The Role Evaluative Vocabulary in Media Texts Devoted to Economy of the Danube Region

Olena Chetverikova1

Abstract: Modern media resources occupy a prominent place in the professional activities and everyday life of man. Mass communication, along with the development of high-tech production, has become widespread. Therefore, the linguistic study of the on-line media, embracing all the spheres of life of the world community, including its economic development, is becoming one of the most promising areas of humanitarian knowledge. Any product involves assessing its quality through specific vocabulary. Evaluative phenomena play an important role in the communicative process. The linguistic implementation of evaluation presupposes the use of various lexical units with evaluative meaning in the semantic word structure. We also pay attention to the use of elements that enhance the influence of evaluative words.

Keywords: media text; economy; Danube region; evaluative vocabulary; assessment

Mass communication has become widespread along with the rise of high-tech production methods. The development of technology, constant and continuous management activity, production scheduling determine the existence, modulation and promotion of media texts related to economy of the Danube region. The name of the Danube Region comes from the river Danube, which connects Central and Southeastern Europe. The Danube Region is a quite big area. Consequently, it is important to improve the cooperation processes so that the Danube Region countries will grow and develop on the base of the increasing economic competitiveness, especially under the conditions of the pandemic of coronavirus and its influence on the European economic development.

The crucial point is grounded in the increasing inner economic growth of separate countries as well as interregional cooperation and network building. This means that both individuals and groups in the Danube Region countries may define projects, which are then implemented together with partners from the other countries or regions. The general intention behind this approach is to increase the knowledge transfer. Such projects are supported by media means, both printed and web-based, the aim of which is to highlight the perspectives, evaluate them, making them comprehensible and desirable.

Today media environment, along with cultural, social, and natural spheres, occupies important place in professional activities. People in different countries have their peculiar preferences, possess definite evaluative models, roughly divide the cognitive information they receive as positive and negative with different nuances within this scale. At present, increasing the intensity of intercultural and inter-professional communication leads to the creation of favorable conditions for the exchange of experience in the professional sphere.

The aim of our investigation was to observe and study the evaluative vocabulary in different advertising economic discourse, texts and slogans, observed on-line in English and related to the Danube Region countries.

Economic discourse can be understood as a type of institutional discourse, since economy is an integral part of people’s daily life. Economic discourse represents a system of texts that arise under the influence of various factors (extralinguistic, pragmatic, sociocultural, etc.) and are united by related to the named sphere of interest economic topics and economic realities. The genre diversity of economic texts depends on the purpose, participants and sphere of communication. The information can be presented in the form of interviews, reportages, economic news, lectures, discussions, conferences, conversations, advertisements (Vezhbitskaya, 1996, p. 222).

The language of economic texts is rich in linguistic means and grammatical forms, it uses economic terms, combinations of vocabulary of different genres. This is due to the need to influence the addressee, convey information and induce appropriate action. The reading habits of casual, sporadic, chaotic reading carry over to the area of advertising. Consequently, such factors as general human interest, amusement, individual author’s approach are brought to the first line. Despite the fact that in most texts of mass media of an economic orientation, the main function is informative, in some texts other functions may prevail, for example, pragmatically oriented (evaluative and suggestive functions).

The formation of public opinion, the creation of a certain ideological background, the promotion of a particular system of values, the movement of language norms, the state of national culture - all this is closely related to the activities of the mass media. The mass media do not just reflect the surrounding reality, objectively recording the events taking place around them. They directly or indirectly, in an open or hidden form, affect all socio-political processes in society (Dobrosklonskaya, 2015, p. 19-20). In the case of the prevalence of evaluative and suggestive functions, evaluative, associative, figurative semantic complexes (economic lexemes-symbols, verbalized economic linguo-cultural concepts, as well as evaluative and expressive vocabulary, contextually realizing economic semantics) will come to the fore.

The emergence of medialinguistics as a cross-sectoral humanitarian discipline makes it possible to study the language of mas-media in its textual array. The circle of interests embraces such issues, as the role of media in the development of language processes; functional and stylistic status of media messages; analysis of linguistic and stylistic features of the main types and genres of media texts; various aspects of media discourse in the context of intercultural communication.

Media linguistics is connected with the concept of the media text as its basic category. The notions of media text were included in the field if interests of many scholars, who provide research in numerous philological sciences. According to their works, media texts are seen as multifunctional units, a complex of verbal and nonverbal sign systems. The studies focus on various media text characteristics. The methods reflecting formation of various text types, including functional and pragmatic, with both cultural and specific features are being described; informative and structural qualities are noted. Another topical issue touches upon two categories of ideal and real addressee. To emphasize the important role of corporate efforts, the editors deliberately do not specify the authors of the published materials. Multimedia nature of a text enriches its content, conveys a variety of forms. Media text interactivity transforms its communicative function, making it multilayer, modular, and manipulative.

Economic media texts may significantly affect the economic situation in the region, the functioning of the market, economic processes and, accordingly, the picture of the world as a whole. Everything that happens in the economy is reflected in the language. Economic media texts combine the elements of scientific and journalistic (publicistic) styles. The following factors determine lexical and semantic peculiarities of the online articles on economic topics: 1) a wide range of addressees (the age factor, education level, professional peculiarities), 2) thematic features (the level of topicality), and 3) functional specificity (Bondareva, Zelenskaya, Zheltukhina, 2019).

It is an effective transmitter of traditional and new socio-cultural life values, including language changes and innovations. Their cultural specificity is reflected in a certain hierarchy of thematic structures and assessments, which are socially conditioned and influenced by cultural peculiarities.
Professional activity is one of the main social roles of a person, it is subject to a whole set of requirements, explicit in special regulations and prohibitions. When the behavior of an individual performing a social role corresponds to the expected pattern, it is considered successful. If a person has a set of properties that characterize a professional in a particular field, then his activity is evaluated positively by society (Babushkina, 2013).

The most common media texts that directly or indirectly presuppose assessment are advertising texts. Today, advertising media space exists in print and electronic formats. The number of publications is very large and seeks to reach a huge audience of listeners, viewers and readers. Changes in society lead to the informative actualization of communication processes, which makes it possible to form new and reform the old types of informational impact of the text on the recipient.

Taking into consideration the huge impact of the advertising text on the mental state of an individual it is necessary to point out the general values of Ukrainian culture, such as openness, sincerity, tolerance towards other nationalities, due to geographical location in Eastern Europe, future orientation, strict morality, hope for “Miracle”, national self-identity. In the cultural space of Ukraine, cultural activities are carried out and cultural, informational and other needs of society are met. They include, in particular, television, radio broadcasting, printed publications and publishing products, cultural and artistic environment.

Advertising is a communicative and social phenomenon and its main purpose is to sale goods, so a large number of advertising texts contain non-verbal components, which is perceived as an integral part of a full-fledged advertising message. We understand advertising as a certain activity that produces special text products, and uses not only language signs, extralinguistic means to achieve the goal.

The language of advertising as a special functional type of text is characterized by a careful selection of means to achieve the goal as soon as possible - to convince someone of something or to motivate someone to take action. Evaluative statements correspond to this feature as best as possible - not having an open categorical imperative, they are, nevertheless, actively addressed to the addressee.

Understanding the patterns and features of the functioning of advertising as a cultural phenomenon is a necessary and relevant component of modern spiritual life of man and society. Intercultural communication is the interaction of patterns of behavior aimed at exchanging meanings based on human cultural and linguistic codes. These codes are closely interweaved with the notion of assessment.

The communicative strategy of an advertising text is intended to persuade the mass audience to buy the product or to accept the offer, so an advertising text occupies an initial position on the scale of “message-impact”. The ability of an advertising text to make impact on the addressee also depends on the public perception of values and current lifestyle. Rational advertising aims to inform the buyer about the quality of the product, so it appeals to his mind, contains arguments, drawings, diagrams, photographs. By its nature, it is straightforward, and is designed for instant external effect. Emotional advertising uses linguistic and non-linguistic symbols, touches deep emotional motives, appeals to feelings, consequently, it is expressive and emotionally colored (Issers, 2008, pp. 27-33).

Any advertised product involves evaluating its quality through specific vocabulary. Words with an evaluative component of meaning perform a very important pragmatic function in speech. In the process of generating a specific speech act, the addressee, using a word with an evaluative component of meaning, directs to the addressee the latent imperative “treat well” or “treat badly” to the reality named by a word or word-combination. Evaluative phenomena play an important role in the communicative process. In a broad sense, the assessment conveys the attitude of the speaker to the reported, evaluates the reality, which makes it possible to consider it as part of the category of modality (Prikhodko, 2001, p. 31). The assessment is superimposed on the descriptive content of the advertised, which provides not only logical (intellectual, rational) qualification of the reported, but also different types of emotional (irrational) reaction, so this unit of language communication is a kind of purposeful manipulative activity.

As you know, the ability to create interesting and inspiring stories has always been valued in all countries. In the advertising message in this case there is a broadcast of media stories in which the main character can be the founder of the company or brand, employees of the enterprise, consumers of the advertised product or service. With the growth of mass production, consumers seek to obtain not just a unique product, but what was created by a specific person, with a specific history and content.

In Ya. V. Yanenko’s work “Modern advertising communications as a factor of socialization” we find the opinion that “Successful application of storytelling technologies arouses the interest of the target audience by demonstrating the conflict of the hero with the antagonist (obstacles, competitors, life circumstances, etc.), by adding interesting facts that are remembered and attract the attention of the audience (if consumers are interested in the hero of storytelling, they will seek to know how the story will end and read the material to the end). Thus, the presentation of advertising and PR-content through an interesting story allows to make the material minimally similar to the advertising text, thus attracting the attention of the target audience “(Yanenko, 2018, pp. 115-116).

Any language, reflecting the world from different angles, not only represents the reality, but also characterizes this reality from the point of view of the speaker. In linguistics the language category displaying the speaker’s attitude to the object of reality, and depending on how his needs, goals and desires are satisfied. is known as the concept of “evaluation”. The evaluative aspect reflected in the language as the interaction of the objective reality and man shows that the objective world (objects, properties, actions, including man with his thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships) is generally divided as good or evil, including its benefits or harms. In the process of cognition and comprehension of the surrounding world, the man not only contemplates what is happening around him, but interacts with the objects of the surrounding world, involves them in various operations, resulting in different reactions, emotions and evaluations.

Over the past decades, we may come across many works in which evaluative words with emotional, expressive, evaluative and stylistic coloring become the object of research. These works deals with political, critical, advertising, economic, educational and other discourses. All of them contain evaluative elements that indicate personal preferences. traditional values, commercial goals. Evaluative elements are interpreted in many modern linguistic studies as a reflection of the logical category of mental processes that establish the value of various objects (Chernyavskaya, 2001, p. 58).

Researchers as a rule, speak of two general types of evaluation - absolute and comparative. By the first type, they mean the operators on the scale “good/bad”, by the second - “better/worse”. N. D. Arutyunova draws the following conclusion about the nature of evaluation: “Estimated value is determined by the actual properties of an object to the extent that it is motivated by them. The motive for evaluation is always objective” (Arutyunova, 1999, p. 180).

It is important to note that the subjective and objective factors of evaluation are not opposed, but are in close interconnection with each other. According to E. M. Wolf, the typology of valuative values includes: 1) evaluation as modality, 2) evaluation of a sentence and valuation of a thing or attribute of a thing, 3) absolute and comparative evaluation, 4) “indifferent” position for evaluation, 5) asymmetry of signs of “good” and “bad”. Among the semantic features of the evaluative vocabulary she sees: 1) subjective and objective factors, 2) estimated and descriptive components of the value, 3) the expressive function and the substitutive function of the evaluative words, 4) the problem of truthfulness of the evaluative words, 5) properties of the evaluative predicate (emotiveness, emotional/rational loading of the evaluation, expressiveness, effectiveness, intensification) (Wolf, 2002, pp. 11-45).

Any evaluative judgment assumes the subject of judgment, i.e. the person who evaluates, and the object of judgment, i.e. the object or phenomenon to which the assessment applies. An evaluative element, even if it is not directly expressed, implies special relationship between the subject and object of evaluation. Any evaluation operates simultaneously with two types of knowledge – the knowledge about the external object and the needs of the subject. Aesthetic evaluation as an advertising medium combines cultural specificity with the commercial benefits. Beauty is not only natural, but can also be adjusted using a “cosmetic” procedure. Advertising creates a type of advertising beauty. Beauty is compatible with usefulness, it brings confidence and happiness, e.g. outwardly beautiful women are good in every way and thus they presuppose to have general positive evaluation. Any aesthetic assessment is nationally determined. It happens that the same objects in different national cultures receive different aesthetic evaluation.

The linguistic implementation of evaluation in the advertising text is performed by the following lexical units with evaluative meaning in the semantic structure of the word: nouns (competence, advantage, relevance, accuracy, warranty), adjectives (inaccurate, uneven, uncertain, successful, echo-friendly), adverbs (highly, exactly, probably, absolutely), verbs (like, love, respect, improve). All of them can be combined into different phrases: adjective (most hopeful, world favorite), substantive (better job, total success, irresistible joy, high degree of success), phraseological (go into the matter thoroughly, gain a desired result, be multimedia-cable, loads of opportunities, pregnant with possibilities). This also includes some stable phrases with evaluative semantics (the number one, work of art), syntactic comparative constructions (like a good neighbor, better choice - younger look), expressions containing emotional vocabulary, when denoting objects and some actions (thrilling experience, absolute pleasure, complete satisfaction).

We observed various slogan ads that contain evaluative words. According to L. Burkovskaja, slogans usually represent short advertising mottos that precede the advertising appeal, and are one of the main means of attracting the attention of the audience. Semantic richness in combination with a short form allows you to compare the slogan and title of the advertising text with the so-called literature of small forms - proverbs, sayings, aphorisms (Burkovskaja, 2014, p. 102).

The main value opposition good/bad is directly related to the fundamental oppositions of an advertising text: modern, new/old; wide, huge/small; unique, exclusive/standard. In the opinion of V/V/ Zirka, such groups of descriptive evaluative units may be distinguished: 1) natural/artificial (true/false), 2) nonstandard, original/standard, typical, 3) new/old, long-term/short-term, slow/quick, 4) big in quantity/small in quantity (quantitative evaluation), 5) legalized, state/pirate, commercial, 6) separate group – important (having special meaning), deep, European (related to European way of life and culture, professional (Zirka, 2004, pp. 151-165).

In the group of advertising slogans, we distinguished the following varieties:

1) The slogan of the company or enterprise in a concise form expresses the strategic “philosophy”, emphasizes the qualities and differences of the product it produces, for example: “Sally Hansen. Name № 1 in nail care”, “Buy and sell vehicles now! Safe, easy and at no charge! DENK”.

2) A brand slogan that simultaneously acts as a logo and has a permanent graphic form. It allegedly becomes the title of the whole enterprise “Black Friday is better with IKEA”

3) Trade slogan directly related to a particular product or service/This variety is the title of the ad text “Conquer the ice. Get the new tires for better grip - Ford Service”, “Smart Factory. Virual summer 2020. Bringing continuity in crisis.”.

4) A slogan that contains the result/consequences of a successful, activity or service: “Creating healthy smiles for the whole family. ABC dental “- A healthy smile for the whole family. ABS Dental Clinic. “Keep your family safe and cool this summer” - advertising of ABC HVAC air conditioners” or unsuccessful activity or service “Will Tesla and Google Kill the German Car? - DER SPIEGEL” – the verb “Kill” represents negative evaluative component.

5) A slogan that represents the alleged self-esteem of the buyer or the seller. Such slogans are aimed at the emotional sphere of women. Call us and receive incomparable opportunities right now!”. Judge for yourself. Winnerbest blended Scotch. Double gold medal. San Francisco World Spirits competition, “Why should I be unhappy? Every parcel of my being is in full bloom”. “Make a special child THE STAR of their own storybook. Imagine the SURPRISE when they open a book and Instead of reading about someone else they read about THEMSELVES”.

Evaluation is mostly performed by adjectives. In evaluative judgments, adjectives are given a prominent place as a category in the semantics of which there is a descriptive, evaluative and evaluative-descriptive component.

We observed: 1) adjectives that indicate general compliance (or non-compliance) with basic cultural and ethical standards, e.g. Dont Be Vague. Ask For Haig. - Haig Scotch Whisky”;

2) adjectives that represent evaluation of the advertised productHot. New. Designer perfumes for HER;

3) adjectives that point out the contrast of what used to be and what it might be: France Telecom puts its capacity for innovation into action with one goal in mind: making the world a smaller place for our customers”l

4) comparative constructions noted along with emotional and evaluative vocabulary, or independently “Cigarettes are like women. The best ones are thin and rich”.

Some adjectives become evaluative only in specific communicative situations (advertising texts), where they receive evaluative connotations. Their role in the text becomes undoubtedly evaluative, though being withdrawn from it such words will lose it. In this case it is possible to speak about not lingual, but contextual evaluation. the acquisition of emotive semantics by a word in a context is not a unique linguistic phenomenon. This can be explained by the interaction of the semantics of words included in a certain context and their influence on each other: the same word in different contexts varies its semantics. Thus, the context forms the evaluative semantics of system-neutral words (Zirka, 2004, p. 159).

Advertising may encourage the addressee-woman to feel positive emotions as well. Linguistically, this is expressed as words and phrases that directly: “You are special. You are brave. You are confident”, or indirectly indicate positive female characteristics that the authors believe should affect emotions. Some feminist advertising encourages women to be independent and increases their role in the society: Learn to train your husband in 5 easy lessons.The chief does everything but cook. That’s what are husbands for! So the harder the husband works - the cuter he looks!”

In advertising slogans, we observed the use of elements that enhance the influence of evaluative words, such as: “Big Fun. All included”; “Experience the rich beauty, diversity and warmth at its pristine beaches, spiritual temple towns, amazing wildlife sanctuaries and exceptional monuments. Truly incredible India!

Peculiarities of realization of axiological modality presuppose the use of various categorical linguistic means, i.e. various linguistic units of evaluative semantics. Direct explicators of evaluative meaning can be considered as those that are explicitly and implicitly expressed. Thus, by explicit means are meant language units, the evaluative seme of which is in the denotative-significant component of the lexical meaning of the word. Such tools include adjectives and adverbs of evaluative semantics, for example: “Impossible is nothing (Adidas)”; “Connecting you with your favorite restaurants! Order your favorites!”; “Call us and receive incomparable opportunities right now!

At indirect axiological modality the use of the language units allowing to avoid a direct estimation nomination is noted. These include culturelogically-marked units that represent the linguistic expression of the reality preserved in the memory of society because of the acquisition of spiritual values of world culture, in other words, these are certain precedent phenomena that become means of manipulating the consciousness of the addressee (Zirka, 2004, p. 229). The notions are well known to all members of the national and linguistic and cultural society of the word. For example “Da Vinci Chronograph. Ref.3764: The first watch that unites the spirit of da Vinci and Julius Caesar. Because since its launch, this masterpiece - inspired by none other than da Vinci - has gone from one triumph to another”. Appeal to famous names increases the prestige of the watch, connects it with the success that has been achieved in historical development. The purchase of the advertised product becomes positive for a person rationally and emotionally.

The analysis of evaluative vocabulary revealed that it is usually superimposed on the descriptive content of the advertising text, encourages the rational component of the reported, and various types of emotional impact. The observation of the use of evaluative vocabulary revealed the predominance of positive examples, which appeal to happy life or time, fashion brands, social welfare. However, negative evaluative vocabulary has also been noted. An example here is UNICEF’s environmental advertising, which seeks clean drinking water. An illustration of water in the shape of a bomb or tree is on the left, while the caption on the right states: “1.5 million children die every year from drinking polluted water/1.5 million children die each year from drinking contaminated water.” Its role is to oppose the good, as if intimidating to be left without something very necessary or convenient.

For the further investigation, it might be interesting to study the cases of over- and underestimation of the phenomena, which attract peoples’ attention purposefully and study the interrelation between the emotions of fear and the use of emotionally coloured and rational evaluative means.


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1 Associate Professor, PhD, Izmail State University of Humanities, Ukraine, Address: Repina St, 12, Izmail, Odessa Region, Ukraine, 68601, Tel.: +38 (04841)51388, Corresponding author: