Rhetoric and Lexicalisation as Aspects of Persuasive Strategy in the Language of Insurance Advertising in the Nigerian Print Media

Albert Lekan Oyeleye, Iyabo Adebusola Adeyinka


This paper examines the discourse function of rhetoric and lexicalisation in insurance advertising discourse in the Nigerian print media. It investigates how they are used as part of the advertisers’ strategies of persuasion. Published insurance advertisements were collected from three purposively selected Nigerian national newspapers The Guardian, The Punch and Daily Champion, complemented with billboard advertisements from all the southwestern states of Nigeria. These were analysed using insights from Gumperz (1982)’s theory of interactional sociolinguistics and M.A.K. Halliday’s systemic functional grammar. The analysis reveals that the lexical choice of the advertisers contained a dominant use of skill-indicative lexical items which portrayed the insurance companies as experts in their field. There was also a strategic use of morality indicative lexical items, to persuade potential clients about the trustworthiness of the company. Risk-indicative and, action-provoking lexical items, pictorial rhetoric and rhetorical devices like metaphor, hyperbole and personification were employed as persuasive strategies.



Lexicalisation, strategies of persuasion, insurance, advertising, rhetorical devices

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.3n.5p.276


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