On the Pun in English Advertisement/DU MOT A DOUBLE SENS DANS LA PUBLICITE ANGLAISE

By Ling, Xiang | Canadian Social Science, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

On the Pun in English Advertisement/DU MOT A DOUBLE SENS DANS LA PUBLICITE ANGLAISE


Ling, Xiang, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

The use of puns in advertisements is a common way for the advertisers to attract the consumers and persuade them to buy the advertised products. In the paper, many examples are presented in order to make the puns clear to the readers. First, the paper narrates the definition of a pun and then gives a detailed classification of English puns. Last, from the angle of language function the paper analyzes the typical functions of the puns in English advertisements.

Key words: puns, English advertisements, vocative function, aesthetic function

Résumé: L'utilisation des mots à double sens dans la publicité anglaise est très répandue. Les publicitaires ont souvent besoin de recourir à cette figure de rhétorique pour attirer les consommateurs et les persuader d'acheter leurs produits. A travers bon nombre d'exemples, cet essai précise d'abord la définition du mot à double sens, puis donne une interprétation détaillée sur la classification des mots à double sens, et analyse enfin, sous l'angle de la fonction langagière, les fonctions principales du mot à double sens dans la publicité anglaise, à savoir celle d'impulsion et celle d'esthétique.

Mots-Clés: mot à double sens, publicité anglaise, fonction d'impulsion, fonction d'esthétique.

1. INTRODUCTION

English pun is an important rhetoric form in English language. Since more than 2,000 years ago, the founder of rhetoric, Aristotle, declared that the use of puns was acceptable in certain styles, numerous puns were created through the creative writers of both English and Chinese. Advertisement, as a significant way to make the products known to the consumers and persuade them to buy, has largely applied rhetoric language. While the puns, with its brevity and rich meaning have earned the love of the advertisers and also become an important way to impress the readers and urge them to consume.

2. DEFINITION OF ENGLISH PUNS

What is English pun? Different forms of definitions are given by different dictionaries. But they convey the same message just as The Oxford English Dictionary defines-the use of word in such a way as to suggest two or more meanings or different associations, or the use of two or more words of the same or nearly the same sound with different meanings, so as to produce a humorous effect. From the detailed definition, the creation of English puns derives from two ways, one is from the pronunciation of the given words and the other is from the meaning of the given words. One exact example for the former case of pun is "Make your every hello a real good-buy. (A Telephone Advertisement)" (Example 1) In the sentence the word "good-buy" and good-bye has the same pronunciation, thus provokes the association of good-bye to the consumers. The accurate example for the latter case of English pun is "Money does not grow on trees. But it blossoms at our branches, (an ad of Lloyd Bank)"(Example 2) The last word "branch" is a pun and has two meanings-one is correlated to trees in the first sentence meaning "the arm like division of a tree" , while the other is "division and subdivision of a bank". The consumers are informed the message "Their money will increase if they save their money in Lloyd Bank. "

3. THE CLASSIFICATION OF ENGLISH PUNS IN ADVERTISEMENTS

As Xu Zhongbing once states in "The Varieties and Translation of English Puns", puns can be roughly divided into two parts. They are named paronomasia and antalaclasis. Paranomasia is the use of two words, which are similar or the same in pronunciation but different in meaning, (see example I)As for antalaclasis, it refers to a word used twice or more, but each time with a different meaning, (see example 2) If we put its category in detail into discussion, strictly speaking, there are four types of English puns, according to English Writing and Rhetoric written by Professor Wen Jun. Prof. Wen believes in paronomasia there are Homophonic Pun(see example 1) and Paronomasia. …

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