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POLITICAL COMMERCIALS: Slogans in U.S. election commercials
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During the Presidential elections in the USA every 4th year political commercials play an important role. The prize of the election competition is the Presidency for 4 years. The slogans connected to each President candidate are no doubt important for the outcome of the Presidential competition. Constructing a slogan is an effective way of expressing political opinions and beliefs, often in a witty way which makes the content stay in the voters’ minds and thus it contributes to their decision to vote for the “right” candidate. The linguistic pattern in a slogan is important, and certain language features are obvious, while other meaning potentials are implicit. In this paper, six political slogans from the years 1856 to 2008 have been analyzed with the help of well-known theories of language functions, especially the language theories of Bühler and Jakobson.  As the rhetorical language aspect plays an important role in slogans, this aspect has also been investigated. In addition, speech act theory by Austin and Searle and Grice´s theory of conversational implicatures as well as Halliday´s theories have been used in the analysis. These theories have been chosen with the aim of finding some of the implicated language patterns in winning political slogans. Here Grice’s theory of conversational implicatures on the speaker’s or writer’s part as well as the addressee’s perceived implicatures are of main importance.

It seems that the voter´s positive feelings towards the candidates are crucial for their voting. This has mainly two aspects. The first and basic one is: if a voter likes the candidate as a person, then she/he tends to vote for that particular candidate even if she/he is not very familiar with or even understands the political program of this candidate. The second aspect is thus that the political slogans are linguistically constructed in a way which makes them evoke positive feelings towards a candidate, and they can then also feel included in the world of the candidate. This is linguistically achieved with the help of for example rhymes and words with positive connotations aiming at establishing positive togetherness with the candidate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
language functions, conversational implicatures, icons, indexes, symbols, commercial language, speecht act theory, slogans, poeticity
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76895OAI: diva2:528209
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-12-13 Created: 2012-05-23 Last updated: 2012-12-13Bibliographically approved

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Sunnanhed, Berit
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