Cindi Amanda D.K.W


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People tend to have a television at home for entertaining and watch the ads(advertisements) which often to show up. In television ads/commercials there are many taglines that attract the audience’s attention until the tagline can be memorized in their head and sometimes expressed it through a conversation between friends or colleagues. Not only ads in Indonesian language but in Indonesian television ads can be found some ads and the taglines that use the English language due to various products in Indonesia. The users of these people mostly teenagers or certain communities who use more taglines in their language from television ads for various purposes such as to be more familiar, entertaining, reminiscent, warning, informing, satirical or praised and looked attractive if they heard by their interlocutors. Without noticing it people use speech act theory which is divided into 3 forms and they are: locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary. Through the methodology of descriptive qualitative, we may able to identify and analyze in what situation the speaker use the tagline, the reason they choose the tagline, and what society perception toward this tagline. Those facts show that people also try to apply English words to daily a conversation by using the taglines.

Keyword: Speech Act, Television Advertisement, Tagline, Teenagers

1          Introduction

1.1       Background of the Study

    A speech act is an act that a speaker performs when making an utterance. It can be formed by watching television advertisement from the tagline. According to Arbitron, advertising is a form of promotion that uses the Internet and World Wide Web for the expressed purpose of delivering marketing messages to attract customers. The tagline is a variant of a branding slogan, taglines can be used in marketing materials and advertising. The idea behind the concept is to create a memorable dramatic phrase that will sum up the tone and premise of an audio/visual product, or to reinforce and strengthen the audience’s memory of a literary product. The taglines from television advertisement often used by people because television has been their entertaining activity. People develop their utterance in daily conversation by learning through what people use in television along with the globalization in the modern era.

An utterance has a performative function in language and communication. According to Kent Bach, “almost any speech act is really the performance of several acts at once, distinguished by different aspects of the speaker’s intention: there is the act of saying something, what one does in saying it, such as requesting or promising, and how one is trying to affect one’s audience”. This certain phenomenon may happen in order to make people be able to explain or express an utterance. The total speech act in the total speech situation is the only actual phenomenon which, in the last resort, we are engaged in elucidating (Austin, 1962:147).

    In Indonesia television, the advertisement or commercial are using Bahasa Indonesia, English, mixed between Bahasa and English, and even Bahasa that usually used by teenagers nowadays to attract people’s attention on buying the product. But it can be in order to persuade, remind, and inform the customers about the brand or product. This is the actual purpose of advertisement in television. However, people sometimes use the tagline in advertisement toward their interlocutor so they can get closer, trying to impress, reminding, warning, offending, praising, joking, and informing the interlocutor. Here are several examples of the television advertisement in Indonesia:



–          No pain no gain ( Counterpain )

–          Orang pintar, minum tolak angin / Smart people, drink tolak angin (Tolak Angin )

–          Life is never flat ( Chitato )

–          Aku Dan Cow suka Dancow / Me and Cow like Dancow ( Dancow )

–          Always listening always understanding ( Prudential )

–          Kuberi satu permintaan / Let me grant you one wish ( Djarum super )

–          Talk less do more ( Clas Mild )

–          Galau? Di better-in aja…. / Gloomy? Just eat better… ( Biscuit Better )

–          My life, My adventure ( Djarum super )

–          Oreo, diputar, dijilat, dicelupin… / Oreo, turn it around, lick it, put it inside… (Oreo )

–          Trust me it works ( L-Men )

–          Tinggal tetes terakhir… susu saya susu bendera / One last drop…. my milk is frisian flag ( Frisian Flag milk)

–          Won’t Let You Down (Rexona)

–          Ada Aqua? / Is there any aqua? (AQUA )

–          Be Can Feel Comfort  (Hers Protex)

–          Loe rese kalo lagi laper / You are annoying when you’re hungry (Snickers )


For example in a conversation:

A: “Tadi aku habis dari ruang dosen nih, Bapak nya ga bisa hadir dikelas katanya, kita off.” (I just went from office room, our lecturer couldn’t attend the class, he said we’re off today.)

B: “Berarti free beneran dong kita?” (It means we are really free from the class now?)

A: “Eh ada kelas” (Eh we got a class)

B: “Katanya bapak dosen nya ga bisa hadir sama off?” (You said he couldn’t atten and we are off?)

A: “Oh iya lupaaaa. Ada aqua? Capek nih habis dari ruang dosen” (Oh yes I’m forgot. Is there any aqua? I’m so tired after came from office room)

B: *Gives A a bottle of water with other brand beside Aqua*

            These examples of taglines applied by people who already watched the television advertisement. They use the tagline and apply it in their language especially daily conversation. Unwittingly the tagline of the television ad affect their language and form a speech act based on television ad tagline itself. However, the tagline does not affect the entire language conversation because it only occurs in certain circumstances. In certain circumstances, I often find it among teenagers, especially my own friends. The meaning in the tagline also varies in different circumstances as well.

The study of sociolinguistics, especially in the field of those informal taglines are very interesting, it is because the tendency for a speaker to use informal taglines to create a situation sound friendly, closer and interesting. In daily life communication among the teenagers in society prefer to use informal rather than formal one.

According to examples of tagline above, the study is intended to reveal the speech act of taglines among teenagers in English Literature class A, who consume the same television advertisement and reflects it through speech act they tend to be bilingualism, by using their own idiom to communicate with their community or surrounding the society. Even though this language is dynamic and it can be changed, it should be well documented and it should be well studied.





1.2     Research Problems

1.    Under what circumstances do the audiences use the tagline from television advertisement in their communication?

2.    Why do they choose that tagline?

3.    What do the audience’s perception of what the massage of the tagline?

1.3    Purpose of the study

In agreement with the problems of the study, the objective is formulated as follows :

1.    To identify the speech act of the tagline employed by teenagers in English Literature class A.

2.    To reveal the reasons why they use those taglines.

3.    To analyze the society’s response to this phenomenon.

1.4    Research Gap

The study refers to linguistics variation, which exists in a college society. It is focused on aspect namely :

1.    Vocabularies items on some taglines characterize teenagers in English Literature class A.

2.    The reasons for the taglines usage in a speech act.

3.    The society response to this phenomenon.

The framework of the paper organization including introduction, theoretical framework, methodology, discussion, and the last section is the conclusion.





2.2     Language

    Language is means of establishing and maintaining the relationship with other people. It is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions, and desires, by the means of the system of voluntarily produces symbols (spair in Alwasilah,1990:7). Through language, one person can talk with another person to express their desire, their feeling, and their ideas (Chaer and Leony, 1995:22). We use language to ask for give people information. It can be used to express indignation and annoyance, as well as admiration and respect. Often one utterance will simultaneously convert both information and express feeling (Holmes,2001:2).

2.3     Speech Act

    Searle (1969:16) states that the speech act is the basic unit of communication is carried out jointly with the principle of disclosure which shows a series of analytic relationships between ideas by speech. Then, Yule (2010: 133) explains that the speech act as an act done by a speaker through words, as requested, to rule, asking or informing. Based on “speech act” theory by J. L. Austin’s development of performative utterances and his theory of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts. Speech acts are usually taken to include such acts as promising, ordering, greeting, warning, inviting and congratulating. That is, speech acts are simply things people do through language – for example, apologizing, instructing, menacing, explaining something, etc.

    According to John Austin, Speech acts can be analyzed on three levels:

•    A locutionary act, the performance of an utterance: producing a meaningful linguistic expression, uttering a sentence;

In performing a locutionary act we shall also be performing such an act as asking or answering a question, giving some information or an assurance or a warning, announcing a verdict or an intention, pronouncing sentence, making an appointment or an appeal or a criticism, making an identification or giving a description.

•    an illocutionary act: In speech-act theory, an illocutionary act is a way in which sentence is used to express an attitude with a certain function or “force” (called illocutionary force).

We can know it through Daniel R. Boisvert observation that we can use sentences to “warn, congratulate, complain, predict, command, apologize, inquire, explain, describe, request, bet, marry, and adjourn, to list just a few specific kinds of illocutionary act” (“Expressivism, Nondeclarative, and Success-Conditional Semantics” in Having It Both Ways, 2014).

•    and in certain situation or event there is perlocutionary act: it is actual effect, such as persuading, convincing, scaring, enlightening, inspiring, or otherwise getting someone to do or realize something, whether intended or not.

Following the usage of, for example, John R. Searle, “speech act” is often meant to refer just to the same thing as the term illocutionary act, which John L. Austin had originally introduced in How to Do Things with Words (published posthumously in 1962).

2.4     Tagline

    A tagline is part of the ad that aims to make the ad easy to remember by consumers. The tagline in an ad plays an important role. According to Nuradi, Kridalaksana, Noeradi, Utorodewo, Indrati (1996) tagline is a brief sentence as a cover of the core text that summarizes briefly the purpose of communication of an advertisement. The tagline is a short phrase containing the message is dense and easy to remember. A tagline can be looked alike to a slogan, or jargon in an advertisement. The use of tagline is used to strengthen the ability of advertising in executing (reaching its target) that is influencing a consumer to use advertised product.


3     Method

3.1     Research Method

 Research methodology is an essential part in conducting a research. The methodology of this research is descriptive qualitative.(Descriptive means that research basically only from fact or phenomenon which is empirically live from native speakers, so it had been written or produce like language tools which is commonly say like reality and Qualitative research often is not restricted to the production of knowledge or insights for scientific purposes. Often, the intention is to change the issue under study or to produce knowledge that is practically relevant – which means relevant for producing or promoting solutions to practical problems).

    The descriptive research was not only purposed for examine some of hypothesis, but also describe the reality about theories that applied unconsiously, sometimes the condition of the research also demanding about proving a hypothesis but it is uncommon. Commonly this descriptive research was not for testing hypothesis. This method is applied to analyze the speech act theory use by teenagers in English Literature class A. It is corresponding to the objective of the study which is describing the phenomenon that found during the process of the study.

3.2     Data and  Data Sources

According to Neuman ( 1991:369), informants are member with whom a field research develops a relationship and who tells about, or informs on, the field. Good informants, he adds, must meet some criteria such as : Live and engages within the group routines, currently, involved, able to spend time with researcher, and come a from non-analytic members.

Meleong (2002:90) comment it in hi book and says that, Informant is a native speaker who acts as a model for someone and giving information about situation and condition for research, so he must have a lot of experience about the background of research.   

The informants are those who are in this conditions :

1. Students

a. Aged around 19-21 years old

b. Physically and mentally healthy

c. Trustworthy and responsible

2. Society around students of English Literature class A’15

a. Aged around 19-21 years old

b. Physically and mentally healthy

c. Trustworthy and responsible

d. Ever having dialog with the students or just hear they are talking.

The informants in this study are 6 people, they are students of English Literature class A whose in the 5th semester including the society around them. They already been interviewed and reacted toward their friends who use the tagline in a communication. Many people in Indonesia have watched Television ads in various types including humorous ads, offensive, praising, warning, informative, joking, persuading, and impressing the audiences. Hence, if the audiences attracted to its tagline from the advertisement it can be used by people in purpose to express something, deliver or entertain their interlocutors.

3.3     Data Collection

    As it said before, the data are collected through interview and observation. During the process of interview, it will be conducted under a recorded situation while the informants answer the questions and being asked in additional, a field note will be created. This is where the beginning of interviews are taking notes with information such as date, place characteristics, and moment of the interview, which give contribution when re-reading and making senses of the notes. The instrument of interview is an interview guide and using an informal interview, informal interview used because some some will not answer the question if they know that they have been interviewed. Here, the observer pays, attention, watches, and listens carefully to their language and their conversation. In an observation, the researcher becomes an instrument that absorbs all sources of information ( Neuman, 1991:355).

This is major instruments of observation; the observer pays attention and watch carefully about the student’s communication especially:

1.          Tagline choice

2.    Situation

3.    Topic

3.4    Data Analysis

Meleong  ( 2002:190 ) in his book comments that, Data analysis process starts with evaluating all of the data from any source, which is an interview, not field, personal document formal document, picture, etc.

The study of speech act is analyzed through the following steps:

1.      Inventory

First step observer makes notes all the data obtained from the recorded words, interview and observation.

2.      Evaluate the data systematically

Second step observer evaluates the data based on the social context of the use taglines.

3.      Analyse the data

And the third step observer analyses the use of taglines to reveal the reason why they use that tagline. The word shows solidarity and strength at certain circumstances.


4          DISCUSSION

4.1       The Speech Act employed by the students of English Literature class A

            Based on my interview with students of English Literature, they use the tagline as speech act at certain circumstances in the class or around college area. Applying the speech act theory in the three forms according to Austin, it will be classified as bellow.

1.      Locutionary Act






Between two people but one of them is in sick condition

Orang pintar, minum tolak angin

Smart people, drink tolak angin

As a reminder that that person who is sick should drink Tolak Angin

Tolak Angin

When one person suggesting an idea or any tools to another person

Trust me it works

Trust me it

To convince the idea


When the audience shared a story or a problem the interlocutor or speaker use this tagline

Always listening always understanding

Always listening always understanding

To express feeling of symphaty



2.      Illocutionary Act






When the communities gathering but one of them act annoyingly toward them to express hungriness.

Loe rese kalo lagi laper

You are annoying when you’re hungry

As an expression of complain (See Daniel R. Boisvert theory in 2.3)


When the person is daydreaming, confused in unknown reason, after doing some activities.



To ask for a bottle of mineral water


When the person meeting the speaker after a long time, or when the person eating too much and the speaker force an utterance

Makanya tumbuh tuh keatas jangan kesamping

Grow taller don’t grow fatter

To advising the person to diet (can be offensive way)


3.      Perlocutionary Act






After being asked by the speaker based on the tagline the audience do an act which is giving the speaker a bottle of mineral water

Ada Aqua?

Is there any Aqua?

To give what being asked for


When the community in a place where they are exploring/vacation and the hearer react to it by getting cheer up or full of excitement.

My life, My adventure

My life, My adventure

To englighten the mood of the hearer

Djarum super

After buying the product, usually the speaker use the tagline and the hearer practice it on the oreo whether alone or together

Oreo, diputar, dijilat, dicelupin…

Oreo, turn it around, lick it, put it inside…

To  perform or imitate what the television advertisement did for entertainment



4.2    The Reason why they use the tagline

    According to my interview and observation in English Literature class A, the students use this tagline only with their friends in the same age and some of older ones. The reason why using this tagline is mainly to entertain and remind the other person or interlocutor of a situation, condition, and something else whether it’s important or unimportant. In order to alleviate an intense situation between people and minds, they use this tagline in a communication to break a silence or break the ice when there’s a situation where two people in argue. This tagline is useful for them to entertain and change the atmosphere into a good one.

    When they interacting with their friends who are still acquaintances, they use the tagline in the middle of communication to get closer and be friends afterward. Because they shared the same or common information from the television advertisement it would make them feel close and have the mutual thoughts.

4.3    Society Response to this Phenomenon

    The observation of some people who known, experienced and heard this in communication, admit that they feel being entertained, amused, and aware of the certain tagline and the way of speaker delivering the speech act. At certain people also feel offended and praised with the tagline that speaker use in communication. The feeling of being entertained happen because the speaker uses the tagline at the right moment when a topic is relevant or match. Hence, the feeling of awareness has occurred because the tagline may sound reminding such as Awali dengan Sikat Gigi Tuntaskan dengan Listerine ( Starts with brushing your teeth finishing it with Listerine) from ad Listerine so, the hearer or audience check their mouth smell and making sure if they already brushing their teeth. Also, the feeling of being offended can happen because the ad from HiLo above sounds like a satire for certain people who is sensitive and easily get angry. Therefore, the feeling of being praised can happen because the speaker refers to him/her or someone else as a good example or figure for another person who hears the tagline such as Prudential ad Always listening always understanding this tagline used by the speaker when a friend shared her sad story toward the speaker.

5    Conclusion

After we have expanded on several theories of speech act, we can apply the theory based on data analysis from the students that already been interviewed. Based on the data analysis in this study, these people use the tagline in communication with various types of purpose but mainly to entertain and remind the audience and the interlocutor. It has been classified into direct, indirect, locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary in using a tagline through speech act. A speech act is one of the important ways to communicate with others. That’s why the students improve their performance in communication by using the tagline. However, we need to be wise enough and know where and when to use this kind of speech act, in this case, tagline depends on the situation and condition. Because, even though tagline can be entertaining, amusing, and even educating people, it also can also offend some people. There are times where using tagline is not necessary for communicating. In having a conversation with our fellow friends or colleagues, it will be okay to use this tagline in order to make a great atmosphere and break the ice.

Making a believable or trusted, simple, unique, persuasive and memorable tagline is needed. The most important is not to use attractive and empty words, but to make sure consumers really get what the tagline promises in the future. It will be even better to have an educating tagline and choose with high moral which is friendly for children. Overall this research expected to be useful for building a communication to avoid or at least misunderstanding, to construct a good communication in every type of communication, to build a good clause or sentence in an advertisement by using speech act properly so that the hearer can understand easily the intention of the tagline.










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