Brugen af engelsk i danske reklamer: En undersøgelse af hvorfor danske virksomheder anvender engelsk i deres kommunikation. Det empiriske materiale er en kvantitativ indholdsanalyse og fem kvalitative interviews

Farha Ahmed

Student thesis: Master thesis


A study of why Danish companies choose English in their communication. The empirical data for this thesis is 18 print advertisements and interviews with five selected Danish advertising agencies. In the past decade, we have seen a continuous increase in the use of English in the world. Denmark has also undergone a language change as a result of several external factors, including globalization. For many years, English has been used at Danish educational institutes, at workplaces, and even implemented as part of a marketing strategy for companies and advertising agencies. Focusing on print advertisements, the research question of this thesis is: As English gains footing in Danish advertising, this thesis examines why Danish companies use English in their communication. The research question will be answered by way of the following sub-questions: 1. In Danish print advertisements which structural moves contain English? 2. Why do Danish companies choose to implement English loanwords in their advertisements? 3. Are English loanwords used specifically towards certain targets groups? 4. The empirical data consists of qualitative interviews with five selected advertising agencies in Copenhagen, and a quantitative research of 18 print advertisements in two Danish magazines, “Eurowoman” and “Vi Unge”. The theoretical frame of this thesis is code-switching which is used in Danish advertising in which advertisers alternate between two languages; in most cases between Danish and English. Furthermore, the thesis includes Carol Myers-Scotton’s theory (the Markedness Model) on marked and unmarked language(s) in bilingual communication. Apart from this, Kyoko Takashi’s identification (of English loanwords into five classifications: Lexical-gap fillers, technical terms, euphemism, special-effectgivers, and trade names) has also been included as part of this thesis. Moreover, the thesis includes theories on move structures of a print advertisement proposed by Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie and Vijay K. Bhatia. The analysis shows that English loanwords are mostly used in product names (12 out of 15 advertisements have an English product name), the body (11 out of 14) and the slogan (5 out of 7) of an advertisement, and coupons/offering incentives (3 out of 3). Furthermore the analysis show that English in the headline depends on the target group. The use of English in product names and slogans is due to the fact that international brands choose not to fully adapt their advertisements to the culture and language of the new markets. Furthermore a slogan is part of a company’s corporate identity. The international brands usually translate the body of the advertisement to local language since the purpose of this move is to provide a description of the product. Despite this, the advertisements, which have been part of the quantitative research, show that English is used in the body of the advertisements, among others things, to quote the product name. Furthermore, English is used in the aforementioned structural moves because English creates more attention. The qualitative interviews show that companies code-switch between Danish and English due to one or more of the following reasons: 1. Globalization 2. Symbolic value/linguist fetish 3. The English language is easier to work with 4. Lexical- gap fillers 5. Technical terms Lastly, the analysis shows that English loanwords are used more frequently when it comes to certain target groups in Denmark. Comparing the younger and older generation, the analysis shows that English is used more frequently in relation to the younger target group because it has been exposed to English and American language and culture at an early age. Thus it does not have difficulties in understanding English. The older generation sees language as part of its identity and fears losing it, should it be exposed to English. Moreover, this generation has not been as much exposed to the English language as the younger generation, and thus it is not well-acquainted with English. All in all, this thesis concludes that, due to globalization, companies choose to include English loanwords in their advertisements. Furthermore, using English makes a company appear more modern, international, and on the beat. In addition, the English language can help companies execute more creative and exceptional advertisements. And finally, a lot of technical terms are in English, and since there are not any Danish equivalents, English is retained.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages195