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Analysis of Interpersonal Function in Advertising

Essay by   •  February 21, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  6,286 Words (26 Pages)  •  9,366 Views

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Introduction

Among all the commercial discoursed, advertising discourse is the most contacted discourse in our daily-life. Analysis of the english advertisement is a good way for English students to apply their learning to real-life. However, English advertising discourse is complex to analyze for its freely writing patterns and elliptical clauses. On one hand, most of books for linguistics do not focus on the analysis of advertising discourse; on the other hand, most of business books pay attention to the commercial function of advertisements instead of studying it as a discourse. In this situation, studying of it is ignored by both English culture students and English business majors. This thesis aims to give a general analysis on the interpersonal function of English advertising discourse. The study is done by lots of statistic which combines to the Interpersonal Function mentioned by Halliday on his Functional Grammar. In the subsequent chapters I will explain Interpersonal Function in HallidayЎЇs theory, then study how advertisements realize interpersonal function by the theory and other elements which I find in my studying.

1Ј®Introduction of interpersonal function.

1.1 A brief introduction of systemic-function grammar.

According to Halliday(1985), Systemic-Functional Grammar has two components: SYSTEMIC GRAMMAR and FUNCTIONAL GRAMMAR. They are two inseparable parts for an integral framework of linguistic theory. Systemic grammar aims to explain the internal relations in language as a system network, or meaning potential. And this network consists of subsystems from which language users make choices. Functional grammar aims to reveal that language is a means of social interaction, based on the position that language system and the forms that make it up are inescapably determined by the uses or functions which they serve. He proposes three meta function of functional grammar: the ideational function, the interpersonal function, and the textual function.

1.2 The definition of Interpersonal Function

The INTERPERSONAL FUNCTION embodies all uses of language to express social and personal relations. This includes the various ways that speaker enters a speech situation and performs a speech act.

According to Halliday (1985Ј¬1994), the most fundamental types of speech role, which lie behind all the more specific types that we many eventually be able to recognize, are just two: (1) giving, and (2) demanding. Either the speaker is giving something to the listener, or he is demanding something from him. Even these elementary categories already involve complex notions: giving ÐŽomeans inviting to receiveÐŽ±, and demanding means ÐŽoinviting to giveÐŽ±. The speaker is not only doing something himself; he is also requiring something of the listener. Typically, therefore, an ÐŽoactÐŽ± of speaking is something that might more appropriately be called an ÐŽointeractÐŽ±: it is an exchange, in which giving implies receiving and demanding implies giving in response.

Cutting across this basic distinction between giving and demanding relates to the nature of the commodity being exchanged. This may be either (a) goods-&-services, or (b) information. For example, if you say something to me with the aim of getting me to do something for you, such as ÐŽoget out of my daylight!ÐŽ±, or to give you some object, as in ÐŽopass the salt!ÐŽ± what is being demanded is an object or an action, and language is brought in to help the process along. This is an exchange of goods-&-service. But if you say something to other with the aim of getting him to tell you something, as in ÐŽois it Tuesday?ÐŽ± or ÐŽowhen did you last see your father?ÐŽ±, what is being demanded is information: language is the end as well as the means, and the only answer expected is s verbal one. This is an exchange of information.

The two variables, when taken together, define the four primary speech functions of OFFER, COMMAND, STATEMENT and QUESTION.

Commodity exchange

Role in exchange: (a) goods-&-services (b) information

(i) giving ÐŽoofferÐŽ±

Would you like this teapot? ÐŽostatementÐŽ±

HeЎЇs giving her the teapot

(ii) demanding ÐŽocommandÐŽ±

Give me that teapot! ÐŽoquestionÐŽ±

What is he giving her?

Interpersonal function is realized by MOOD and MODALITY. MOOD shows what role the speaker selects in the speech situation and what role he assigns to the addressee. If the speaker selects the imperative mood, he assumes the role of one giving commands and puts the addressee in the role of one expected to obey orders. MODALITY specifies if the speaker is expressing his judgement or making a prediction. (Halliday, 1985)

Businesspeople usually do advertising to stimulate the demand for their goods-&-services. Though it seems that readers cannot join in the process of writing advertisement, the writer always forecasts his target readersЎЇ reaction to persuade readers step by step in every step of his process of writing. So, when saying in other words, advertising is a communication, by which information transmits between the speaker to the hearer.

This thesis will focus on the features of interpersonal function in advertising discourse not only in the MOOD and MODALITY element mentioned by Halliday in his Functional Grammar, but also other elements which I find in my studying on real-life advertisements. These new elements from my studying are: (i) the interconvert of Subjects in clauses between ÐŽoyouÐŽ± and ÐŽoweÐŽ± in advertising discourse; and (ii) achievement of interpersonal function through some patterns.

2. The analysis on MOOD and MODALITY element in advertising discourse.

2.1 The MOOD element in advertising discourse.

2.1.1 The basal analysis on Mood element in advertising discourse.

2.1.1.1 The definition of Mood in HallidayЎЇs theory.

In HallidayЎЇs theory (1985), MOOD shows what role the speaker selects in the speech situation and what role he assigns to the addressee. It consists of two parts: (1) the Subject, which is a nominal group, and (2) the Finite element, which is part of a verbal group. For example,

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