements: Hi-Language for Hi-Tech?

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Advertisements: Hi-Language for Hi-Tech?

Article excerpt


Language of advertising is considered special and very much different from normal language. It is the linguistic power created in advertisements makes them an important part in our social life. This article looks at particular group of product advertised, that is hi-tech product. Through the selected advertisements, it aims at whether or not the advertisers of these ads use high language to promote their hi-end merchandises. Also, from the perspective of contrastive analysis, the paper compares these English and Vietnamese advertisements to find out if there are any similarities and differences in the language used in terms of phonological, lexical and grammatical level.

Keywords: advertising, hi-tech, language, English advertisements, Vietnamese advertisements

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

1. Introduction

It cannot be denied that advertising has a powerful and widespread influence on every member and corner of the society. With the irresistible expansion of advertisements, advertising is now not only a closely related but an unseparatable part in our life. By means of its linguistic power, advertising has placed a strong effect on social life and language style. The language used in advertisements has evolved from common language into a professional style. It is because languages used in advertising has no longer acted as common ones in daily life but set their own and unique styles. Surely, together with huge advancement in science and technology, advertising and its languages have changed rapidly. This paper looks at the languages used in hi-tech advertisements in Vietnamese and English from contrastive analysis perspective. It aims at answering the question: whether or not the language used in the field advertisements is affected by the products addressed.

2. Advertising

In general, advertising is a means of communication between the sponsor and the advertisement recipients. Besides, advertisements can be either commercial or non-commercial ones. The former focuses on bringing as much as profit for the producer while the later is not for profit but aims at fostering the community benefit. As a matter of fact, commercial advertisements can be found with much higher proportion in mass media (Nguyen & Tran: 1993). Therefore, most of the efforts in defining advertising have been placed on commercial advertisements.

Broadly, advertising is a device to arrest attention. This reflects Leonard's thought:

"Advertising is as old as Humanity: indeed, much older; for what are the flaunting colors of the flowers but so many invitations to the bees to come and "buy our product". Everything is already there: the striking forms, the brilliant hues, even the "conditioning of the customer".... Advertising might be defined as any device which first arrests the attention of the passer-by and then induces him to accept a mutually advantageous exchange"

(Leonard: 1968)

Obviously, in our life there are many ways to arrest human attention and only some are advertisements. Although, the above definition does not manage to distinguish advertising from other attention grabbers, it does emphasize important features of advertisements: exchange, attention and mutuality. In combining all these things together - over time, place, and cultural boundaries, the above definition highlight the antiquity of advertising that is, rather than being something created yesterday, it is as old as humanity and as universal as culture. Advertising, seen in this light, is therefore, a part of our social life.

It is certain that advertising is more prominent in the hi-tech (capitalist) society of the western world than it is in other countries. It is a discourse type that is quick obtaining so much importance and is helping to create a new global culture that cut across national boundaries. (Guy Cook, 1992). Cook's idea of advertising is similar to his British pioneer, Raymond Williams who simply calls advertising "The official art of the capitalist society" - which emphasizes sponsorship of art in modern times. …

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