Title

Impact of English on modern Russian TV advertising

Date of Award

8-2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Advisor(s)

Tej K. Bhatia

Keywords

English, Russian, Advertising, Television, Sociolinguistics

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | European Languages and Societies | Public Relations and Advertising

Abstract

This dissertation investigates the various linguistic facets of Russian TV commercials and the influence of English on Russian advertising discourse. 540 TV ads, including social, service and commercial types, broadcast by seven TV channels in Russia, are included in the study's sample. A wide spectrum of methods is applied to the study of TV commercial messages: semiotic, linguistic and information processing approaches and content analysis. The process and results of the research are presented in seven chapters of the dissertation.

English in Russia is at the periphery of the Expanding circle of Global English, but its role there has significantly increased over the last decade. English fulfils interpersonal, international, instrumental and innovative functions, and is used in personal, professional and recreational settings in modern Russia. The influence of English is clearly observed in Russian advertising discourse, where the multiple language mixing, employed in more than 60% of Russian TV ads, is the main source of linguistic creativity. The presence of English is a dominant feature in TV commercials, where code-mixing/switching is used in 75% of ads.

English is used in nearly all twelve structural components in the layout of Russian TV commercials, and found in abundance in brand name, name of the company, logo, and attention getter. Both inter- and intra-sentential, as well as morphological mixing of English and Russian take place in Russian TV commercials. The diversity of different orthographic variations in representing English are revealed in five script patterns.

Language, visual, sound and image creativity in modern Russian TV commercials is observed through using English-influenced structural patterns, as well as through literary devices and figures of speech, where English often serves as a source of rhyming, allusions, humor and puns. The values and beliefs that Russian TV ads reflect, such as individualism, high self-esteem, success in the public arena, and fun in life, are definitely influenced by Western culture.

Russian TV advertising messages presents a complex mix of different languages, scripts and non-linguistic elements, such as images, music and insights provided by consumers. Argument structure of the language of TV commercials also presents a mix of information, persuasion and deception. One of the measures of success of a TV advertising lies in its ability to relate the social value of a product with the aspirations and images of a potential customer. English in Russian ads plays a social role, being a marker of prestige, Westernization, and modernization. Mixing in Russian TV commercials, being a source of cross-cultural creativity, goes beyond cosmetic or attention getting considerations.

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