1.1   Background of the Study

Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewer, reader or listeners) to continue to take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to influence consumers’ behaviour with respect to a commercial offering, although, political and ideological advertising is also common. The purpose of advertising may also be to reassure employees or shareholders that a company is viable or successful. Advertising messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via various traditional media: including mass media such as newspapers, magazines, television commercials, radio advertisements, outdoor advertising or direct mail, or new media such as websites and text messages.

Advertising has been defined as “a powerful communication force and a vital marketing tool helping to sell goods and services, images and ideas”…. (Wright, 2003:8). Similarly, Roderick (1980:4) defines advertising as “a message specified by its originator, carried by a communication system and intended to influence and/or inform an unknown audience.” Advertising may also be seen as “a group of activities aiming at and including dissemination of information in any paid product or service to compel actions in accordance with the intent of an identifiable sponsor” (Doughuge, 1985:8).

Advertising has a long history, with some options tracing its origin to the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent in the Bible (Okigbo, 1985:10 and Weffer, 1985:6). Wright (2000:4) however, opines that advertising started in ancient Babylon at about 3000BC when inscriptions for an ointment dealer, a scribe and a shoe maker were made on clay tablets. Sandage and Fryburger (1963) argue that Egyptians first wrote runaway-slave announcements on papyrus at about 3200BC. In Africa, town crying and hawking were the earliest forms of advertising. These have survived in many Nigerian villages to date. With respect to media advertising, which is the focus of this paper Sandage and Fryburger (cited in Okeke, 2006:24) suggest that the first media advertising was done in London in 1477 when a prayer book was announced for sale, while the first newspaper advertisement appeared in the Boston Newsletter in 1704

The print media came into Nigeria in 1859 with the appearance of a Yoruba language newspaper “Iwe Iroyin” published by Reverend Henry Townsend at Abeokuta. The publication carried an advert in form of an announcement for the Anglican Church.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is noteworthy that the earliest forms of newspaper advertising were crude and unsophisticated. But they not only help the local merchants to sell their goods, or services but also set a pace for the modern methods of advertising, which have over a long period of time undergone tremendous changes such that today, a lot can be written on the language of advertising in Nigeria. This is possible because advertising has become more professional, involving copywriters who exploit all the available linguistic devices to make their adverts not only persuasive but also aesthetically appealing. This paper, therefore, attempts a linguistic analysis of the language of newspaper advertising in Nigeria, highlighting the phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic features that make them attractive and persuasive.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study sought to survey the language of newspaper advertisements. Specifically, the study sought to;

  1. To know how to construct adverts to attract readers or viewers.
  2. To be able to distinguish the terminology to use in different adverts.
  3. To be able to determine the right choice of language used in newspaper advertisements.
  4. To understand the need for long or short newspaper adverts.

1.4 Research Questions

The following will help guide the research study in achieving its objectives:

  1. What makes you stop and look at the adverts?
  2. What kind of adverts do you place in newspapers?
  3. What kind of caption should be given to adverts?
  4. What kind of message should be driven out through advertisement?
  5. Should the advert be short or lengthy?

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be able to unveil some of those hidden facts about the use and choice of languages used in newspaper advertisements, and also bring about more refined advert outputs. This research study will be highly relevant to the readers, and especially to the world of journalism in the way and manner in which adverts are to be constructed and be placed in newspapers for public consumption.

The study will also help to ensure that the choices of languages of newspaper adverts are properly selected so that those who pay for the adverts will be satisfied with the publications, and that the readers’ attention will be captured at the sight of such adverts.

1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is a survey of the language of newspaper advertisement, a case study of vanguard newspaper.

Limitations of study

  1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted to the research work.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Advertisement: A notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service, or event or publicizing a job vacancy.

Newspaper: A printed publication (usually issued daily or weekly) consisting of folded unstapled sheets and containing news, articles, advertisements, and correspondence.

Language: The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.



EDITOR SOURCE: A Survey Of The Language Of Newspaper Advertisement: A Case Study O...


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