Anonymous vs. acknowledged intertexts: A relevance theoretic approach to intertextuality in print advertising

  • Marthinus Conradie


This article offers a relevance theoretic (RT) analysis of intertextuality in print advertisements, focusing on cases in which adverts make intertextual references to texts from mass media genres other than advertising as part of an effort to link the advertised product with these intertexts for commercial purposes. On the basis of Wilson and Sperber’s (2004) conceptualisation of informative and communicative intentions in inferential communication, as well as Crook’s (2004) contention that creating links of the above-mentioned nature represents a common strategy in contemporary adverting, the article pays specific attention to the degree to which an advert provides consumers with grounds on which to infer that the communicator intends to make a specific intertext relevant to the advert’s meaning. To illustrate the results of the analyses, the article compares two case studies that contain strong evidence for the exact source of the advert’s intertextual references, with two others in which intertextual references may derive from more than one source, none of which are specified in the advert’s content.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2012, 30(3): 293–310

Author Biography

Marthinus Conradie
Department of English, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614