CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Research Topic
This paper is to probe into the interpersonal meaning (hereinafter referred to as “IM”) in view of Systemic Functional Linguistics (hereinafter referred to as “SFL”) of pharmaceutical advertisements, with the intention of grasping how the drug advertisers (producers) establish and maintain relations with the readers, influence the readers’ feelings, attitude, thought, opinions and behavior via the advertisements, for the purpose of arousing their resonance and persuading them to initiate the purchase. The study is a contrastive one. By comparing the pharmaceutical advertisements in China and the USA, some common linguistic features concerning pharmaceutical advertising in the realization of IM as well as distinctive features thereof in a cross-cultural background will be hopefully demonstrated.
1.2 Definition of Pharmaceutical Advertisements
The root of the word “advertise” is “advertere”, a Latin word meaning to warn, or to call attention to. Advertising is “the non-personal communication of information, usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods and services) or ideas by identified sponsors through various media” (Bovee & Arens, 1992:6). Advertising can be categorized into the commercial type and the noncommercial one. As for the commercial advertising, it “promotes goods, services, or ideas for a business with the expectation of making a profit” (1992:15).
Pharmaceutical advertisements fall into the commercial category. They are the non-personal communication of information about drugs, which is persuasive in nature, paid for by relevant drug production and management enterprises with the expectation of making a profit, and publicized through various media. The terms pharmaceutical advertisements and drug advertisements referred to herein cover the advertisements for prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and health supplements, and are used interchangeably.
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Previous Studies on Interpersonal Meaning
2.1.1 Definitions of Interpersonal Meaning
Bakhtin (1929) is a pioneering figure who first pays attention to the interpersonal respect of language in novels, though he does not propose the notion of “interpersonal meaning”. Bakhtin’s approach to communication features the entanglement of participants and their words. “Meaning does not reside in the word or in the soul of the speaker or in the soul of the listener. Meaning is the effect of interaction between speaker and listener produced via the material of a particular sound complex” (Bakhtin, 1988, cited in Cook, 1992: 181-182). He compares the production of meaning to that of an electric spark, which occurs only when two different terminals are hooked together. Therefore, meaning comes into being on the basis of the interaction between participants through language. In his opinion, the study of a text should involve words and participants simultaneously, other than regarding language as impersonal.
Halliday (1985; 1994; 2004) is a leading figure in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL for