A Semantic Analysis of the Language of Advertising
Semantics is the study of meaning system of a language and its approaches vary widely. In one view, meaning is the relationship between language and the external world (referential or denotative meaning), between a word and the concept it stands for. In another, it involves the mental state of the speaker, as reflected in a range of personal, emotive overtones (affective or connotative meaning). The uniqueness of the choice of words makes the language of advertising a specialized field of study. This paper presents an analytical study of the language features of English advertisements at a semantic level. In order to conduct a data-driven study, the writer has built a corpus of over 20 English advertisements. Through the detailed survey of allthe advertisements, the semantic features of the language of advertising are summarized and possible conclusions are given in the light of effectiveness of advertising. After a brief introduction to semantics and advertising language, the paper is focused on the linguistic realizations in English advertising from the semantic perspective. In the analysis, the use of connotative meaning ofwords, adjectives, coined words, mis-pelt words, repetition, metaphoric use of words, punning, non-existing words, the use of ambiguous statements are discussed to reveal fuzzy nature that are used by advertisers to achieve their persuasive ends. It goes further to treat the semiotic analysis of the language of advertising. The paper is then concluded with a brief summary. It is hoped that the paper can shed light on the semantic features of language of advertisements and also provide help to copywriters and English learners.