An Assessment Of Readers’ Perception Of The Language Of Newspaper Advertisement: A Readership Study Of Vanguard Newspaper

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

An Assessment Of Readers’ Perception Of The Language Of Newspaper Advertisement: A Readership Study Of Vanguard Newspaper

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Advertising is an effective communicative discourse. It has the sole aim of persuading the readers to gain their trust of the reality of the promoted product (Al-Siyami, 2013). In last decades, the market glut of advertising caused the increased intention and interest in linguistic aspect of advertising. Advertising unifies language, pictures, music; it contains information, invokes emotions and imaginations, it can capture all five senses and, besides it, it has social and practical aim (Lapsanka, 2006).

Advertising has become a science. People began to describe, analyze the linguistic means and evaluate the language trying to find out the principles, create new kinds of relationship between elements of language and improve the techniques, with the aim to be unique and maximize the effect at full blast (Lapsanka, 2006).

Language is a powerful tool for a human being to communicate with others effectively. Therefore, the use of right and effective language both in speech and in writing brings success (Kannan and Tyagi, 2013). Newspaper language is a combination of different stylistic features, a mixture of several kinds of materials (Juhani, 2008). Newspaper language is relatively formal and impersonal. Colloquial words and expression are not found except in quotations (Juhani, 2008).

Newspaper forms an effective form of media in a developing country (Bansal and Gupta, 2014). Newspapers provide up-to-date information on local, state/provincial, national, and world issues. They are among the most widely-read periodicals that are available and accessible to the vast majority of people of all ages and walks of life in any community. (Bruneau, n.d) submits that people expect advertising in the newspaper. He submits further that many people buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department stores. Igbeka& Ola(2010) argued alongside that every category of reader can find some important, current, and interesting information in newspapers.

Newspaper creates reading habits and easily differentiates people who read and who do not. Reading is the art of learning something. Newspaper is the store house of knowledge and provides knowledge of different tests and kinds of different segments of the society. Reading builds vocabulary skills and background knowledge that strengthens reading skills and increases the enjoyment of reading (Strommen& Mates, 2004; Majumder and Hasan, 2013). Today’s newspapers use design elements that make information easily accessible to the reader. For example, important stories have large bold headlines, while graphics appear next to related stories (Igbeka& Ola, 2010).
Newspapers also reflect the changes in the language as well, and in doing so, help students and teachers keep up pace with such changes. Most newspapers are linguistically up-to-date and provide valuable linguistic data` (Tafani, 2004; Vavla, 2009). Newspapers provide a wide range of various text types and language styles, which are not always found in textbooks (Vavla, 2009).

There is no doubt that newspapers are a major force in forming public opinions on matters affecting national and international efforts towards economic progress and global understanding (Olusoji, 2012). Bordering on this terrain, this study assessed the language of newspaper advertisement, with Vanguard newspaper being the focus of the study.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Every advertising medium has characteristics that give it natural advantages and limitations (Bruneau, n.d).

Newspaper is one of the popular channel of providing information, education and entertaining the audience. Newspaper also have a comparative advantage over other media like Radio and T.V due to its feature of permanence, Unlike advertising on TV and radio, advertising in the newspaper can be examined at one’s leisure. Again, Igbeka& Ola (2010). Newspapers use design elements that make information easily accessible to the reader (Igbeka& Ola, 2010).

However, advertising has been criticized as debasing language, as it often does not follow the rules of grammar. Not much work has been done in determining reader’s perception of the language of newspaper adverts. Therefore, this study sought to assess readers’ perception of the language of Vanguard Newspapers.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. What is the level of readership of Vanguard among Kwara State University undergraduates?
  2. To what extent the language of advertising influences readers’ attraction towards vanguard newspaper?
  3. What is the direction of the language of Advertisement in Vanguard Newspaper?

1.4 Research Objectives

  1. To ascertain the level of readership of Vanguard newspaper among Kwara State University undergraduates.
  2. To know if the language of advertising influences reader’s attraction towards Vanguard newspaper.
  3. To establish the direction of the language of advertisement in Vanguard newspaper.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study is significant as it would establish the perception of readers’ regarding the language of advertisement of Newspaper, which would give a pointer on how advertisers could possibly improve the tone and the direction of the language used.

Furthermore, this work would serve as a point of reference for other future researchers’ who would want to build on this study.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of the study was limited to Vanguard newspaper readers in Kwara state university.

1.7 Definition of Key Terms


Perception is the recognition and interpretation of sensory information (Williams, 2017). In this study, perception refers to the internal assessment of readers towards the language of advertising which could be positive or negative.


Newspaper language is a combination of different stylistic features, a mixture of several kinds of materials (van Dijk, 1988; Juhani, 2008).

Newspaper Advertisement:

These are advertisements of product, services and organization done inside the newspaper, which varies in size, placement and depth.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of the study

Chapter one of this study bordered on the background to the study, which introduced some of the concepts like language, language of advertising in newspaper and readers perception which was later discussed in the chapter two. This chapter contained the research questions, objectives, significance of the study, scope of the study and definition of terms.

Chapter two dealt with the comprehensive review of relevant literatures and concepts which are; readers perception, advertising, language of advertising among others. The theoretical framework for this study which is the perception theory was also discussed in this chapter.

Chapter three focused on the methodology aspect of the study. This involves the research design and method, study population, sample technique, sample size, data collection instrument, data analysis and the validation of the data collection instrument.

Chapter four covered the data analysis, presentation and interpretation and analysis of the gathered data. 358 copies of questionnaires were retrieved from the 368 questionnaires issued. The data was quantitatively analysed. It involved the analysis of demographic data of respondents and various other distributions. The chapter also covered the discussion of findings from the analysed data.

Chapter five encompasses the summary of the study, the summary of the findings made in the research, the limitations of the study, the conclusion, the recommendation and the recommendation for further studies.
Summary of Findings

The major findings of this study were summarized:

  1. Vanguard newspaper is frequently read by KWASU undergraduates
  2. The language of advertisement of Vanguard newspaper is attractive, and it influences readers’ attraction towards Vanguard newspaper.
  3. The language of advertisement of Vanguard newspaper is positive.
  4. Readers react negatively to sensual adverts.
  5. Readers take a mental picture of an advertised product as a way of reacting to advertisements.

5.2 Conclusion

The language of advertisement in a national daily like Vanguard newspaper is in conformity with the contemporary language of advertising in magazines and other media.

Some adverts are perceived by readers as bullish, sensual and misrepresentative while other readers could perceive it as creative and entertaining and in conformity with the standing norms of the society.

It was found that Kwara State University undergraduates generically perceive sensual adverts as negative.

5.3 Recommendations

The study recommended that;

  1. Having identified that Vanguard newspaper has a high readership, the number of copies available for readership in the library should be increased so as to maintain the reading frequency, and also increase the number of readers.
  2. Being that the language of advertisement of Vanguard newspaper is positive, it should not be changed so as to maintain the attraction of its readers towards it.
  3. Also, as it is known that readers are aversive to sensual advertisement, sensual advertisements in Vanguard newspaper should be limited so as not offend the morals of some of it readers, as sensual adverts is the most abhorred type of advert.
  4. Furthermore, creative and colourful adverts should be highly entertained and encouraged, as it would aid the readers in remembering the adverts that they read in Vanguard newspaper.

5.4 Limitation

The researcher encountered some limitations in the conduct of this research. Most significant encountered were;

The limitation in fiscal resource posed a challenge, as the researcher was not able to include undergraduates in tertiary institution in close proximity with KWASU.

The scope of the study was limited, as other national dallies like; Punch, Tribune, The Nation among others were not included. Furthermore, postgraduate students were not also included in the study.

Along the course of the study, some of the students were not corporative, as they refuse to supply accurate information, and some deliberately ticked more than one option.

5.5 Suggestions for further studies

Further studies should be conducted on;

  1. Assessing the influence of the language of advertising on consumer purchase decision of residents in Ilorin metropolis.
  2. Evaluating the language of advertisement of Magazine on reader’s perception in Nigerian tertiary institutions (A readership study of Tell magazine).

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