The stylistic value of the elliptical constructions in mass media | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции


Рубрика: 5. Общее и прикладное языкознание

Опубликовано в

V международная научная конференция «Актуальные вопросы филологических наук» (Казань, октябрь 2017)

Дата публикации: 08.07.2017

Статья просмотрена: 45 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Косачева Т. А. The stylistic value of the elliptical constructions in mass media [Текст] // Актуальные вопросы филологических наук: материалы V Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Казань, октябрь 2017 г.). — Казань: Бук, 2017. — С. 18-21. — URL (дата обращения: 21.06.2018).

The present paper deals mostly with mass media means of economy that means: their material can greatly deviate from grammatical tradition; the utterances can be pressed to one word that would anyway express all the possible meanings. In particular this study throws the spotlight on stylistic features of spoken and written language mostly in favour of laconism and compactness. The subject of the paper is the stylistics of the spoken English represented in mass media.

Key words: style features, mass media, elliptical constructions, laconic brevity, advertisement

В статье рассматриваются основные стилистические особенности употребления эллиптических конструкций в прессе, отличающиеся лаконизмом и компактностью разговорного и письменного языка. Такие конструкции сильно отличаются от традиционных, высказывания могут быть сжаты для одного слова, не искажая основного смысла.

Ключевые слова: Стилистические особенности, пресса, эллиптические конструкции, краткость, реклама

The speaker’s economy by itself is not sufficient to explain the presence of ellipsis in mass media language, as ellipsis can have many other functions than merely meeting the writer s wish to reduce his or her efforts. Ellipsis can remove ambiguity, convey non expressible aspects of meaning, establish dis course coherence and contribute to a positive rapport with the hearer. Here we will discuss several cases where ellipsis does not increase but rather decreases ambiguity in these cases.

Ellipsis appears to signal a restricted meaning expressed by the corresponding full form. As a consequence, the full forms take over the remaining meanings.

Elided forms thus appear to be unmarked forms giving rise to the unmarked meanings, in accordance with Horn’s division of pragmatic labour [3].

The goal of the present paper is to study the stylistic functions of elliptical constructions in press with social advertising as a resource for research examples.

  1. define ellipsis as a linguistic phenomenon and its role in the natural language;
  2. list the types of elliptical constructions and their peculiarities
  3. reveal the main features of social advertising in the light of the stylistic device of ellipsis a d denote the specific functions obtained by elliptical constructions I social advertising.

Advertising is an inevitable outcome of a capitalistic society. The natural order of language is modified, shaped and stylized by the copywriter according to the aim of the advertisement. For this purpose, the style employed, the vocabulary used and even the semantic consideration of the language of advertisements show marked variation from the general spoken or written form of the language.

Social advertising communication as a specific kind of advertising with the distinct sphere of functioning and distinct communicative goals can be of particular interest. The term «social advertising» is used by native specialists in the advertising realm to indicate such commonly notions as «non -profit making advertising» or» public service advertising». Non-profit advertising stands for advertising subsidized by non — profit institutions or in their interests and aimed at donation stimulation. Thus, public service advertising delivers messages that advocate some positive phenomenon. their objective is to change people's attitude to a problem and in the long-term outlook -to create new social values [4].The peculiarities of social advertising is the scrutiny of linguistic means and its realization. The evaluative category is traditionally reckoned to be a semantic universality. Such approach allows to consider a wide range of stylistic devices, with ellipsis among them.

Public advertising is a powerful society provocator, with a stable authority, which with these years have increased to the extent, allowing big commercial corporations to perform public advertising campaigns by themselves. Also non-profit advertising can be subdivided into following groups:

  1. lifestyle advertisement such as anti — AIDS, anti-drugs, anti-smoking, anti- drinking, healthy food, children education and some others;
  2. other adds such as the ones, calling for paying the taxes etc;
  3. address advertisement;
  4. event advertising;
  5. charity advertisement, such as collecting money for constructing a church.

The notion of speaker's economy as a driving force behind ellipsis can already be found ln Zipf’s work. Zipf identified a systematic interaction between two opposing forces, the first o e being the force of unification or speaker's economy.

If this force were to apply unboundnedly, however, the result would be a vocabulary of just one word (presumely uh!) which refers to all the distinct meanings of the language. Because this never happens, there must be another force at work which has the opposite effect of promoting a distinct meaning for every word. This force is called the force of diversification of hearer's economy.

Even if ellipsis is the non-expression of sentence elements, these do not necessary have to be elements that are normally expressible. Sometimes ellipsis is the only way to express the certain meaning, because the full form violates syntactic or semantic constrains.

A well-known function of ellipsis in general is to establish discourse coherence.

By omitting the noun phrase, a speaker signals to the hearer that the referent is already familiar and should be found ln the preceding discourse context e. g.

John walked and talked.

Ellipsis is also generally recognized as a positive politeness strategy [1, 2].

Ву omitting part of the message, one establishes a relationship with the addressee. The elided utterance expresses the same meanings as its full counterpart, but in addition it is specified with respect to the attitude towards the reader. In this case, the elided utterances express a subset of the meanings of their full counterparts.

Ellipsis is the non-expression of sentence elements whose meanings can be retrieved by the hearer or reader. E.g. Pete loves his wife and John does too.

Besides oral speech and fiction, which aim at economy and expressiveness respectively, elliptical constructions are common to some special types of text. For the sake of business -like brevity, elliptical sentences are very frequent in advertising [5].

In generative linguistics the term ellipsis has been applied to a range of phenomena in which a perceived interpretation is fuller than that which would be expected based solely on the presence of linguistic forms. Central examples drawn from English include:

Noun phrase ellipsis (a phrase, whose head is a noun or a pronoun), optionally accompanied by a set of modifiers: sluicing (a construction in which the sentential part of the interrogation clause is elided, this typically occurs only in constituent questions, not the polar ones).

E.g. Mary wants to drink something, but she does not know what.

Verb phrase ellipsis (an elliptical construction in which a verb phrase has been left out or elided, it is an extremely well- studed kind of ellipsis, although it appears mainly in English). E.g. He tried to find the missing check but couldn't.

The present times mass media plays a prominent role in daily obtaining various information. The language of mass media and, namely, social advertising ls rather peculiar, which results certainly in the usage of special methods and expressions. Various styles of language, including mass media, apply some linguistic means to strengthen the utterance effect due to adding the emotional contents to the logical one. The realization of this function presents the surrounding world perception as an image with certain form. The typical constructions employed in social advertising are not simply factual. One of such wide spread constructions is ellipsis, which is often used to convey some I formation brighter and more understandable. Ellipsis is perceived as a sentence, with all those forms omitted, which are easy to reproduce automatically. The majority of linguists perceive ellipsis to be a rhetorical figure, appeared by some part of the sentence being omitted. Ellipsis makes the speech compressed and gives it vividness. In mass media elliptical constructions preserve the same functions as in other styles, such as ellipsis of a sentence member in a simple and all types of composite sentences, compound syntactical unit, complicated syntactical and dialogic constructions. Moreover elliptical constructions acquire some novel functions, such as:

  1. laconic brevity,
  2. logical character,
  3. compositional,
  4. genre indication.

Mass media applies the constructions with phraseological and contextual — phraseological ellipsis, possessing the following specific functions: to present the agility of action, to emphasize rigidity, to denote the topic of a story, to introduce the minor genre (jokes, anecdotes etc.), to create a curious headline.

Mass media and, namely, social advertising, aims at influencing on its perceiver, thus, its main function is the expressional one. Соmbined with the brevity of articles, the urgent topics of discussion and the tendency to report some new facts leads to success. As the first thing to catch one's eye, the headlines present extensive stuff for studying and analyzing the phenomenon of compression. Articles reconstructed in a way that facilitates picking up the most interesting information with the headline revealing the plot itself. The elliptical constructions, often used in the British mass media are the following: the omission of an auxiliary verb, the omission of a subject in the first part of a composite sentence, the omission of a subject in the second part of a composite sentence, the economy function, preventing ill-motivated tautology from occurring, the omission of a conjunction.

Thus, we conclude, that the most applied elliptical constructions in mass media are the following: contextual, situational and phraseological.

There are some examples of elliptical sentences.

  1. Volunteers needed.
  2. Time to help others.
  3. No seatbelt. No excuse.
  4. If you are in control, who is?
  5. Save us from injustice. Close Guantanamo.

Some more elliptical sentences, speaking on ecological problems.

  1. Don't buy exotic animals.
  2. Save trees. Use recycled paper.
  3. Take a stand on racism.

In these examples the attention was focused on the stylistic specifics of the advertising mottoes and slogans. Having looked through these elliptical sentences, the following conclusions can be made.

  1. Elliptical constructions are most frequently used in slogans for environmental protection, health and human rights.
  2. The most frequent stylistic functions of the elliptical constructions were to imply the imperative construction and to avoid message redundancy.

So, ellipsis in language seem to have two main functions: first, it allows efficient reading if the reader has enough background knowledge to allow ready inference of what has been omitted, and second, by requiring readers to make inference, it makes the writing more engaging, more intellectually or aesthetically stimulating.

Elliptical uses of language can be suggestive, denying, full disclosure, inviting the reader to participate in the making of the making of meaning. Both these functions of ellipsis can have the effect of creating a bond of respect and shared assumptions between the author and the reader.

They become collaborations in the discourse. Consequently, the elliptical text is exclusive in the sense that is not designed for all readers, just for those who can bridge the gaps within the text. And from its gaps one can infer the intended readers — those the author assumes can supply missing information or missing warrants or assumptions that support an argument. In this way, too, elliptical texts may shape their audience, implying that they hold, or should hold, certain beliefs or knowledge.


  1. Brown, P. and S. Levinson: 1987, Politeness. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  2. Cook, G. 1966 [1922]. The Discourse of Advertising. London: Routledge
  3. Horn, L.R.: 1933, Economy and Redundancy in a Dualistic Model of Natural Language in: S. Shore & M. Vilkuna, eds., SKY 1993 Yearbook of the Linguistic Association of Finland
  4. Goddard, A. 1998. The Language of Advertising. Written texts. London: Routledge
  5. Ross, J.R. 1969. Guess who? In Robert Binnick, Alice Davison, Georgia Green, and Jerry Morgan (eds.), Papers from the 5th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago Linguistic Society: Chicago III.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): AIDS, III, SKY.

Ключевые слова

mass media, style features, elliptical constructions, laconic brevity, advertisement


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