Academic journal article British and American Studies

The Promotion of Romanian Landmarks in English: An Interpersonal Approach

Academic journal article British and American Studies

The Promotion of Romanian Landmarks in English: An Interpersonal Approach

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Post-communist Romania is considered a relatively new country on the tourism market (Stoian 2015: 4). The number of tourists visiting Romania is quite low compared to top-visited countries like Spain or the United Kingdom (OMT 2014: 8), but has grown in these years and is expected to keep growing (OMT 2013: 2; Light et al. 2009: 234). It seems that tourism campaigns try to leave behind the connotations implied by the communist regime (Light et al. 2009: 242). For the past years, they have intended to construct a distinctive brand and get known worldwide (OMT 2005: 32).

Both the public and the private sectors contribute to the promotion of a country. The public sector, by means of national, regional and local institutions and entities, carries out promotional activity in order to configure the tourist image of a place, pointing out its attractiveness (Calvi 2006: 22). The private sector, in turn, through travel agencies, tour operators and/or other types of service producers, does commercial advertising with the purpose of selling directly the tourist products and services (ibid.).

Promotion is carried out mainly by discourse. One of its elements, language, plays an important part in promoting destinations and landmarks. The choice of English as the language of promotion ensures a better distribution and a wider audience to the promotional message, as this is the lingua franca of tourism (Meyer 2009: 22).

This paper looks, on a small-scale, at both types of promotion, institutional/non-commercial and commercial, in order to provide a more comprehensive overview of how different stakeholders on the tourism market promote particular destinations. It aims to analyse contrastively the two types of promotion mentioned, paying particular attention to the way tourism promotional discourse is organized as an interactive event involving language users. Within the Systemic Functional Linguistics framework (Halliday 1994; Halliday and Matthiessen 2004), the non-commercial and commercial types of promotion are studied from an interpersonal perspective. Then, the findings are compared, pointing out the similarities and differences found.

2. Theoretical framework

The theoretical framework adopted for this study is Systemic Functional Linguistics, which postulates that language fulfils simultaneously three communicative functions: ideational (the construction of reality through language), interpersonal (the way people enact their relations) and textual (the internal organization of a text) (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 29-30).

The metafunction considered here is the interpersonal one. From an interpersonal perspective, language is organized as an interactive event involving language users. In other words, the interpersonal metafunction is concerned with the social relationships between the participants represented within, and interacting through the text, and their attitudes regarding its subject matter (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 29). While communicating, language users can adopt different basic speech roles (Halliday 1994: 68), such as giving information, by statements; demanding information, by questions; giving goods and services by means of offers; and demanding goods and services through commands.

The main grammatical system of the interpersonal function is called mood. This refers to the overall structure of the clause, which has two functional constituents: Mood and Residue. The Mood component carries the argument of the clause and is composed by Subject and Finite. The Subject, expressed by a nominal group, realises the thing by reference to which the clause can be affirmed or denied, providing the person or thing responsible for the success or failure of the proposition. The Finite, realized by a verbal group, represents something that can be argued about, bringing the proposition down to earth by means of Primary tense, Modality and Polarity. Primary tense can be present, past or future, anchoring, thus, the proposition in time. …

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