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English Language & Linguistics

English Language



Spelling in Advertising

In the twentieth century spelling (traditional orthography) has undergone few changes. The dictionary, accepted as the guide to intelligent usage, has enshrined a fixed spelling to virtually all our words.

US English has given us some uses such as program which have been adopted together with their US spelling, into British English.

Some words take -ise and others -ize, while in some cases either can be used. Look at advertise, surprise, synchronize and criticize.

Words using ligatures such as "æ" have recently been simplified into encyclopedia and medieval.

Trade and product names, however, are not held back by the dictionary and frequently demonstrate creative spelling and blending of words.

Here are some words recently found in a Yellow Pages directory.

  • What conclusions do you draw from reading these words?
  • What kind of products or market is being targetted?
  • Are these neologisms effective?
  • What linguistic devices do these names use for their effect?

while-u-wait Filofax Glazztek (car windows)
Kwik Fit Persil Color Easiclean
Fast-Fit Bettacars Dur-a-clean
hozelock luxicabs Duracell
kleeneezee Fenfones (East Anglia) techniflo
fish 'n' chips U-Drive Ecowater
spud-u-like Mobiloo Morvend (vending materials)
Tack 'n' Togs Rentaloo MaxPax (vending materials)
Rentokil Aussie Drycoat Signrite
Drizabone Klix (drinks) Walkrite
Toys r Us Eye Spy Security Services Xpress
Turf Is Us Excell (cellnet telephones) Bar BQ
Oz-Icle (Australian-made container for cooling drinks) Budjet (cut price air flights) BBQ
Grin 'n' wear It (tattoos) Klearvu Geoff's Plaice (fish and chip shop)