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Title: Persuasive Strategies in the Language of Insurance Advertising in the Print Media in Nigeria
Authors: Adeyinka, I. A.
Keywords: Persuasion
Interactional sociolinguistics
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Available literature has applied different theories to the language of advertisement. It has examined it through stylistic, pragmatic and speech act theories but not from the perspective of interactional sociolinguistics. Therefore, this study applied John Gumperz‟s theory of interactional sociolinguistics to the language of Insurance advertising in newspapers and on billboards within the Nigerian linguistic and sociocultural context, with the aim of analysing the persuasive strategies employed in it. The theoretical framework for the study was an adaptation of Gumperz‟s theory of interactional sociolinguistics and Halliday‟s Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG), which was used to analyse the lexico-syntactic aspect of the work. This is because Gumperz‟s theory of interactional sociolinguistics has the ability to account for the linguistic and socio-cultural variables that are employed in a communicative event while Halliday‟s SFG gives comprehensive information about grammatical description. The data, consisting of 100 published insurance advertisements, were collected from three purposively selected Nigerian national newspapers – The Guardian, The Punch and Daily Champion covering 2001-2009, complemented with billboard advertisements from all the southwestern states of Nigeria. The newspapers were selected because they have national coverage and a high density of insurance advertisements from different insurance companies in Nigeria. Several pragmatic strategies were used in both newspaper and billboard insurance advertisements to encourage potential customers to patronise the insurance companies. They included reliance on shared social and cultural rules, allusion to shared history and values, reliance on shared knowledge and presuppositions about the world. Speech-style switching was used to get the reader interested and conversationally involved with the texts. The lexical choice of the advertisers contained a dominant use of skill-indicative adjectives which portrayed the insurance companies as experts in their field and were used to evoke confidence in their expertise. Examples are „unfailing‟, „exceptional‟ and „skilled‟. There was also the use of morality indicative nouns, such as „integrity‟ strategically utilised to persuade potential customers about the trustworthiness of the company, and the use of riskindicative nouns for instance „disaster‟ to show that insuring was mandatory. Actionprovoking verbs such as „get‟ and „come‟ were used to encourage the reader to respond and act on what they had read. The syntactic option of the advertisers displayed a copious use of the simple sentence through which they declared their virtues and the benefits of patronising them. Pictorial rhetoric was designed to make participation in insurance appealing to the reader. Rhetorical devices such as symbolism, metaphor, hyperbole and personification were used to enhance their persuasive presentation. Creative and manipulative use of capital letters and typefaces of different sizes emphasised different aspects of the message. Insurance advertisers draw on linguistic, social, cultural, pictorial and aesthetic resources to build a strong persuasive discourse. The language of insurance advertisement revealed that insurance advertisers considered these media a powerful means of renewing the almost lost interest of the average Nigerian in participation in insurance
Description: A Thesis in the Department of English Submitted to the Faculty of Arts in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Ibadan
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