The Words behind Images: A Critical Social Semiotic Approach toward Analyzing Advertising

Maryam Najafian, Saeed Ketabi


This study was an attempt to investigate the application of Fairclough's (2003) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) approach and Social Semiotic Approach (SSA) proposed by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) in analyzing ads discourse i.e. an approach that combines textual analysis with semiotic analysis in studying advertising. This combined approach was checked in two sample ads extracted from 'Time' magazine (2000, 2001). As results, two points emerged based on this study. The first was that advertising is a crucial factor in the dissemination of ideological values in any social discourses. The second point was that this discourse is not in any sense neutral. This is mediated, meaning that whatever aspects of social life are represented in the advertising pass through the particular linguistic (cohesion, disjunctive syntax, modality) as well as social semiotic resources (words, images and colors).

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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