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A functional projection from visual contrast to mode: Creating building blocks for reading multimodal visual narrative

Issue: Vol 13 No. 1-2 (2017)

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.36177


In multimodal visual narratives such as Japanese manga, meaning is created through components of different modes - from verbals to onomatopoeias, emblems, and graphics. With the aim of integrating different modes (from text to image) so as to suggest an integrated solution that collectively defines the composing elements of comics, this paper proposes a Function of Mode, which applies semiotic and mathematical principles to expound on the subconscious process of recognizing visual contrasts that are drawn, printed or digitally displayed into various modes that form the building blocks of multimodal discourse. This function sits at the base of multiliteracy for understanding multimodal visual narrative and enables the reader to distinguish different modes by accentuating relevant semiotic channels of meaningmaking - iconicity for imagistic description, symbolization for linguistic features, entitativity for metaphorizing and visualizing non-graphic images, and diegesis for demarcating which elements are meaningful, ideationally or interpersonally.

Author: Xiran Yang

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