LINGUIST List 25.2345

Wed May 28 2014

Diss: Akan, English, Krio, Discipline of Ling, Discourse Analysis, General Ling, Pragmatics, Semantics, Socioling: Hmensa: 'Mirroring Ghanaian Society...'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <>

Date: 26-May-2014
From: Patience hMensa <>
Subject: Mirroring Ghanaian Society Through Slice-of-Life Radio Advertisements
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Institution: The Open University
Program: Doctor of Philosophy
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Patience Afrakoma Hmensa

Dissertation Title: Mirroring Ghanaian Society Through Slice-of-Life Radio Advertisements

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis
                            General Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Akan (aka)
                            English (eng)
                            Krio (kri)

Dissertation Director:
Philip Seargeant
Joan Swann

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis explores radio advertising in Ghana, focusing on the characteristics of a genre that is often
termed ‘slice-of-life’ and that is popular with advertising producers. Slice-of-life adverts seek to represent
a version of real life: specifically, the social reality of the target audience for the advert. I discuss how this
represents a challenge to producers given a number of constraints, particularly the very brief duration of
the mini-dramas that form the core of slice-of-life adverts and that last for just 10-60 seconds. I adopt the
notion of ‘designed indexicality’ as a major analytical concept, arguing that this is a key strategy in
designing a persuasive text. Producers, according to this view, deliberately harness culturally-salient
indexical resources in the design of adverts, conveying meanings pertaining to the everyday lives of the
advertised product’s target audience, and that are readily and quickly interpretable by the audience. In
analysing slice-of-life radio advertising I draw on an adapted, expanded form of a ‘multi-perspectived’
discourse analysis. This combines an analysis of advertising texts with an analysis of advertising
producers’ accounts of their practice, observations of the production process and discussion with focus
groups who represent the target audience for the adverts, meeting in a context that reflects habitual
listening practices. The study therefore goes beyond the ‘textualist’ approaches that, until recently, have
dominated applied linguistic research on advertising. I argue that the study addresses certain gaps in the
literature, particularly with respect to the research context (an African country), the research focus (slice-
of-life radio advertising) and the expanded multi-perspectived discourse analytical approach. I discuss a
number of implications of the study for research on advertising discourse within applied linguistics and
related fields, and also argue that the study points to the need for greater dialogue between applied
linguists as analysts and advertising practitioners.

Page Updated: 28-May-2014