Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 7. July 2021                       Pp.279-298

Full Paper PDF

A Cognitive Linguistic Study of the Persuasive/Attention Strategies Used in Selected
American English E-Advertisements

Saba Kamil Ali
Department of English- College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Iraq 

Rana H. Al-Bahrani
Department of English- College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Iraq
Corresponding Author:


Received:  5/13/202                Accepted: 7/2/2021                Published: 7/26/2021

The present paper aims to examine the use of the persuasive rules in texts and images to determine the role of these visual modes in recalling or adding what they mention. Such a study helps set clearly which visual mode is much more convincing, the image or the text. Scholars generally agreed that the visual mode is more persuasive. However, such a statement is general as it does not state exactly which type of visual mode is more convincing. Accordingly, the research questions highlighted here are: What are the persuasive strategies invested in any of these two visual modes, texts and images? And, what is the role these visual modes play to enhance the sense of persuasion? To achieve the objectives, the researchers will adopt the cognitive linguistic theory of frame semantics by Fillmore (1995). Since the study is qualitative, the study’s data will be limited to four randomly selected American English advertisements posted on Facebook. Findings have revealed that the number of the evoked frame units is unlimited and subjective, reflecting, as a result, a person’s imagination power, his needs, and desires. The study has concluded that the visual, written text is more persuasive than the pictures and photos. The text reflects a bricolage of various persuasive strategies that help pull the attention. Besides, the images provided played a vital role, though secondary to the texts, supporting the textual information and flavor it realistically.
Keywords: American advertisement, cognitive linguistics, Facebook e-advertisement, frame  semantics, persuasive strategies, visual language

Cite as:  Al-Bahrani, R. H., & Ali, S. K.  (2021).  A Cognitive Linguistic Study of the Persuasive /Attention Strategies Used in Selected American English E-Advertisements  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (7)


‏Al-Bahrani, R. H., & Al-Azzawi, S. M. A. (2017). Visual language as a source of creative cognition. AL-Lisan International Journal for Linguistic & Literary Studies1(3), 484-495. Retrieved from

‏Al-Fatlawi, Z. A., & Al-Bahrani, R. H. (2019). Impact of number and type of figures’ identification on accessing caricatures’ meaning. International Journal of English Linguistics9(1), 421-436.

Al-Shekhly, L. R. & Mohsin, M. H. (2013). Persuasion in blurbs as an advertising discourse. Journal of the College of Education for Women,  (2), 170-179. Retrieved from

Beasley, R. & Danesi, M. (2002). Persuasive signs: The semiotics of advertising. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Beasley, R., & Danesi, M. (2010). Persuasive signs: The semiotics of advertising. Vol. 4. New York: Walter de Gruyter

Croft, W., & Cruse, D. A. (2004). Cognitive linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.‏

Cuyckens, H., & Geeraerts, D. (2007). The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Danesi, M. (1994). Messages and meanings: An introduction to semiotics. Toronto: Canadian Scholar Press.

De Kantzow, M., & Stubbs, S. (2000). Targeting media. Melbourne: Black Education.

Dimbleby, R. & Burton, G. (1998). More than words: An introduction to communication. Third Edition. London: Routledge. Retrieved from More _than_ words_an_introduction_to_communication

Eshreteh, M. (2016). The Translatability of brand names in cosmetic advertisements. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), (5), 100-107.‏

Estee Lauder (2020 February 26)  [Facebook post]. Retrieved September 10, 2020 from https://m.

Eynullaeva, E., & Woodward-Smith, E. (2012). The verbal and the visual in advertising language: A cross-cultural analysis. Retrieved from DOI: 10.1163/9789401208567_017

Geeraerts, D. (Ed.). (2006). Cognitive linguistics: Basic readings (Vol. 34). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.‏

Homem, R.C. (Ed.). (2012). Relational designs in literature and the arts: Page and stage, canvas and screen. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Jeannerod, M. (2006). Motor cognition: What actions tell the self (No. 42). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jewitt C. & Oyama, R. (2001). “Visual meaning: A social semiotic approach”. In Theo Van Leeuwen & Carey Jewitt (Eds.), Handbook of visual analysis. (2004, pp.134-157). London: Thousand Oaks. Retrieved from Meaning_a_Social_Semiotic_Approach. DOI: 10.4135/9780857020062

Jordan, L. (2021) Techniques of visual persuasion: Create powerful images that motivate. San Francisco: New Riders.

Kumari, L. (2014). Linguistic analysis of [sic] current advertisement a sociolinguistic study. Haryana: Horizon Books.

Lyons, J. (1977). Semantics. Vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Malamed, C. (2009). Visual language for designers: Principles for creating graphics that people understand. New York: Rockport Publishers.

Merriam, S. B., & Grenier, R. S. (Eds.). (2019). Qualitative research in practice: Examples for discussion and analysis. Jossey-Bass: John Wiley & Sons.‏

Messaris, P. (1997). Visual persuasion: The role of images in advertising. London: Sage.

OleHenriksen (2020a, March 27) [Facebook post]. Retrieved September 10,2020 from

OleHenriksen (2020b, September 4) [Facebook post]. Retrieved September, 15 , 2020  from https: //

Pawlowski, T. (2012). Concept formation in the humanities and the social sciences. Vol. 144. London: Springer Science & Business Media.‏

Scott, L.M. (1994). Image in advertising: The need for a theory of visual rhetoric. Journal of consumer research, 21(2). 252-273. Doi:

Shead, S. (2011). Radical frame semantics and biblical Hebrew: exploring lexical semantics.  Vol. 108. Boston: Brill.

Shields, V. R. (1990). Advertising visual images: Gendered ways of seeing and looking. Journal of Communication Inquiry14(2), 25-39.

Strapparava, C., Guerini, M., & Özbal, G. (2011, October). Persuasive language and virality in social networks. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference(ACCI) on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction ACCI  (pp. 357-366). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.‏

The Vantage Beauty Box (2020, August 10)[Facebook post]. Retrieved September 14, 2020 from

Waad, M., & Al-Bahrani, R. H. (2020). A cognitive linguistic study of non-verbal persuasive strategies in selected Iraqi and Malaysian tourism brochures. Journal of Education College Wasit University2(40), 657-676.

Wang, G., & Gut, D. M. (2011). Bringing schools into the 21st  century. New York: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg. Retrieved from

Weiksner, G. M., Fogg, B. J., & Liu, X. (2008, June). Six patterns for persuasion in online social networks. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on persuasive technology (pp. 151-163). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Wharton, C. (2013). Advertising as culture. Chicago, USA: Intellect Books.

Woodward, G., & Denton, R. (2014). Persuasion and influence in American life (7th ed.). Long Grove: Waveland.


Received: 5/13/202
Accepted: 7/2/2021
Published: 7/26/2021    

Rana H. Al-Bahrani is an assistant professor at the department of English-College of Education for Women- University of Baghdad. She is specialist in linguistic theory-cognitive linguistics and has many publications in this area. She is also interested in many linguistic areas. such as: visual discourse, semiotics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and semantics.
Orcid ID:

Saba Kamil Ali is an MA candidate at the Department of English-College of Education for Women-University of Baghdad. She is interested in linguistics and particularly in cognitive linguistics.  Orcid I