Exploring English in TV product advertising for Dutch-speaking children

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In the context of global English, children are an interesting target group both from a marketing and a linguistic perspective, yet the use of English in advertising for children has so far received little research attention. Investigating English in a corpus of 3566 free morphemes (smallest independent linguistic elements) in 98 TV product advertisements aimed at Dutch-speaking children in Flanders, Belgium, this study addresses the methodological question of what counts as ‘English’ before inquiring into (1) the overall amount of English, (2) which parts of the adverts are susceptible to English, and (3) the types of English used. Results show 80% of the adverts contain English, but English accounts for only 13% of the total free morphemes in the adverts. 70% of adverts contain English in the product or company name, which suggests that even in advertising language, the use of English is limited to specific functions in the Dutch-speaking Belgian context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-678
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Englishes
Issue number4
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • English in advertising
  • contact linguistics
  • remote language contact
  • children's advertising
  • contact-induced variation and change


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