Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication

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Taylor & Francis, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 212 pages

The 21st century is awash with ever more mixed and remixed images, writing, layout, sound, gesture, speech, and 3D objects. Multimodality looks beyond language and examines these multiple modes of communication and meaning making.

Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication represents a long-awaited and much anticipated addition to the study of multimodality from the scholar who pioneered and continues to play a decisive role in shaping the field. Written in an accessible manner and illustrated with a wealth of photos and illustrations to clearly demonstrate the points made, Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication deliberately sets out to locate communication in the everyday, covering topics and issues not usually discussed in books of this kind, from traffic signs to mobile phones.

In this book, Gunther Kress presents a contemporary, distinctive and widely applicable approach to communication. He provides the framework necessary for understanding the attempt to bring all modes of meaning-making together under one unified theoretical roof.

This exploration of an increasingly vital area of language and communication studies will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of English language and applied linguistics, media and communication studies and education.


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A refreshing approach to analysing what happens in daily communication, the book enables readers to see how multimodal forms of interaction motivate participants to respond appropriately in exchange of information. As modes are all seen as equal in their function in communicating ideas and experiences, the role of music and dance as modes are acknowledged when they carry the semiotic load or the meaning that is being conveyed to greatest effect. Learning is multimodal, and cognition and higher thinking are shown to be supported by multimodal frames of meaning that are based on everyday communication of ideas. 


Chapter 1 Where meaning is the issue
Chapter 2 The social environment of contemporary communication
shaping the domain of meaning
Chapter 4 A socialsemiotic theory of multimodality
Chapter 5 Mode
naming in a multimodal social semiotic theory
making meaning material
Chapter 8 Multimodal orchestrations and ensembles of meaning
learning and evaluation identity and knowledge
new forms of composition and the transformation of habitus

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