This study examines the language of newspaper advertisement in The Guardian newspaper. Advertisement is presented with language and the language conveys the message the advertiser wants the audience to understand. This study adopted the theta model to analyze. The study concluded that advertising language used in The Guardian newspaper suits the advertiser’s aims which are to inform, entice, excite and persuade the audience to buy. The use of simple content words makes for easy understanding. Repetition and metaphor are for emphasis and effectiveness. The study recommended that newspapers in Nigeria should understand that every communication is meant to pass on meaningful messages for the readers to take action. Guardian newspaper should make the advertisements clear with the use of theta model for the readers to get the impact of the advertisement. Expressive language should be used by The Guardian newspapers advertising. Expressive language gives the readers the intent of the value in the advertised product. The Guardian newspaper should desist from using deceptive words so that the readers would not be disappointed upon purchasing the product that has been advertised.




1.1 Background to the Study

Newspaper advertisement has a long history, with some options tracing its origin to the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent in the Bible (Okigbo, 1985). Wright (2000:4) however, opines that advertising started in ancient Babylon at about 3000BC when inscription 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.

Newspapers are a source of news and information. In several aspects, they are also a medium of communication among the peoples of the world. Today, there are hundreds of newspapers all over the world. Everywhere, there is a keen desire to learn more and more about the affairs of the world. This is partly the affairs of the world. This is partly the result of the spread of education which sharpens one’s curiosity to learn about distant lands”. As a source of news Newspaper is almost indispensable to thirsts for knowledge is insatiable.

Advertisement in newspaper seeks to promote the sales of products and services. Njemanze, Nwulu, Ononiwu and Obiegbu (2015), advertising shares some characteristic with other art work like novel, play and films, advertisement is a type of one way communication with an anonymous audience advertiser. Akinbode (2012), explained that advertising is the market instrument which advertiser use to influence the bahaviour of consumers at the point of purchase.

Advertisement is presented with language. The language is convey the message to the audience which also serve Obiegbu (2015), state that advertiser employ a form of language that is filled with emotive words. The essence of this is to appeal to the sense of taste of their prospective customers. Apart from this, advertisers prefer to put verbs of their sentences in an imperative mood, as well as use disjunctive rather than discursive grammar.

According to Robert (2013) the language of advertising like every other field or discipline has language of its own very often it does not follow the grammar or logical rules of the everyday language it is a kind of language that functions and familiarizes itself with the context in which it is used.

Njemanze et al (2012), the stylistic use of advert is an aspect of linguistic study that emphasizes the appropriateness of a language to its audience. It tries to understand how suitable language is to a particular audience. Advertisement is seen to be powerful because of the type of language used to attract and cause interest from the audience. Robert (2013) opined that there is an inevitable power of language use in advertisement. This establishes the capacity to influence people and their buying behaviour. Customer or consumers appreciate the way product and service information are make some steps achieving the objectives of message.

According to Akinbode (2012), advertising the advertiser endeavours to achieve a link between the sender and the receiver. This link is in form of communication. In every communication there is a language. In assessing the contribution of language of newspaper advertisement, the stylistic analysis of the language in advert shows that the end users of a products or services must feel the same way the advertiser do. Njemanze et al (2015), suitability of a language to an audience by stating how it is able to meet certain, arming onself with such stylistic analysis tool as the “less” form. The structure of the language, the diction of the language, the tone of the language and the audience of the language must be in perfect relationship.

Advertising language has to concentrate on the key points, the emphasis of some words over others, the catchy ideas in order to catch the attention of the audience. It is this reason that the language of advertising is short, simple and clear. It is tailored to perform a specific job with the fewest words as possible.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Print media advertising is area specific and tailored for the specific target market. The customers’ for preference of language used in advertisement of product and services cannot be play down. The beauty of language and its versatility in performing unlimited functions deserves attention here. It identifies distinct peculiarities in the texts, examines the relationships between the function that language serves, the rhetorical operations that hold in both texts and the unique characteristics at the levels of lexis and graphology, (Robert, 2013).

Comprehension of the language used in the advertisement does affect the appreciation of the advertisement. The incomprehensibility of the language used in the advertisement can lead to frustration among consumers. If consumers spend too much time on   understanding the message of an advertisement, their attitude towards the advertisement is likely to be negative. Hornikx and Starren (2006) show that easier the language, the more suitable it is for advertisements. In other words, the appreciation of the advertisement rises with its comprehension.

According Modric (2016), regardless of whether the consumers understand the language used in an advertisement, that language can still be appreciated and valued because of the symbols and stereotypes it evokes in the consumers. The structure of language in advertising has a peculiar form. Many factors predispose the copywriter (i.e. one who writes advertisements) to choose his vocabulary this in some sense implies that copywriter does not have a free flow of lexical items. It is worthy to note that some important points about newspapers is that they are businesses, and businesses need to make a profit. They can only do that if they have readers.

It is however clear that the copywriter is restrained to the use of language in advertisement, and the owner of the advert has a primary motive of making profit out of the adverts. It is obvious that in good adverts language matters in this context; therefore, purpose of this study is to critically analyze the most suitable language for newspaper advertisement.

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. Therefore, the study will provide knowledge to exiting knowledge as well as close knowledge gap that on research related to the subject.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The general objective of the study is the language of newspaper advertisement in The Guardian newspaper. The specific objectives are;

  1. To discover the advertisement in The Guardian.
  2. To find out whether the language of newspaper advertisement use in The Guardian Newspaper persuade the readers.
  3. To determine whether the language of newspaper advertisement in The Guardian Newspaper readers.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. What is the language of newspaper advertisement in The Guardian newspaper?
  2. Does the language of advertisement used in The Guardian Newspaper persuade the readers?
  3. Do the readers understand the language of advertisement used in The Guardian newspaper?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study wills contribution to the existing studies on survey of the language of the newspaper advertisement in The Guardian Newspaper. This study shows how the Newspaper houses make use of language in the presentation of advertisement. Most important the study will provide amble knowledge as regards to research problem. Therefore, the study will help newspaper houses to understand the idiosyncrasy of the readers of newspaper advertisement as well as making good message presentation devoid from ambiguous words and statement.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is based on the survey of language of the newspapers advertisement. The scope of the study is shall cover The Guardian Newspaper. Periodically, the study shall cover six months, starting from June to December 2018.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Newspaper: This is a periodic news publication that appears in tabloid or Broadsheet format for citizen to be abreast with the happenings in the society. According to Nwosu (2003), newspaper is a package of timely records of event and person for public consumption.

Advertisement: The mass communication unit that persuades customers to buy goods through advent message that is sponsored by an organization.

1.8 Research Methodology

            The data for this research was randomly selected from The Guardian newspaper. The data gathered was analyzed using the theta theory. The theta theory otherwise known as theta criterion is a part of the generative theory proposed by Noam Chomsky (1981). Theta criterion describes the connection of meaning between a predicate and a verb and it’s constitute. Theta criterion expresses the sematic relations that the entries denote by the noun phrase towards the action or state denoted by verb. Theta criterion describes the specific match between arguments and theta roles in logical form.