This study explores the ways figures of speech such as metaphors, puns and alliteration contribute to the creation of tourism images in print advertising. Extensive research has been conducted within the areas of advertising, tourism and linguistics. However, little has been done to emphasise the importance of textual analysis. The majority of the research used the more common visual semiotics approach in tourism. This study provides a detailed analysis of the figures of speech in tourism advertising. The choice of the above figures of speech was dictated by the previous research indicating the significant use of those devices in advertising. As no similar studies were conducted earlier, it was logical to start with the examination of the most frequently used figures of speech. Qualitative content analysis of 600 advertisements, selected from a range of sources, was carried out. The purpose was to find common patterns between the figures of speech used in the 1970s and 2000-2008, identify the links between advertised products and individual figures of speech and finally to explore how the interpretation process occurs when ambiguity takes place. This would lead to more in-depth understanding of the position of figures of speech in tourism advertising. Pragmatic approach, a branch of linguistics, was also implemented to explain the interpretation process. Textual analysis of puns, metaphors and alliteration reveals some concerns over the use of these devices when addressing potential consumers. Metaphors and puns are able to influence existing textual meanings carrying different degrees of ambiguity. Complex use of language devices might cause difficulties in its comprehension. Consumers require more information about the advertised products as their awareness and competence have increased. Growing legislation, development of new information technology devices, globalisation of the markets and growing consumer competence make the task of advertisers challenging and difficult. Creating new figures of speech, advertisers have to be aware of the consequential issues within their comprehension. Although Relevance Theory, a part of pragmatics, successfully explains the interpretation and derivation of ambiguous meanings, there are still numerous meanings expressed in advertising and advertisers leave the responsibility of correct interpretation for recipients. Low numbers of puns indicate that although tourism activity is associated with an enjoyment and pleasure, the satisfaction from resolving the pun is not always appreciated by readers. From another side, alliteration does not require any interpretation and thus cannot be misled, as no semantic meaning is involved. Hence, alliteration has more potential to succeed in the advertising communication. This thesis contributes to knowledge in theoretical and methodological concepts within tourism advertising depiction via linguistic devices and hopes to generate some further discussion within this area. The major contribution of this research lies in the detailed analysis of figures of speech used in tourism advertising. This work appears to be the first substantial attempt to undertake this linguistic approach.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 10 Sep 2008|