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A descriptive analysis of linguistic features of

advertising language used in English slogans

for food and drink products
Bi Th Kim Ngn
Trng i hc Ngoi ng
Lun vn Thc s ngnh: Ngn Ng Anh; M s: 60 22 15
Ngi hng dn: TS. Kiu Th Thu Hng
Nm bo v: 2012
Abstract: Creating advertising slogans can be called an art of copywriters.
Investigation into successful slogans is a good way to discover the effectiveness of
exploiting a language to persuade and make impressions on other people especially
consumers. Different advertising slogans of many famous food and drink products are
analyzed on the phonological, lexical, semantic and syntactic levels. Such issues such
as the complexity of sentence structure, sentence types, the most frequently used
words, the use of some figures of speech and rhetorical sound devices in advertising
slogans for food and drink products are concentrated. As a result, many linguistic
features have been discovered, which can help linguists, copywriters and individuals
who concern this subject matter in capturing an overview of how advertising language
is utilized in food and drink slogans. The investigation hopefully can serve as an
informative source for both pedagogical and research purposes and becomes a
motivation for other researchers to carry out further studies.
Keywords: Ngn ng khu hiu; Ngn ng qung co; Ting Anh
1.1 Statement of the problem and rationale for the study
According to Bove et al. (1995:16-20), advertising has never been as ubiquitous as it
is nowadays. Language in advertising is typified by a slogan which is present in every
advertisement. Slogans can be considered the heart of advertisements wherever they appear.
Angela Goddard in her book The language of advertising titles these slogans the hooks
which she calls the initial piece of attention-seeking verbal language used to draw the
reader in (Goddard, 1998:106).
Slogans are the most important and condensed messages advertisers would like to
send to their customers. Sharp and intelligent slogans can help advertisers leave unforgettable
impressions on their potential customers minds. They provide continuity for a campaign and
reduce a key theme or idea the company wants to be associated with its product or itself to a
brief statement (Bove and Arens, 1992:274). However, creating a successful slogan is never
an easy task. Hence, the study on some successful slogans promises to bring about a lot of
interesting facts in the art of using language especially among not only marketers but also
sociologists, psychologists and especially linguists.

In this study, the researcher chooses to analyze the advertising slogans of some worldfamous food and drink products in English for some main reasons. First of all, when those
products can be called famous, they must be successful in many aspects. They may have a
special secret of creating a great or even unique taste or they may have a long history of
building their own prestige and class. But one thing that can be ensured is their successful
advertising campaigns in which slogans play a vital part. The investigation into those slogans
will hopefully reveal interesting features in language used in slogans in general and food and
drink slogans in particular. Second, food and drink products play a very important part in our
daily life as an indispensible demand, so they have a wide scope of activities with customers
of different ages, backgrounds, religions, beliefs and values. In this way, the slogans of those
products, in a current competitive market today, need to be created with a very careful choice
of language to persuade their wide variety of demanding customers. Hence, an investigation
into linguistic features of advertising slogans can be of great value to producers if they want
to create a persuasive and effective slogan to advertise their products. Last but not least,
investigations into slogans in general and into linguistic features of slogans in particular are
limited and outnumbered by investigations into other fields of advertising. In fact, while there
exist quite a lot of papers on advertising language, there are only a few studies on linguistic
features of slogans such as An investigation into the style of the English language used in
advertising slogans issued by some world-famous airlines (Bui, 2008) or Presupposition
and implicature in English and Vietnamese advertising slogans (Tran, 2007). However,
these studies only yield insight into some surface linguistic features of slogans or they only
analyze slogans in light of some sub-branches of pragmatics. Moreover, this is the first time
slogans for food and drink products have been discussed among MA theses in ULIS and
becomes one of the few papers on food and drink slogans in the world.
For all the reasons mentioned above and be motivated by previous studies, a study
entitled: A descriptive analysis of linguistic features of advertising language used in
English slogans for food and drink products is carried out. By conducting this study, the
researcher hopes to gain better insight into the most significant linguistic features of the
advertising language used in English slogans for food and drink products. This study with its
results is hoped to be served as an invaluable source of reference for teachers and learners of
English as a foreign language, translators, advertisers and those who concern themselves
about this subject matter.
1.2 Aims of the study
The objective of this study is to investigate the advertising slogans for food and drink
products in the phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic aspects to draw out the most
significant linguistic features of advertising language used in these English slogans.
Moreover, the study also grasps some implications especially in ways of creating an effective
slogan for food and drink products in the Vietnamese context to achieve success for the
1.3 Research question
In brief, the study seeks the answers to this research question:
What are the most significant linguistic features of food and drink slogans in English?
Specifically, the linguistic features of slogans are analyzed based on these four
different levels: phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic levels.
1.4 Scope of the study
Within a shortage of time and the limited scale of a M.A thesis, the researcher only
investigates into 112 food and drink English slogans in print advertisements which are listed
in one of the most famous website with a large database of English advertising slogans instead of analyzing advertising slogans of all fields and from all sources.
Moreover, the study deals with English slogans for food and drink products in four linguistic
aspects, namely syntactic features from the aspect of sentence complexity, semantic features
including some figures of speech, phonological features including some rhetorical sound
devices , and lexical ones which refer to some most frequently-used words in advertising
language. Stylistic features or some other extra-linguistic factors such as typography and

layout are excluded. This choice of areas to be discussed, therefore, helps the researcher
obtain insight into the subject matter in a careful and thorough way in order to provide the
most valuable results.
1.5 Methodology
This study has used descriptive and analytic methods as it involves a collection of
techniques used to specify, delineate, or describe naturally occurring phenomena without
experimental manipulation (Seliger & Shohamy, 1989:124). These methods have been
utilized to analyze and describe the frequency of the occurrence of some linguistic phenomena
in food and drink slogans. The descriptive method helps provide in-depth descriptions of food
and drink slogans and the analytic method helps identify and isolate certain aspects to focus
The study has also used a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The
quantitative method has been deployed in collecting and processing the data and the
qualitative method is necessary to establish the theoretical framework, examine the data and
draw conclusions.
Discourse and discourse analysis
According to Widdowson (2000:8), discourse is a use of sentences in order to perform
acts for communication purposes which cohere into bigger communicative components and set
up a rhetorical model which characterizes language pieces as a whole type of communication.
Yule (1996: 139) defines discourse analysis as follows:
In the study of language, some of the most interesting questions arise in
connection with the way language is used, rather than what its components
areWe were, in effect, asking how it is language users interpret what other
language users intend to convey. When we carry this investigation further and
ask how it is that we, as language users, make sense of what we read in texts,
understand what speakers mean despite what they say, recognize connected as
opposed to jumbled or incoherent discourse, and successfully take part in that
complex activity called conversation, we are undertaking what is known
discourse analysis.
Advertising as a discourse: Advertisements as Texts
Register can be defined as a set of lexical and grammatical features that come with and
help to identify discourse that occurs in a particular recurrent situation (Johnstone, 2002:147).
With respect to advertising as a genre, Trosborg (1997:9) states that the defining criterion of
any genre is the communicative purpose that it is intended to fulfill. Advertising as a genre
can be classified under the category of appeal-oriented texts, having the predominant
functions of persuasion. In commercial advertising, form and content are at one in their
overall goal of arousing consumer response (Reiss, 2000:38). To sum up, it is also shown
that the ultimate communicative purpose of advertising genre is persuasion.
Definitions of advertising
From a linguistics perspective, Adler (1985:25) defines advertising as a
communicative situation in which language can function in reference to the purposes and
real possibilities of this type of communication. With a different view on advertising,
Goddard (1998:10) focuses on the aim of advertising with these words below:
Advertising is not just about the commercial promotion of branched products
but can also encompass the idea of texts whose intention is to enhance the
image of an individual, group or organization.

Definitions of slogans and adverting slogans

As Whittier (1958: 11) suggests:
A slogan should be a statement of such merit about a product or service that it is
worthy of continuous repetition in advertising, is worthwhile for the public to
remember, and is phrased in such a way that the public is likely to remember it.
An advertising slogan or a tagline is, as Rein (1982:49) defines it as a "unique phrase
identified with a company or brand". A slogan has "to say something about the product
uniqueness or values" and it "should command attention, be memorable and be brief" (Rein,
1982: 54).
Syntactic Features of Advertising Language
According to the increasing degree of complexity, the constituents of sentence are
classified into 4 sub-categories: groups, verbless and non - finite clauses, simple sentences,
multiple sentences.
The group: defined as expansion of a word (Richards, 1996:5).
Toolan (1988:57) and Bruthiaux (1996:79) state that one of the standard features of
advertisements is the tendency to use lengthy and complex noun phrases or groups.
Verbless and non-finite clauses
A verbless clause is defined as a clause containing no V element but otherwise
generally analyzable in terms of one or more clause elements. (Quirk and Greenbaum,
1973: 310).
A non-finite clause is defined as a clause whose V element is a non-finite verb
phrase (Quirk and Greenbaum, 1973: 310). The infinitive, the -ing participle and the -ed
participle are the non-finite forms of the verb (Quirk et al.1990:41).
Simple sentences
Simple sentences are sentences consisting of only one independent clause (Quirk and
Greenbaum, 1973: 166). According to these two authors, simple sentences may be divided
into four major syntactic classes including declarative, imperative, interrogative and
exclamatory sentences. (Quirk and Greenbaum, 1973: 191)
Both Leech (1966:79-80, 110) and Myers (1994:47) regard imperatives as the
generic sentence type for advertisements. According to Biber et al. (1999:219), imperatives
usually lack a subject, modals and tense as well as aspect markers. Leech (1966: 79-80) also
agrees that the frequency of imperative clauses is considerably high in advertisements.
Interrogatives give advertisements a conversational quality as well as establish an
interactive relationship between the advertiser and the audience based on the grounds that a
question presupposes an answer (Myers 1994: 49, Leech 1966: 111). This type of sentence
often contains presuppositions which convey implicit assumptions of power and gender
relations (Fairclough, 1995) and becomes a frequently -found feature in advertising language
as well. Besides, another typical feature of interrogatives in advertising is that they are often
It can be said that declarative sentences widely appear in advertising language since
they are primarily used to convey information and the ultimate aim of advertising is to inform
customers of the quality of a certain product or the profit it may bring.
Exclamatory sentences
Exclamatory sentences also suggest personal and interactive communication, which

explains for its frequency in advertisements (Myers, 1994:50-51). They begin with either
what or how and continue with a subject-verb verb pattern. (Biber et al., 2002:254).
Multiple sentences
Based on inner complexity, all sentences can be divided into simple, consisting of a
single clause and multiple, consisting of several clauses (Quirk et al., 1985:40). Multiple
sentences include complex sentence and compound sentence. (Quirk et al, 1985:719). In
advertising, the use of multiple sentences is limited because they can make an opposite
intention for its creators.
Lexical Features of Advertising Language
Verbal groups
In terms of voice and polarity of verbal groups, ODonnell and Todd (1980) claim that
the use of passive voice is avoided and negatives are not frequently used in advertising. In
respect to finiteness, these authors state that finite verbs do not occur very often in advertising.
Regarding tense, Leech states that the simple present tense forms are by far the most frequent
finite verbal groups while past tense are much less common in advertising language.
Concerning modality, according to Leech (1966), the two most commonly used auxiliary
verbs in advertising are will and can.
In a research on advertising language, Leech (1966:20) presents a list of 20 most
common lexical verbs. When Leechs list of verbs is compared with the twelve most common
lexical verbs collected by Biber et al. (2002:110), there appear many similarities. The verbs
make, get, give, see, come, go and know are on both lists, for instance.
Adjectives play an important role in peoples communication and adjectives in the
advertisements often act as the wrapping ideal goal of what is intended to be sold or
provided (Goddard, 1998:205). Jefkins (1994:202) also states that if advertising experts
were asked to use only one word, they will probably use an adjective. In general, adjectives
are essential in advertising because they are used to add prestige and desirability and
approval for the consumer (Dyer, 1982:149. In general, adjectives can appear in basic,
comparative and superlative forms in advertising language.
Brand names
Leech (1966:28-29) maintains that repetition plays an important role in enhancing the
ability to memorize so this is the reason why the name of the product or the service provider
is often mentioned in advertisements and slogans as well.
Personal Pronouns and Possessive Determiners
According to Williamson (1978:50), the pronoun you which is so common in
advertisements is regarded as referring to you the reader or the listener of the advertisement,
although there is no logical reason to assume that it was specifically you that the advertiser
had in mind before.
The pronoun we/us can be used in both exclusive and inclusive senses in
advertising (Biber et al., 2002:94, Myers 1994:81).
The pronoun I most frequently refers to the potential customer, the expert of the
product, or the sceptic (Myers, 1994:83; Cook, 1992:155).. According to Myers (1994:
83,85), I is used in advertising to offer readers a new way to characterize themselves and to
be unique individuals. Together with personal pronouns, their corresponding possessive
determiners (your, my, our) are also used in advertising.
New words and phrases
In order to keep the publics attention, advertisers often break the rules of English
by spelling words incorrectly, coining new words, blending two words to form a new one, etc.
Some of the most common ways to create, change and turn words are compounding, blending,
coinage and conversion.

Semantic Features of Advertising Language

Metaphor is regarded as the most commonly-used figure of speech in advertising.
Metaphor is defined as a figurative expression in which one notion is described in terms
usually associated with another. The linkage between them is implicit (Crystal, 2003:465).
Hyperbole is defined as a way of describing something by saying it is much bigger,
smaller, worse, etc than it actually is (Longman dictionary of contemporary English,
According to Leech (1966:183), personification is a special kind of metaphor in which
human attributes are given to inanimate objects or abstractions. In advertising, this figure of
speech is widely employed especially when the connection of the product features with
human emotions is desired.
Moises (1978:30) identifies metonymy as the use of one word instead of another,
with which it establishes a constant and logic relation of contiguity. The concept of
metonymy is highly exploited in advertising since it offers copywriters a chance to convey
messages in a concise and effective way.
Phonological Features of Advertising Language
Rhyme is defined as a repetition of identical or similar sounds between words or
verse-lines and often used in poetry as well as advertising (Myers, 1994: 34). Rhyme
which refers to sounds, not spelling is widely found not only in literature but also in
advertising including slogans.
Alliteration is the use of words that begin with the same sound in order to make a
special effect, especially in poetry (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1995:35).
Like rhyme, alliteration catches the attention of the audience and makes the idea impressed
deeply on the audience and thus easier for them to remember (Jefkin, 1994:206).
Another sound device is assonance which is defined as the repetition or resemblance
of vowel sounds in the stressed syllables of a sequence of words, preceded and followed by
different consonants (Zhang, 2005:93).
Onomatopoeia is a term used to describe the phenomenon of language sounding like
the thing it refers to (Zhang, 2005:97). Like other phonetic figure of speech, onomatopoeia is
also broadly found in literature as well as advertising.
Descriptive research is widely used to describe systematically the facts and
characteristics of a given population or area of interest, factually and accurately (Isaac &
Michael, 1981:18). This kind of research helps the researcher describe naturally occurring
phenomena and explain what exists with respect to variables or conditions of a situation
Seliger and Shohamy (1989:124). A variable is a characteristic or attribute of an individual
or an organization that (1) researchers can measure or observe (2) varies among individuals
or organization studied (Creswell, 2005:118).

All the advertising slogans chosen for the research in the website
were supposed to fulfill the criteria hereafter:

Being an advertising slogan for a food/drink product

Appearing in print advertisements (referring to slogans listed under the letter P
standing for Print in the Media column)
Being advertised in the UK or/and the US
Regarding those criteria, 59 food slogans and 53 drink ones were chosen for analysis.


Phase 1: The list of advertising slogans was downloaded from the Internet.
Phase 2: All the food and drink slogans falling into the category of print advertising were
picked out. That is, slogans belonging to other categories such as health and beauty,
household appliances, leisure / entertainment, travel and transport etc as well as food and
drink slogans listed under the letters including T (Television), R (Radio), O (Outdoor)
and Ot (Other) were excluded.
Phase 3: 112 food and drink slogans (including 59 food slogans and 53 drink slogans) were
chosen for analysis.
After collecting 112 slogans for food and drink products, the researcher made a
linguistic analysis of them and determined the linguistic means used in terms of phonological,
lexical, syntactic and semantic aspects. All the features of advertising language from those
four aspects which were studied in the research are called variables.
After that, all the sub-categories of each linguistic aspect were coded and put into the
Microsoft Excel next to 112 slogans. A table of attributes for exact enumeration of linguistic
means was produced and all the features in each slogan were examined most qualitatively by
identifying which sub-category of sentence structure each slogan belongs to, finding out how
lexical devices are used in each slogan, discovering whether or not each slogan contains at
least one figure of speech or rhetorical sound device and making it clear how those linguistic
devices are used thanks to discourse analysis.
Later, general statistics were made as a consequence thanks to descriptive, synthetic
and analytic methods and quantitative methods were deployed to measure the frequency level
of occurrence of each sub-category of sentence structure, each sentence type, verbal groups,
adjectives, brand names, pronouns and determiners, new words/phrases, each figure of speech
and each rhetorical sound device as well.
Complexity of sentence structure
As can be seen from Figure 1, based on the complexity of sentence structures, the
most frequently employed unit of communication is the simple sentence which counts for
nearly a half of the whole corpus. Surprisingly, the groups account for only 28% of the whole
corpus. Among 39 groups appearing in the present study, noun groups constitute nearly 73%
whereas adjectival and prepositional ones make up the rest. Multiple sentences appear to be
quite uncommon among 112 advertising (only 13%). Verbless and non-finite clauses are by
far the least common constituents of sentence in the present data (about 10%).

Figure 1: Distribution of four sub-categories of sentence structure

Looking at Figure 2, there is a relatively low number of interrogatives and
exclamatory sentences in the data (only 6% and 4% respectively). The most widely used
sentence type is declarative ones which account for 48%. 42% of simple sentences are
imperative ones regarded as the generic sentence type by many researchers.
sentence types in the corpus
Verbal groups
of lexical verbs


There are 80 lexical

verbs appearing in 63
advertising slogans in the corpus. The most frequently used verbs found in the samples are
make, say, know, get and keep.
Compared to the two lists created by Leech (1966) and Biber et al. (2002:110) , there
are 5 verbs including make, get, see, go and give occurring on three lists.
Use of finite and non-finite verbs
The analysis indicates that finite verbs which amount to approximately 78% are nearly
four times as common as non-finite ones.
Use of modal verbs
In the corpus, modal verbs merely appear in 8 slogans which are equal to roughly 7%.
will and have got to become the most widely used modals whereas can, should and
would occur only once.
Use of tense
On the basis of the present data, simple present forms are the most frequent finite
verbal groups and account for 94% of all slogans containing finite verbs whereas past tense
and future ones are much less common (only appearing in 1 and 3 slogans respectively). In
fact, there is only one slogan which contains would which is commonly supposed to be the
past form of will.
Use of negation
Only 9% of the whole corpus contains negation and by inserting not and giving
emotive intensification to a negative by using words like never, no or nothing, the
message of the slogan is put much emphasis on.
Use of voice

In fact there are no slogans containing a completely a grammatically complete passive

construction in the corpus. However, there appear some constructions which seem to involve
the passive voice even though some necessary elements are missing.
For example:
Refreshment refined (Carling Chrome beer)
In the slogan corpus, there are 45 (roughly 40%) out of 112 slogans containing
adjectives. However, there appears an immense diversity in adjectives chosen for the selected
slogans. The most commonly found adjectives are good/better/best, fresh, big, pure.
Compared to Leechs (1966) list, only two adjectives good / better / best and fresh are
prevalent in both corpora.
Brand names
Surprisingly, slogans containing adjectives and ones including brand names account
for the same percentage (approximately 40%) of the whole corpus. The occurrence of product
names in advertising slogans as well as in advertising texts can help the consumers memorize
the company and its service much more easily.
Personal pronouns and possessive determiners
24 (about 21%) out of 112 advertising slogan for food and drink products contain
pronouns or/and possessive determiners and you and yours becomes the most frequently
used one of the total pronouns and determiners appearing in the whole corpus. Besides, we
is also used in the samples.
New words and phrases
In the present corpus, new words and phrases appear in just around 17% of 112
slogans. In total, 32 original words and phrases which are formed by means of compounding,
blending and coinage help create the feeling of novelty and surprise. Among them, conversion
is the most favourite employed formation method of new words.
92 (equal to about 82%) among 112 slogans contain at least one of the four figures of
speech which are examined in the research.

Figure 3: Occurrence of four figures of speech in the corpus

It can be seen from Figure 3, metaphor becomes the most popular rhetorical linguistic
device used in 112 food and drink slogans. The second most frequently used figure of speech
is metonymy which is employed in nearly one third (32 out of 92) slogans using rhetorical
devices. The most common type of relation appears to be the relatedness between brand
names (proper names) and the products (common names).
Following metaphor and metonymy, hyperbole is found in 20 slogans. Personification
a special kind of metaphor is used in only 6 out of all slogans utilizing figurative language.
There are some slogans which contain more than one figure of speech.

Use of metaphor
For example:
The Coke side of life (Coca cola)
In the example above, it can clearly be seen that life here is understood as an entity
which cannot be defined only by using the information provided. However, at least certain
characteristic of this entity can be determined by examining the word side. Life is
conceived as a thing which has at least two sides and in everyday life, it is always encouraged
that we should look on the bright/positive side of life when things go wrong instead of
thinking about the negative one. This slogan seems to confirm the conventional way of
conceiving life. With or without Coca cola can affect two sides of our life. Since advertising
slogans are created to have positive meanings, the Coke side of life would probably refer to
the bright side of life.
For example:
Start your day the Kellogg's way (Kelloggs cereal)
In Kelloggs slogan for its cereal product which is commonly used for breakfast, it is
suggested that there are many ways to start a new day but eating Kelloggs cereal is implicitly
regarded as one of the best ways which can give you energy for the whole long day to come.
This way of using metaphor partly contributes to urging consumers to buy this product
through the use of an imperative sentence.
Use of metonymy
For example:
Guinness is good for you (Guinness beer)
In the example mentioned above, all brand names refer to the products (namely beer or
orange juice).
For example:
It's finger lickin' good (KFCs fast foods)
Back to this famous slogan for KFCs food products, together with the occurrence of
an adjectival compound as a new word, there appears metonymy here with the connection
between fingerlicking and good taste of the product. It is common knowledge that after
finishing eating something delicious, sometimes people may lick or suck their fingers.
Use of personification
For example:
Picadilly pack a promise (Picadilly tea)
The tea is given human qualities which can keep a promise which is likely to be
inferred that this kind of drink can ensure the flavour and quality.
Use of hyperbole
For example:
The very best juice for the very best kids (Juicy Juice)
The adjective good in its superlative form evokes strong feelings and partly creates a
strong impression on the readers. Through this slogan, the advertiser wants to make a claim
that this kind of beverage is better than any other products of the same field and the greatest
kids deserve to use it.
64% of the whole corpus using sound devices to make the slogans more outstanding,
original and memorable.


As can be seen from Figure 7, rhyme which appears in 32 slogans (equal to about
29%) becomes the most popular sound device in food and drink slogans. The second most
widely used one is alliteration which occurs in 20 slogans of the corpus. According to Leech
(1966), rhyme and alliteration share the same characteristic because they both make the
slogans and headlines appear striking and easier to remember. Assonance and onomatopoeia
are at the third and fourth places respectively and seem to be not popular among food and
drink slogans compared with the other two sound devices mentioned earlier.
Figure 4 Occurrence of
four sound devices in the

of rhyme
What a difference a shake
makes (Yazoo flavoured
pip of a chip (Jays potato
The selected slogans appear to be abundant in the use of rhyme.
Use of assonance
For example:
Red Bull gives you wings (Red Bull energy drinks)

repetition of /i/
Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time (Paul Masson wine)
repetition of /ai/
Use of alliteration
In some cases, vowel sounds are not so strong and emphatic and that is the reason why
alliteration is utilized to add a more subtle effect to the text.
For example:
Erin, soup that stirs your soul (Erin soup)
Refreshment Refined (Carling Chrome beer)
Use of onomatopoeia
For example:
Snap!Crackle!Pop! (Kellogg's Rice Krispies)
The cereal is made of rice grains that are cooked, dried and toasted resulting in crisped
rice. When milk or cream is added, the thin walls of the rice collapse, making the famous
sounds - Snap! Crackle! and Pop. The use of onomatopoeia partly contributes to make
this slogan become one of the top 20 slogans of all time listed by some websites.
In this study, a number of 112 English food and drink slogans have been investigated
to find out the most noteworthy characteristics of advertising language employed by many
advertisers of food and drink products in the world. After a thorough analysis has been carried
out, some conclusions have been drawn out:
Regarding syntactic features of advertising language used in food and drink slogans,
the paper has reached the conclusion that based on the complexity of sentence structure; the
corpus exhibits an abundance of simple sentences which tend to be short and elliptical and the
groups becomes the second most widely used unit of communication. However, verbless and


non-finite clauses as well as multiple sentences appear to be uncommon in the research

samples. Moreover, there exists an imbalance among four sentence types in the data.
Declaratives and imperatives considerably outnumber interrogatives and exclamatory
sentences, as provided by the corpus.
With respect to lexical characteristics, the samples are characterized by quite an
extensive use of lexical verbs and most of them are in the finite forms. The results also show
that simple present tense and active voice are typically preferred by advertisers of food and
drink products. However, the occurrence of modal verbs and negation seems to be quite rare.
Nearly half of the slogans selected for analysis choose adjectives as a means to enhance the
effectiveness and there also appears a wide variety of adjectives appearing in the samples. The
results also reveal a rather high frequency of brand names. In terms of pronouns and
possessive determiners, you and yours become the two most frequently used ones among
all the pronouns and determiners appearing in one -fifth of 112 slogans. Last but not least, 32
new words or phrases are created thanks to different ways of word-formation and appear in
nearly one-fifth of the corpus.
Concerning semantic features of advertising language employed in food and drink
catchphrases, the results of the analysis show that more than three quarters of the selected
samples exploit the use of at least one of the four mentioned figures of speech and metaphor
and metonymy become the two most fully employed tropes compared to the other two
including hyperbole and personification.
With regard to phonological features, at least one rhetorical sound device is utilized
in more than 60% of 112 advertising slogans for food and drink products. Rhyme becomes the
most popular sound device and alliteration is the second most common one whereas
assonance and onomatopoeia are not frequently used in food and drink slogans.
Due to time constraint and restriction on the researchers experience, the study cannot
avoid certain drawbacks. Firstly, there are still gaps which cannot be fully bridged only
through the analysis of advertising slogans provided by a non-native speaker due to some
differences in beliefs, values and culture. The second disadvantage is the small size of data
(112 advertising slogans in total) which affect the generalization of all food and drink
slogans written in English. The paper cannot cover all angles of the same subject matter and
the gaps in the study are hoped to be filled in the near future. Therefore, suggestions for
further research may include:
A larger population of data with the use of a wider variety of advertising media will be
employed so that a more general and more exact view will be obtained.
The cultural respect, which can make a great effect on the images and the words
employed in advertising slogans, can be investigated as one of the key points.
Together with English slogans, Vietnamese ones should also be included in the analysis
to make some comparisons between the use of advertising language in these two
Food and drink slogans can also analyzed in light of other sub-branches of linguistics,
namely pragmatics.
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