Theoretical background 4. Although the metadiscourse framework has so far been predominantly used for the study of academic texts, most recently it has also been applied to the study of business communication cf. The framework is equally well applicable to packaging texts, which can be seen as one text genre among others in business writing through which a Company presents themselves and their product. Metadiscourse builds on effective linguistic means as we will see in the examples, s.
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For the purposes of this paper the earlier Version is applied. They mark the author's epistemic assumptions. Devices include second-person pronouns, first-person pronouns, imperatives, questions, and asides that interrupt the ongoing discourse. We assume that it is expressions of interpersonal metadiscourse that bring about the persuasive tone of Innocent Smoothies' packaging texts.
That these kinds of expressions are more widely used in the English packaging texts might also be attributed to cultural specifics, which will be presented in the next section. The analyses yielded a series of individual results, which together provided converging evidence pointing to a set of more general hypotheses about the nature of German - English cultural 16 For a detailed summary of the various studies see e. The pattern of cross-cultural differences that has emerged from these German-English contrastive-pragmatic analyses can be displayed along the following dimensions: English German Orientation to persons Orientation to content Orientation to others Orientation to seif Indirectness Directness Implicitness Explicitness Verbal routines Ad-hoc formulations Table 2: Dimensions of communicative preferenoes in English and German According to these studies, English Speakers were found to give preference to an interpersonal Orientation, to indirectness and implicitness whereas German Speakers were seen to prefer a more ideational Orientation, to tend more towards directness and explicitness.
In the following section we will explore the cross-cultural differences between the German and the English text samples in the light of these communicative preferences. Comparison of German and English packaging text elements This section will compare characteristic features of the packaging texts.
For this purpose, we have selected the following salient textual components of packaging: Use by Date and Correct Use 5. We will proceed by first discussing the German and then the English packaging.
By trying to capture some aspects of what makes Innocent Smoothies' texts special, we will explore in 5. We just ohat with people on the labels. It's the hardest thing in the world to analyse it. It's like analysing what I said to my dad on the phone last night. All it is, is the way Innocent speaks. We've always written that way. Translations are glossed. Mindestens haltbar bis: siehe Deckel.
For use-by date: see cap. Infinitives are used in German for instructions that are not directed at a specific addressee, typically, for example, in recipes The information here is kept to the necessary minimum and the consumer is not directly addressed. Not so, however, on the English packaging text: Look after your smoothie. Once opened oonsume within 2 days. For use-by date see cap. Gently pasteurised, like milk. Shake it up, baby. A double entendre is a figure of speech, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways.
This can be as simple as a phrase which has two mutually exclusive meanings, and is thus a clever play on words.
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The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as: "A double meaning; a word or phrase having a double sense, especially as used to convey an indelicate meaning. Consider first the German example, which provides information on the producer in a Condensed matter-of-fact way, merely naming the postal address and the website.
By presenting the producer information in such a way, no specific details are provided as to whom consumers should contact at the Company in case of specific communicative needs, such as making complaints, placing Orders, asking for recipes, requesting more information. And join the family at www. Innocent Smoothie 'Look after your smoothie' Not only do we find more detail with respect to the means of communication consumers can choose from e. In colloquial terms and jokingly, consumers are requested to either "pop round", or email "hello" or call "the banana phone". Even more so, consumers are ex- plicitly invited to "join the family".
This textual element is an example of how a simple, standardised and one might say, boring text element is functionalised for branding by encouraging an easy going and long lasting customer relationship. Here again, there are clear differences between the German and British texts. As shown below, the German text contains highly Condensed factual Information, verbalised almost exclusively in noun phrases and percentages. Sorte Mango Pfirsich. Ohne Zuckerzusatz. Schwartau Fruit2day [Made from fruit fruit puree, fruit pieces and fruit juice.
Flavour: Mango peach.
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No sugar added. Ingredients: Fruit juice from fruit juice concentrates. Carrot juice concentrate. Natural flavours.
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Nutritional value per ml. There is, however, again an engaging, personal tone about this passage that can be ascribed to several stylistic strategies, metadiscoursive expressions among others. Innocent Smoothie The Information goes beyond the merely factual, by using positive adjectives in an almost formulaic way "pure and fresh" when describing the types of fruit which are selected to make up "lovely portions".
In addition to this persuasive technique, the use of negatives such as "never ever" and "and nothing eise" as formulaic emphasizing expressions cf. Emphatics; Hyland , s. This textual element thereby assumes the character of a promise s. This image is enhanced by the fact that the amounts of products used evoke the image of a family kitchen where every fruit is handled individually and with care, measured and weighed in smali amounts just right for a ml bottle.
One might be tempted to discard this as a clever marketing trick.
But, as with the "fruit tower" and the people behind the "banana phone", these images seem to evoke a picture that is closer to reality than one might suspect: Simmons , 67 cites the story of a "cynical journalist" from the Financial Times who actually tested Innocent Drinks to see what "would happen if he did just drop in on them for a chat?
He would be bound to find evidence to expose them as phoney". As it turned out, he had a nice conversation, when he actually phoned, and when he called in at Fruit Towers "he was invited inside straightaway, offered a smoothie and then given a guided tour" ibid. The following textual components 5. Conventionaiiy this type of Statement is standardised and provides mere facts. We're still working on the rest. Innocent Smoothie Here, however, we find the personal pronoun "we" cf. The temporal Orientations "now" and "still" indi- cate that the present action that has been begun in the past is continued at present and that the Steps undertaken to improve the packaging will be continued in the future, as indicated by the progressive: "We're still working on the rest".
Thereby, this textual element which would commoniy merely provide facts about the packaging is turned into a promise to the customer. In the following section 5. An innocent promise We promise that anything innocent will always taste good and do you good. We promise that well never use concentrates, preservatives, stabilisers, or any weird stuff in our drinks.
And we promise to brush our teeth twice a day. In our case, the author is making a particular type of promise to the reader, namely an "Innocent Promise". When making promises as in 5.
The author thereby commits him- self to fulfil the reader's expectations in the future action. The iliocutionary act 'promise' Austin therefore binds the author to the actions that he has communicated to the reader and obliges him to do what he has promised. Promises are therefore functional for building the company's credibility and for construing the Company image. In this case, the Company image is that of being "innocent", an image that is also communicated, for example, in the designs on the Innocent Smoothie bottles, which show smiling faces with halos.
Conceptualised as parts of one family, dient and producer are united, produc- ing and consuming for a better, healthier world respectively. We see here an example, how a packaging text can contribute to the "perceived value" of a product that Brody points out as one criterion that makes packaging paramount for branding s.
The discussion of the final textual element explores how the Company construes the relationship between its image, its values and its long-term relationship to customers.