THE USE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN THE ADVERTISEMENT OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT


Advertising is the engine that allows the rest of the business world to flourish. It has the subtle ability to reach out and touch everyone living and working in the modern world; it does this through television, posters, radio and billboards. However, in an environment where the language of communication poses linguistic problems to the user or speaker of such language, little time has been taken into consideration of the adverse impact of advertising on the second language learners since advertising has become a prominent in the society. This study, highlights the language used in pharmaceutical adverts to achieve distinctive effects and also identifies their linguistic errors as well as gives insight into the language used by advertisers of pharmaceutical products. Advert samples were collected from Lagos State, Nigeria. A total of sixty adverts were gathered but forty remained after sorting and finally thirty-seven adverts were analysed. This study established that advertisers design adverts and manipulate the English language to attract the attention of the audience or listener and to suit their intention of persuading people to buy their products. From the result obtained, it was discovered that the language used in adverts is full of vulgar, slang and emotive in nature thereby enticing and changing the readers’ and listeners’ perspective, and sometimes brings about the use of ungrammatical words which lead to the falling standard of the English language in Nigeria.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract
Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Purpose of the Study
1.4       Significance of the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Research Questions

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.0       Introduction
2.1       Origin and Development of Advertising
2.2       Advertising and the Use of Language
2.3       Language and Communication in Advertisement
2.3.1    Phonology
2.3.2    Syntax
2.3.3    Morphology
2.3.4    Semantic
2.4       Empirical Studies
2.5       Summary

CHAPTER THREE: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.0       Introduction
3.1       Theoretical Framework
3.2       Research Methodology
3.2.1    Research Design
3.2.2    Area of Study
3.2.3    Population of Study
3.2.4    Sample and Sampling Size
3.2.4.1  A Schematic Showing the Content Categories
3.2.5    Method of Data Collection
3.2.6    Method of Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: THE USE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN THE ADVERTISEMENT OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS IN NIGERIA
4.0       Introduction
4.1       Data Presentation
4.1.1    Drinks and Food
4.1.2    Contraception
4.1.3    Health Related Products
4.1.4    Emollients and Antifungals Soaps
4.2       Analysis and Interpretation of Data
4.2.1    The Phonological Features of Pharmaceutical Advertising
4.2.2    The Syntactic Features of Pharmaceutical Advertising
4.2.3    The Morphological Features of Pharmaceutical Advertising
4.2.4    The Semantic Features of Pharmaceutical Advertising
4.3       Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
5.0 Introduction
5.1       Summary of Findings
5.2       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
Works Cited
Appendices


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

The supremacy of language in human affairs is an incontrovertible fact. Language distinguishes man from animals, and it signifies human system of communication used in speech and writing involving vocabulary and sentence structure. As man lives in the society, language is essentially a social phenomenon by which interaction and cooperation among the members of the society become possible. Writing on the relationship between language and society, Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman and Nina Hyams state that, “Whatever else people do when they come together

– whether they play, fight, make love or make automobiles- they talk. We live in a world of

language … . Hardly, a moment of our working lives is free from word… It is language that is the source of human life and power” (3). The Knowledge of a language enables one to combine sounds to form words, words to form phrases, and phrases to form sentences. In other words, knowing a language means being able to produce new sentences never spoken before and to understand sentences never heard before. The above statement provides the fact that language lies at the core of social co-existence and entails the usage of a special group. Hence, there are “technical language, scientific language, journalese and slang” (Readers’ Association 89).


The different areas of endeavour in which language is used suggest that there is a wide variety of language occasioned by the context of use; therefore, every profession, occupation or trade has its own variety of language for effective communication. This variation in language according to use in specific situation is called ‘register’. Emeka Otagburuagu, Chinedu Ogenyi and Pius Ezema define register as “variety according to use .... Registers show diversity and variation in English language” (20). They further state that “in everyday activities when people use language, they are constantly involved in the process of choice of linguistic items to realise their communicative intentions” (21). Amechi Akwanya states that:

Language is in fact the means whereby human being produces himself as a spiritual, cultured being that enters a community…individual does not create the rules for the combination of words, but by learning the operation of these rules, he is able to participate in the creation of sentences, ideally for the purpose of its intentions and for effective communication (7-9).

However, language is a very powerful tool in advertisment, advertising language is unique in terms of usage, the mass media is the agency disseminating advertisement messages. Language has a powerful influence over people and their behaviour. This is true, especially, in the fields of marketing and advertising. Therefore, the use of right and effective language in speaking and written brings success. Thus, Micheal Halliday posits from a systemic perspective on language that “all choices or options are embedded in the language system which is a network of options from all functions of language…. The three functions are

(1)       the ideational,


(2)       the interpersonal, and


(3)         the textual” (qtd. in Ronald 83).


This work draws from this theory by demonstrating how the advertisers bend the rules of language, explore the loophole in the language system, widen or stretch the language by their choices to achieve their aims and objectives, after all language users have often ignored some choices forced on them by substituting their choices and developing their styles. Therefore, the choice of language use to convey specific messages with the intention of influencing people is.......

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