Linguistic Manipulation Strategy (Linguopragmatic Aspect)
The problem of the study of linguistic manipulation strategy is relevant in many fields of knowledge. A large number of works by Russian and foreign linguists are devoted to the study of various aspects of linguistic manipulation strategy. In modern linguistics, there is no common classification of linguistic manipulation methods, since this definition is used by scientists differently due to various linguistic approaches. However, it is indisputable that the main task of linguistic manipulation is to try to influence the interlocutor’s opinion and induce him to perform an action by using both verbal and non-verbal language means. The proposed study is based on the analysis of verbal means and makes an attempt to identify the significance of the linguistic organization of the utterance (in particular, at the syntactic level) to realize its pragmatic potential and reflect the author’s intention. The study focuses on the importance of linguopragmatics for the theory of communication and advertising at the present stage of development and functioning of the English language. Cream advertising slogans were used as the language material for the analysis which implement the linguistic manipulation strategy of differentiation to influence on the target audience at large. The study shows the further directions of scientific research in this sphere.
Keywords: Linguistic manipulation strategycommunicationlinguopragmaticsadvertisingsyntactical structure
The problem of speech impact on the target reader is relevant for many spheres, however, in that of advertising its importance is difficult to overestimate, since advertising is becoming not only a means of attracting consumers, but also a means of communication and information exchange. Thus, the study of the language organization of advertising messages today is in the focus of attention of Russian and foreign linguists.
The article studies linguistic manipulation strategy of differentiation on the example of cream advertising slogans taking linguopragmatics into special consideration.
The study deals with the definition of pragmatics and linguopragmatics, describing their peculiar characteristics and syntactical realization of manipulation strategy of differentiation in English advertising.
Purpose of the Study
The study is aimed at consolidation of the theoretical knowledge on the problem of linguopragmatic aspect in linguistic manipulation strategy revealing some syntactical peculiarities of English advertising slogans and their pragmatic value.
The main methods used in the study are consolidation and critical analysis of theoretical knowledge, direct sampling of examples (20 language units) and their analysis from the viewpoint of syntactical organization and pragmatic value.
Verbal accuracy of message contents is a key requirement for an effective and successful communication process. In addition to the denotative and connotative components of the contents, one should also take into account the pragmatic component, which is the relationship between the linguistic expression and the participants of communication – the information sender and recipient (Vagapova, 2008).
Before speaking about linguopragmatics, it is worth giving a few definitions of pragmatics as a separate discipline. For example, in the “Dictionary of linguistic terms” Akhmanova (1966) denotes pragmatics as one of the plans or aspects of language research that distinguishes and examines language units in relation to that person or people who use the language. Also, in the “Linguistic encyclopaedic dictionary” Yartseva (1990) suggests such a definition of pragmatics (from the Greek πρᾶγμα – action): that is a field of research in semiotics and linguistics which studies the functioning of linguistic signs in speech (p. 496).
Pragmatics is a relatively new science which appeared in the late 1930s and was introduced by the American scientist Charles Morris. B.Yu. Norman in his lecture course “Linguopragmatics” states that the signs theory by C. Morris consisted of three parts: semantics, i.e. relations of signs to objects; syntax, i.e. relations between signs; and pragmatics, i.e. the relationship between signs and the interlocutor. Some linguists tried to reconsider Ch. Morris’s scheme, and the German language philosopher Georg Klaus argued that the relation to other signs here is syntactics, the attitude to people is pragmatics, the relation to meaning is semantics. G. Klaus distinguishes the relation of a sign to the object itself (referent) – this is sigmatics – and the attitude to the concept of it (reflection of a sign in our mind) defined as semantics. Subsequently, this theory was improved in accordance with the fundamental opposition “language – speech”. It turned out that the informative components of a word (a typical sign) are organized along two axes, as if along two watersheds: “relations independent of consumption – relations dependent on consumption” and “linguistic relations – extralinguistic relations” (Norman, 2009, p. 5–6).
Scientists define pragmatics differently. For example, according to J. Leach (as cited in Susov, 2006, p. 31–33), pragmatics is part of linguistics which studies how statements acquire different meanings in context. Language as a communicative system includes language as a formal system (grammar in the broadest sense of the word) and pragmatics complementary to it. Unlike grammar, pragmatics is axiological (goal-directed) and evaluative. At the same time, J. Leach considers the rapprochement between grammar and rhetoric to be lawful and necessary. The author notes that semantics traditionally deals with meaning as a member of the dyadic relationship (sign – object), while pragmatics studies the relationship of three entities (sign – object – interlocutor). Pragmatics investigates the meaning considering context. The pragmatic principles governing interpersonal relationships are the objects of rhetoric and can be subdivided into two groups:
interpersonal rhetoric: cooperative principle, the principle of politeness and the principle of irony. These principles govern the interlocutors’ communication;
textual rhetoric: the principle of processing, the principle of clarity, the principle of economy and the principle of expressiveness – they govern the text development.
Bogdanov (1996) claims that linguopragmatics studies the conditions for using the language by interlocutors in speech communication acts. These conditions include the communicative goals, the time and place of the speech act, the interlocutors’ knowledge level, their social status, psychological and physiological characteristics, rules and conventions of speech behaviour adopted in a particular society. In the process of verbal communication, interlocutors use one or another code, as well as other sign systems, including paralinguistic ones.
He subdivides these conditions into:
context (linguistic conditions);
consituation (extralinguistic conditions);
coempiry (interlocutors’ level of linguistic and extralinguistic knowledge).
Also V.V. Bogdanov identifies two pragmatics directions:
the doctrine of speech acts by J. Austin, the essence of which is that language utterances exist not only to report about the world affairs and qualify them as true or false, but also to enable people to carry out certain actions on their basis. Such utterances are called “performative”. The speech act is considered as the minimum independent segment of communication performed by the sender in relation to the recipient in certain conditions with a certain intention. Since a speech act is a type of action, its analysis uses the same categories as are necessary to characterize and evaluate any other action: subject, goal, method, tool, means, result, conditions, success, etc. The speaker makes a statement oriented to his perception by the addressee (subject). The statement at the same time acts both as a product of a speech act and as an instrument of influence to achieve some goal. Depending on the circumstances and conditions of the speech act, the addressee can achieve the goal and the speech act is proved as successful; otherwise, the speaker faces communication failure;
the doctrine of verbal communication rules and conventions. Speech communication always has a specific goal: it can be expressed in the information giving or receiving, exchanging of views, agreeing to meet, etc. At the same time, the goal has certain means of its achieving. These include the exchange of information using correspondence, as well as verbal communication.
There are certain rules of verbal communication:
rules for organizing verbal interaction;
rules for discourse organizing;
rules for organizing information exchange;
rules for considering interlocutors’ status roles.
At the same time V.V. Bogdanov explains that the rules for organizing verbal interaction are clearly shown in the dialogue and adds that formally, dialogic communication is a coordinated sequence of remarks of two parties, ensured by the principle of roles changing and the fact that there is some common problem that needs to be solved. All this does not allow one of the parties to monopolize their right to speech activity. Such a right must also be guaranteed to a dialogue partner or several partners in the case of a polylogue. Otherwise, the general problem may remain unresolved. However, the share of verbal participation of each party in communication can be different and depends on the information imbalance. The information advantage of one party usually entails a larger share of verbal participation. However, neither the share of verbal participation nor the overall goal should be overestimated.
Due to the appearance of the speech acts theory in the 1960s and 70s, a separate field of knowledge was formed – that of linguistic pragmatics (linguopragmatics). Norman, (2009) explains that linguopragmatics studies the behaviour of linguistic signs in real communication process. The discipline focuses on the analysis of explicit and implicit goals of the utterance, the speaker’s internal readiness and the listener’s willingness to “meet the desired goal” and the study of communicative behaviour types: speech strategy and tactics, dialogue rules aimed at achieving effective communication, using the so-called “indirect” speech acts and various techniques of language game ( p. 9).
With the help of pragmatics, we can consider any speech act: threat, advice, request, etc. Thus, we understand why the speaker pronounces this or that phrase, how and why he says it.
Thus, pragmatics covers many other sciences. In a general sense, pragmatics is the study of language as a means of communication.
Barkhudarov, (1975) notes that pragmatics includes all issues related to the different degrees of understanding certain signs or messages and their different interpretations by the parties depending on the linguistic and extralinguistic experience of the interlocutors. The extralinguistic experience (what is sometimes called “background knowledge”) of the parties in a communicative act largely determines their understanding of linguistic and speech units (p. 76).
We should note that pragmatic aspect plays different roles in understanding texts of different genre. For example, the pragmatic factor plays a decisive role when a person deals with the information of foreign policy propaganda and advertising of goods (Barkhudarov, 1975).
One should bear in mind the dominant function of the text, the purpose of which is to make a certain pragmatic effect on the reader. This function is to be taken into account by the author of the text when compiling it. For example, texts of a socio-political matters should influence the public, trying to impose the author’s personal opinion on a particular situation.
Pragmatics includes rhetoric, stylistics and psycholinguistics. Thus, linguopragmatics is of interest not only to linguistic scientists, but also to those who are engaged in communication, speech, and advertising.
Over the past decades, the concern in advertising has dramatically increased. Advertising communication is an area where there is a conscious and focused planning of the sender’s communicative actions. The author of the advertising text goes from a clearly defined communicative task to its implementation, that is, carries out strategic planning of communication having the aim of exerting such an impact on the potential consumer that, if possible, would lead to the planned result (Mamedov, 2017, p. 391). S.V. Brozhenko notes that the specific features of communicative strategies in advertising discourse were investigated by Pirogova, (2001), who claims that advertising is a type of communication, an information message aimed at achieving commercial goals addressed to a potential consumer and making a communicative effect on him. Yu.K. Pirogova identifies positioning and optimizing communication strategies in an advertising message. The first type forms a certain perception of the object advertised, the second is aimed at optimizing the impact of the advertising message and overcoming adverse communication conditions. At the same time, positioning strategies can be represented by differentiation strategies, value-oriented strategies, and value-assignment strategies. Optimizing strategies can be performed by strategies for reconciling the language and world-images of the parties, strategies for increasing the recognition of advertising, strategies for increasing attractiveness, mnemonic strategies, argumentative strategies and strategies for distributing information on the “more / less important” basis (Brozhenko, 2011).
English-language advertising takes one of the leading positions in the global information flow, both in terms of volume and those of impact on the target audience. In English, advertisement authors use various puns, metaphors and other means of expression, as well as mix individual styles and types of texts. Advertising combines the languages of painting and music; it contains information that evokes various emotions and fantasies, affects all senses and, in addition, has a social and practical goal. As a genre, advertising is very diverse: styles are often mixed, so it is sometimes very difficult to determine its stylistic features. Today, when creating advertising texts, the slogan is of great importance, because it influences the reader’s attention and the way he will ultimately perceive the advertising text (Biryukova & Shurupova, 2016).
Russian linguists define slogan almost in the same way:
a slogan is an advertising motto; a clear and concise wording of the advertising idea which is designed to briefly and succinctly reflect what distinguishes this product or company from other similar ones (Pankrukhin, 2008);
a slogan is a constant advertising motto; a clear and concise wording of the main theme of the advertising appeal (Stefanov, 2004);
an emotional advertising motto used as an element of corporate identity (Radchenko, 2007).
Foreign researchers offer the following definitions of slogan:
slogan is a phrase expressing the aims or nature of an enterprise, organization, or candidate; a motto (Matthews, 1997);
slogan is a catchy phrase or series of words used to help consumers remember a company, brand or product (Newton, 2019).
In this paper, we will consider a representative number of slogans connected with the advertising of creams (20 units) (Biryukova & Shurupova, 2016), which will allow us to analyze their syntactic structure from the viewpoint of pragmatics realizing the differentiation strategy mentioned in the classification above. The main task of the slogan is to attract consumers’ attention and arouse interest in the advertised product. That is why the main tendency is to make a slogan as short and laconic as possible.
Most syntactical constructions of the headline are represented by
Beauty sleeps in a bottle.
Now every angle becomes your best angle.
Age is just a number.
The search for younger looking skin is over.
The verbless structure of a simple sentence which is presented in the form of a one-member nominative sentence and a two-member sentence (expressed by a predicative verbless sentence and elliptic construction) is also widespread in cream advertising. For example:
One. With the power of two.
Invisible sun protection. Visible skin perfection.
Instant perfection, endless radiance.
Smart. A serum that can change your skin’s future.
Our light bulb moment. If a woman can do at least four things at once, her skin care should too.
The smallest structural group is represented by asyndetically organized complex sentences. Let us consider some examples:
Only the sun knows you’re wearing it.
Skin never rests, it repairs.
I want a hard-working cream that’s not hard on my winter skin.
Question-in-the-narrative and exclamatory sentences should also be taken into account. They are used in the headlines in order to attract a potential consumer’s attention to the product, as well as make him think on his own; exclamatory sentences indicate the importance of advertising information and give additional expressiveness to the text. For instance:
What makes a woman feel beautiful? A youthful radiance that shines from within.
You never stop (Why should your skincare?).
Hydration is the key to skin that glows from within!
You never forget your first!
In order to “revive” an advertising message and attract the consumers’ attention, market experts often use constructions with a verb in the Imperative Mood. Due to it the percentage of memorized advertising slogans increases, as all verbs used are quite expressive and specific. For example:
Join the cult. Drier skins welcome.
Let your natural beauty shine through.
Act for visibly brighter, smoother skin in just one week.
Look forward to waking up.
Thus, we can conclude that advertising slogans are characterized by the use of various syntactic structures depending on the intended effect.
The successfully chosen language means make the necessary impact on the audience at large. It is worth noting that modern English-language advertising slogans are not characterized by a direct indication of the need for a purchase, it is rather of a recommendatory nature. In conclusion we can underline the importance of pragmatics in revealing and developing linguistic manipulation strategy especially in present-day advertising sphere.
This study would be impossible without the support and help of our University Head Yusupova Nadiya Gennadievna and our chair members who were always at immediate service if we needed any guidance.
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