Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

A Study of Ideological Representation in English Auto Advertising Discourse from the Perspective of CDA

Author LuYu
Tutor ZuoZhaoJun
School Dongbei University of Finance
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords auto advertising discourse critical discourse analysis ideology
CLC H315
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Advertising, with its various ways of communication, has penetrated into people’s daily life and inevitably affected their attitudes and values. Due to the significant role advertising played in everyday life, this thesis chooses English auto ads as its study object. This thesis claims that English auto advertising discourse, like other discourses, is not conveying neutral information, but transmitting information with hidden ideology behind it. Without any doubt, the essence of English auto ads is promoting advertised cars and achieving the greatest profits. However, nowadays English auto ads also indicate cultural values, ways of life, and other ideologies in hidden or comparatively displayed ways. These ideologies exert strong psychological influences on the audience. Therefore, the author reviews the theoretical background for advertising discourse analysis, and then offers the theoretical methodology for this thesis. After that the author applies the methodology to a series of samples of English auto ads, randomly chosen from popular English auto magazines as well as English auto brochures, to explore the ideological representation in them.With the popularity of cars and its important symbolic meaning, car advertisements have played an important role in people’s daily life. Actually, many scholars have studied English auto advertising discourses, but few of them are carried out in the framework of critical discourse analysis. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a newly-developed approach which regards language as a kind of social practice and aims to analyze discourse from socio-cultural aspects. It not only studies language itself, but also explores the hidden ideology behind language. From CDA point of view, advertising is a form of interaction which is able to construct special social relations. Advertising discourse may change people’s attitudes and values:the extended experience of advertising texts can constitute customer’s identities (for instance, their gender identities) (Fairclough,2003). Fairclough (1992) believes that ideology lies both in the structures of discourse which amounts to the results of past events and the circumstances of present events, and in events themselves.The thesis consists of five chapters. The first chapter briefly introduces research background, motivation, purpose and significance of this study, and the thesis structure.The second chapter is literature review. It is composed of two parts:part one provides a general review of previous researches on advertising, including definition of advertising, functions of advertising, previous studies on advertising English, previous studies on auto ads; part two reviews the birth and evolution of critical discourse analysis (CDA). In part two the author first introduces the birth of critical discourse analysis and then analyzes what’s "critical", "discourse", "analysis" in CDA separately.Chapter Three presents the research framework of this study. It is composed of three sections. The first section provides the theoretical framework of this study. At first it gives a general introduction of Halliday’s systematic functional grammar, in which Halliday lists three main functions--ideational function, interpersonal function and textual function, and points out the importance of "context of culture", that is, the ideological and institutional background that influences language interpretation. Next it presents Fairclough’s three-dimension model of CDA. According to Fairclough, discourse can be seen as text, discursive practice and social practice respectively. He introduces the three phases in conducting CDA, that is, description, interpretation and explanation. After that he lists some critics of Fairclough’s CDA and the implication on the present study. Briefly speaking, the thesis will draw on some suggestions of Fairclough’s CDA framework put forward by Wang Zexia and Yang Zhong, who point out that the relationship between texts, discursive practice and social practice in Fairclough’s framework are unidirectional and static, and suggest a more dynamic model, which also adds ideology to it. The second section in Chapter Three introduces some useful concepts of CDA in this framework-ideology, personal system, modality and intertextuality. Ideology is a key concept which is always explored in critical discourse analysis. Fairclough (1989:2-3) defines ideologies as some common senses that have been naturalized in the conventions and therefore people are not aware of them. He believes ideology is signification of social identities and relationships as well as the physical world. The third section puts forward the methodology of this study and introduces how samples are collected in this research.Chapter Four is the key part of this thesis. In this chapter, the author applies the research framework listed in chapter three to the concrete analysis of ideological representation in selected English Auto advertising samples. It is divided into three sections, which respectively explore ideological representation through three devices, that is, personal system, modality and intertextuality. In each part, the author first explains the relationship between the chosen device and ideology, and then analyzes how ideologies are encoded by the chosen device in selected samples of English auto ads.The first section is about ideologies represented by personal system in English auto ads. It is composed of four parts, that is, functions of personal pronoun system, features of the use of personal pronoun system in advertising discourse, ideological representation of personal pronoun system in English auto ads, and empirical study of personal pronoun system in English auto ads. The second section is about ideologies represented by modality in English auto advertising. At first it introduces the ideological nature of modality, modality and its three dimensions, and grammatical devices of modality. Then it does some empirical study of modality’s ideological meaning in English auto ads. The third section is about ideologies represented by intertextuality in English auto ads. It first introduces the classifications of intertextuality and the ideological functions of intertextuality, and then carries out empirical study of intertextuality as hegemonic struggle in English auto ads.Chapter five concludes the major findings and limitations of this study. In addition, it gives some suggestions for further researches in this area.

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