Analysis of Interpersonal Function in Advertising

Topics: Question, Sentence, Grammatical mood Pages: 24 (6944 words) Published: October 17, 2005
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 Halliday¡¯s theory, then study how advertisements realize interpersonal function by the theory and other elements which I find in my studying.

1£®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 (1985£¬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 ¡°means inviting to receive¡±, and demanding means ¡°inviting to give¡±. The speaker is not only doing something himself; he is also requiring something of the listener. Typically, therefore, an ¡°act¡± of speaking is something that might more appropriately be called an ¡°interact¡±: 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 ¡°get out of my daylight!¡±, or to give you some object, as in ¡°pass the salt!¡± 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 ¡°is it Tuesday?¡± or ¡°when did you last see your father?¡±, 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.


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