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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 8, 2016

The rhetorics of fictive interaction in advertising: The case for imagined direct speech in argumentation

Line Brandt
From the journal Cognitive Semiotics
An erratum for this article can be found here:
An erratum for this article can be found here:


The paper examines imagined dialogue, aka fictive (verbal) interaction, in the strategically motivated discourse of advertising campaigns, i. e., discourse designed for the specific purpose of promoting a particular agenda or commercial product. The paper furthermore explores the grammatical aspect of the examined direct-speech metonymies. Though excluded so far from the grammars of Germanic languages, embedded utterances may in fact function as heads or modifiers in syntactic phrases and as sentence functions (e. g., direct object, verb). The overall aim of this paper is to demonstrate how embedded utterances function linguistically as well as rhetorically in the discourse of marketing – a particularly high-stakes genre of professional communication – and to stipulate hypotheses concerning strategic motivations for this employment of non-quotational direct speech.


Esther Pascual deserves acknowledgement for her initial discovery of the fictive interaction phenomenon, for turning it into an area of systematic studies, and not least for collecting data in a comprehensive databank, from which many of the examples analyzed here originate. The databank contains more than 10,000 examples in a variety of languages, approximately 100 of which are attested examples of advertisements or TV commercials, primarily in Danish, Dutch, English, and Spanish. A number of examples in this paper reoccur in a co-authored paper (Brandt and Pascual) in (eds.) Pascual & Sandler (The Conversation Frame: Forms and Functions of Fictive Interaction, 2016).


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Published Online: 2016-11-8
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

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