A Study on the Ambiguity of Advertisement from the Perspective of the Speech Act Theory
Ambiguity is a universal phenomenon in natural languages. Occurring quite often, ambiguity is used to achieve special effects and certain pragmatic purpose, and this is especially true in advertisement. As an important marketing tool, advertisement plays an increasingly important role in our daily life nowadays. Advertisers employ ambiguity in advertisement in the hope that it could make advertisement effective and persuade target consumers to take actions. Therefore, it is very meaningful to study ambiguity in advertisement.
This paper aims to explore ambiguity in advertisement from the perspective of speech act theory. It mainly tries to answer two questions: 1) can the theory of speech act explain ambiguity in advertisement? 2) How does ambiguity contribute to effective advertising? In the paper, classifications of speech acts as well as indirect speech act are applied to the analysis of ambiguity and its pragmatic functions. Besides, it also investigating the positive use of ambiguity in advertisement.
It is obvious that speech act theory has explanatory force in the analysis of ambiguity in advertisement. On the foundation of this theory, we can better understand the features and classifications of ambiguity. Because that ambiguity can bring about perlocutionary effects and pragmatic functions, it is so widely used in advertisement today.?
The paper has made it clear how ambiguity contributes to effective advertisement. Speech act theory is a relatively new approach to the study of inter-cultural communication. Besides, this paper also proves the explanatory force of speech act theory.?
Key words: ambiguity; advertisement; speech act?