Working at cross-purposes: Multiple producers and textimage relations

  • Marissa K
  • O'Halloran K
  • Judd K
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This paper examines how linguistic and image elements in a text may work at cross-purposes, so that, despite an apparent overall visual-verbal coherence, one semiotic resource undermines the message of another. This effect has implications for the study of intersemiosis and the making of meaning that occurs when semiotic resources, such as language, image, and sound combine in multimodal discourse, and also indicates that a multimodal approach, involving the study of language with other resources, is necessary to fully analyze contemporary discourse practices. In addition, the analysis in this paper aims to situate the competing discourses of science and the media at work in the analyzed text within the context of existing research findings on the communication of information relevant to the climate change debate. Our argument is illustrated by an analysis of an article appearing in New Scientist magazine and its Web site, and makes use of three established semiotic frameworks of analysis: Halliday and Matthiessen's (An introduction to functional grammar, Arnold, 2004) systemic functional theory, Martin and White's (The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) appraisal theory, and Kress and van Leeuwen's (Reading images: The grammar of visual design, Routledge, 2006) visual grammar.

Author-supplied keywords

  • climate change
  • intersemiosis
  • multimodal analysis
  • semiotic resource
  • textimage relations

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  • K. L.E. Marissa

  • Kay L. O'Halloran

  • Kevin Judd

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