Working out meaning in advertorials: The Semantic- Pragmatic Interface in Language used to Advertise Products in Cameroon
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This study set out to find out producer’s and consumer’s opinion on working out meaning in advertorials. Data was collected using a questionnaire and observation. The data is presented statistically using distribution frequency tables and a diagram. The analysis revealed that consumers were able to work out meaning in advertorials at pragmatic or semantic levels.
And also that they do consider the language used in advertising a product before buying it. As concerns the producers, they also consider the language they use in advertising their products since it attracts consumers to buy their products. I will recommend that, consumers should consider the language used in advertising a product before buying it and that the producers should continue to consider the language they use in advertising their products.
Background of the Study
In the world, the English language is one of those languages which are widely used in communication. It helps us to communicate effectively or to pass information. In communication, we utter words, phrases or sentences which convey meaning to the listener or the reader. The meaning people get from an utterance can be interpreted differently.
Both are branches of linguistics that interface in language because they deal with the meaning of words and sentences. They are also complementary to each other therefore one cannot be without the other. The meaning of an utterance can be got just from reading the words and it can also be gotten from the context in which it is used. (Geoffrey, 1966:25).
Language is used to communicate in several places like in houses, in schools, in the streets, in companies just to name a few. This research is carried out in companies where the language is used in advertorials. Advertorials are full of semantic and pragmatic meaning.
These companies might not be aware that the language they use in advertisement conveys a lot of meanings. Just an advertisement of a few words can bring about several interpretations which call for misunderstanding because of plural meanings. People who buy the products of these companies should be able to make out the meaning from the words or phrases used in an advertisement.
Statement of the Problem
The use of language is very important in communication and also in working out the meaning. This is because if the language is not appropriately used it can lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of an utterance. Due to the fact that language is used to advertise products, companies should know that this language bears meaning.
Consumers can be prompted to buy a product or not, depending on the way they work out the meaning from the language used. For example, the advertisement of HARP (a brewery company) is “Best enjoyed with friends”. A consumer might misinterpret this advertisement in a sense that, he might think that if he buys that product and does not drink it in the midst of his friends then he will not enjoy it.
Producers should know that the language they use in advertising their products can either encourage consumers to buy their products or dissuade them from buying them. Therefore companies should know that meaning can be worked out differently that is either pragmatically or semantically. If meaning is worked out wrongly there is going to be a misinterpretation of an utterance. This might make a consumer not to buy a product.
Whereas if the meaning is worked out correctly this will prompt a consumer to buy a product. This study, therefore, aims to show that, if producers do not consider the language used in advertorials consumers may not be prompted to buy their products. Also if consumers misinterpret the language used in advertorials they may decide to buy a product or not.
Aims/Objectives of the Study
1 -The aim of this study is to show that there is multiple meaning in the language of advertorials.
- Another aim is to show the importance of language in working out the meaning.
- This study also sets out to show the relationship between semantic and pragmatic in working out the meaning.
- It is also to explain why consumers might want to buy or turn down a product based on the language used to advertise it.