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The History of Advertising Language

The Advertisements in" The Times</I> from 1788 to 1996


Sabine Gieszinger

The discourse of advertising has changed considerably over the past 200 years. This study – based on a corpus of 540 advertisements published in The Times between 1788 and 1996 – outlines how advertisements have developed into a distinctive text type with recurring formal, semantic and functional features. Criteria investigated are the global structure of advertisements, major topics, the use of adjectives, language play, the textual realisation of advertising functions and the emergence of the pictorial message. Although the study focuses on linguistic aspects of advertising, the discussion also includes the influence of extra-linguistic factors, such as socio-economic conditions and the development of the media.
Contents: Introduction – Historical background – Formal aspects of advertisements and text type marking – Semantic aspects of advertisements – Functional aspects of advertisements (including also aspects of politeness and politeness strategies and semiotic aspects of advertisements, such as the pictorial presentation of the product and the interrelation of verbal and pictorial message) – Summary: advertising - uniformity and singularity.