Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 10 October 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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A Study of Communicability and Intelligibility of Advertisements in Tamil
With Special Reference to Tooth Paste and Health Drink

P. Perumalsamy, Ph.D.

Advertising is a form of communication intended to promote the sale of a product or service to influence the public opinion, to gain political support or to elicit some other response desired by the advertiser. The advertising message is delivered to its intended audience through the various media including newspaper, magazines, radio, television and so on (Encyclopaedia Britannica,1977).

Communication experts describe that an advertisement offers planned and controlled messages to the audience about the product. It can reach numerous people simultaneously, quickly and at low cost.

Sherlekar (1981) points out that the general aim of advertisement is to make a mass appeal to the public and it is trying to change the will, opinion or attitude of its audience.

Sureshkumar (1978) while discussing the advertisements mentions that an advertisement is a linguistic text in its essential form structured along the levels of a headline, (including sub-heads), a body copy, standing details and a signature line (including slogans) with an addition of an illustration in the press medium and conflation of two voices in the future medium.

Advertising and Linguistics

An advertisement presents brief information on the advertised product to the audience. It describes the product's special features through the selected and appropriate linguistic structures, which help the reader or viewer to grasp them instantly. The advertised caption or language, which kept in the memory of audience, will come in handy when a situation requires selecting the product in the market while purchasing. Thus an advertisement functions as an agent of informing the features of the product, makes the product in the memory of audiences and, at last, it works on the will of consumer to make a decision on buying the product.

A Note on the Present Study

A number of studies have been conducted on advertisements in Tamil from the linguistic perspective earlier. This article aims to study the advertisements from the linguistic as well as non-linguistic perspectives. It aims to study the internal structure of an advertisement i.e., how the product description is presented, what are the features highlighted as uses of the product, the linguistic features involved in description, target audience i.e., to whom this advertisement is appealed to and method of printing involved in highlighting the features. It is also aimed to study the impact of advertisements and the effect of such advertisements on the readers after studying them.


The following objectives are incorporated in this study:

i) What are the messages conveyed in the advertisement in relation with the advertised products?
ii) Whether the messages conveyed in the advertisement reached the target audience?
iii) What are the linguistic techniques adopted in an advertisement to highlight the product's properties and
iv) The rate of influence of an advertisement on the audience

Method of Data Collection

Printed advertisements are selected for this study. A number of advertisements have been collected from different Tamil weeklies first. After analyzing the product's description and uses of the product as mentioned in advertisements, two products have been selected for this investigation. They are, tooth paste and health drink.

According to the frequency of advertisement found in the weeklies and the popularity of the products found among the readers at the time of research i.e., during the period 1984-85, two brands from each category have been selected for this study. They are, for toothpaste, 'Colgate' and 'Promise' and for health drink, 'Bournvita' and 'Complan'.

The selected brands' advertisements were collected next and the following features had been extracted from them:

i) The description made about the product
ii) Product's uses mentioned in the advertisement

Selection of the Informants

After analyzing to whom these advertisements are meant for i.e. to whom they made an appeal, the informants have been selected accordingly. The products selected for this study mostly make an appeal to mother or sometimes to parents in general. Hence, it is decided to conduct this study among women.

Sample Size

The informants are selected by applying random sampling method from different places of Madurai city such as various departments of University, staff quarters, residences of proper city, from working places such as hospital, bank etc. Age, income, profession are not considered as variables for this study.


A questionnaire is used as a tool to elicit the data from informants. It consists of the following questions:

1. The information delivered about the product as mentioned in the advertisement known to informants i.e. what are the features highlighted about the product in the advertisement

2. Uses of the product known to informants from advertisement

3. Whether they can recall the main theme of the advertisement in the above selected advertisements and

4. The effect of an advertisement on readers i.e. after seeing the advertisement whether the readers decided to purchase the product or not

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Spelling Variations in Kannada | A Survey of the State of the Art in Punjabi Language Processing | The Representation of Homosexuality - A Content Analysis in a Malaysian Newspaper | Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Kannada | Journey of Self-discovery in Anita Nair's Ladies' Coupé | A Study of Communicability and Intelligibility of Advertisements in Tamil With Special Reference to Tooth Paste and Health Drink | Explicit Grammar Instruction | Teaching English as a Second Language Using Communicative Language Teaching - An Evaluation of Practice in India | Discovering Values in English Language Teaching | The Core Functions of the Hindi Modals - Speech Act Approach | Textbook Analysis of English for Engineers | Cross-Professional Collaboration on E-Learning Courses | Reading Arundhati Roy's Fiction The God of Small Things Through Her Non-Fiction | Teaching English through Indian Writing in English in Rural India | Proverbs in Modern Tamil and Telugu Societies | Using Problem Based Learning Technique in Teaching English Grammar | Problems in Reading Comprehension Skills among Secondary School Students in Yemen | The Literary Value of the Book of Isaiah | Will Sentences Have Divergence Upon Translation? : A Corpus-Evidence Based Solution for Example Based Approach | HOME PAGE of October 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

P. Perumalsamy, Ph.D.
Language Division
Office of the Registrar General, India
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Kolkata 700020
West Bengal, India

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