Linguistic Creativity in Modern Russian Advertisement

Irena P. Ustinova, Syracuse University

The problem of language contacts in general, and of the global English influence on modern Russian in particular, is one of the areas for exploration with cognitive concepts. The language of advertising and TV commercials, as a relatively new type of discourse in Russian mass media, is particularly a subject of the English surge.

The influence of English is observed on the level of grammar, when simple structures are used because they are relatively easier to process in brain than complex structures (Bhatia, 2000). The usage of such structures as imperative clauses, juxtaposition of sentences, elliptical comparatives, modal constructions, and constructions with value–judgment adjectives are often used for the purposes of persuasion and deception in both Russian and English advertising discourses. Figurative language and literary devices are universal phenomena in the discourse of advertising, as from the cognitive perspective the usage of puns, rhymes, allusions, etc. results in facilitation of product names and slogans chunking, and a better chance of retrieval them from memory (Bhatia, 2000). Russian ads, where English words are used as a part of structures employing figurative language and literary devices such as personification, allusions, rhyme, jingles, puns, wordplay, borrowed songs, etc. have a double creativity, and can be attributed to the norm violation strategy. The mixing of English and Russian in advertising discourse goes beyond attention getting considerations, being a source of cross–cultural creativity.