The formation of figurative thinking is closely connected with personification – a psychological property of the individual based on the understanding of the community of the animate and inanimate world. This way of the reality artistic mastering has become a popular subject of study for psychologists, philosophers, linguists, literary critics, art historians, folklorists and cultural scientists. Personification contributes not only to intellectual, but also emotional development of people, helping them to better see and hear the nature, feel and empathize. The study of this phenomenon through the analysis of linguistic units allows to come closer to solving the problem of the language and thinking interaction, as linguistic phenomena reflect the cognitive processes of the world conceptualization. Personification is widely represented in fiction and non-fiction, in colloquial speech, its pragmatic potential is used in advertising communication to create more vivid images of goods. The article focuses on the functions of anthropomorphic verbs in Russian furniture advertisements. These personifiers are included in the texts to characterize an advertised product, to demonstrate its advantages and uniqueness, to cause a certain emotional reaction and a greater brand liking.
Keywords: Advertisementspersonifierspersonifying сharacteristicsspeech influence
Since ancient times, personification has been known as a type of figurative language. This complex linguistic reality is increasingly becoming the subject of research, attracting the attention of linguists, literary critics, folklorists, psychologists, philosophers and culturologists as a peculiar and multi-dimensional phenomenon with a certain set of expressive means and a whole system of linguistic images (Serebryakova, 2010). In a broad sense, personification is understood as a poetic trope, consisting in endowing inanimate objects with the properties of animate beings (Chernyshev, 1959); with a narrower interpretation, the sphere of anthroponyms is considered to be the final sphere of a personified denotate transposition. The authors of the article support the second viewpoint and adopt the following operational definition: personification is the representation of an object or abstract concept in the image of a person (Ushakov, 2017). In personification, two semantic blocks interact – the person signs and the inanimate denotation signs, which results in the emergence of a new meaning and the appearance of implicit increments of the emotional-evaluative nature.
Impersonation as a way of mastering reality alongside with other rhetorical devices is actively used in advertising (Hart & Royne, 2017) as it allows us to comprehend a wide variety of experiences with nonhuman entities in terms of human motivations, characteristics, and activities (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003). Personification and its functions in the language of advertising are the subject of research in the works of Yu. K. Pirogova, P.B. Parshin, S.V. Tumsky, Ye.Yu. Zhdanova, А.V. Prokhorov etc. At the same time, the action mechanism of this trope and the semantic processes associated with it are considered to be insufficiently studied.
What semanic classes can anthropomorphic verbs belong to in advertising texts?
What are the functions of anthropomorphic verbs in advertising texts?
How do anthropomorphic appeals influence consumer behavior?
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the article is to analyze the ways of linguistic expression of personification in Russian furniture advertisements exemplified by the anthropomorphic verbs functioning. This part of speech provides great opportunities for personification, “because it shows the subject to which it relates, dynamic, active, operating as a living or even intelligent being” (“Does the brand have a life?”)
The main research methods are the descriptive method, the component analysis and transformation analysis methods.
The personifying verbs in the analyzed advertisements can be divided into the following semantic groups.
Saying and thinking verbs
«“Caesar”. Furniture for the Manager. Your office
"The Dante bedroom
A) "The bathroom, like no other room,
B) "Margarita Entrance Hall.
Verbs of volition
"Millennium. Centre for modern design. Fashion trends. Bold decisions. Designer collections. Audio and video. Stained glass. Wardrobes. Doors. Kitchens. Carpet floor. Stucco. Stairs. Furniture. Garden furniture. Floor covering. Wallpaper. Tile. Tableware. Interior item. Cloths... Your home would like to dress up here!" (Improvement, 2015b). In this example, both components of the compound verb predicate "...are ... the exponents of anthroponymy, which is due to their lexical meaning" (Serebryakova, 2010) – "want – to have a desire, intention (to do something)" (Ozhegov & Shvedova, 2010, p. 868); “dress – "to order clothes in some place, from some tailor" (obsolete)” (Ushakov, 2017). The use of the verb in the form of the subjunctive mood reduces the categorical statement, the call to buy is expressed through the desire to perform an action that is not related to the act of acquisition (Reavey et al., 2018). An unusual way to present advertising information (a personifying context is combined with a bright, memorable photo image – a female mannequin in an elegant red outfit) attracts attention, causes positive emotions, helps to remember the content (Oļehnoviča et al., 2016).
Verbs of bringing into a functional state.
"Matteo Lux opens up the new boundaries of your freedom. The sofa
Now let's look at an example of an ad in which personification is a stylistic device of semantic organization. In such texts various life situations are modeled, products are endowed with human properties, show a willingness to help, etc. “Interior doors want to meet nice owners. A little about ourselves: we are reliable, beautiful, without bad habits (don’t creak), promise to please everyone” (Va-Bank, 2000). The text is written in the marriage announcement genre; it represents a simulated appeal of the product to a potential consumer (Bobrovskaya, 2015). The personified denotation is the noun "doors", the personifiers are the predicates expressed by the compound verbal predicates with anthropomorphic semantics (
The analysis has revealed that personification is an important component of the semantic structure of the advertisement. When embedded in an ad, it may lead to more vivid images, make the text more interesting and original. The anthropomorphic verbs alongside with other personification tools contribute to the product’s individualization, its more positive evaluation by a potential buyer. These verbs are used to evoke a certain emotion or attitude, inform about the advantages and unique characteristics of the advertized object.
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28 December 2020
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Multicultural context, learning environment, modern society, personality formation, informatization of the society, economics and law system of the region
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Lyashenko, E., Ruchkina, N., & Voronova, T. (2020). Personification As A Means Of Psychological Influence In Russian Furniture Advertising. In N. L. Shamne, S. Cindori, E. Y. Malushko, O. Larouk, & V. G. Lizunkov (Eds.), Individual and Society in the Modern Geopolitical Environment, vol 99. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 592-597). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.68