Multimodal Semiotics in China

Multimodal Semiotics in China

Dan Xu (Nanjing Normal University, China)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2924-8.ch004
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With the rapid development of information and communication, China's digital technology was brought in line with international standards, and the studies of multimodal semiotics has emerged and developed quickly. This chapter has carried out an analysis of related papers published in Chinese core linguistic journals, as well as in linguistic-related journals indexed in Social Science Citation Index (hence forward SSCI). The results show that the research in multimodality has been on the increase. Present research contents are multidimensional but need to be broadened and deepened. Various theoretical perspectives have been explored but the increasing empirical research is still not sufficient; indigenous innovation research is inadequate, as most studies focus on the factors of foreign language teaching in college. This chapter intends to answer the following three questions: What is the basic profile of multimodal semiotics in China? What are the research foci of multimodal semiotics in China? And what are the successes and challenges of multimodal semiotics research in China?
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From the perspective of social semiotics, multimodal semiotics attempts to interpret meaning from the interaction of texts (including writing, images, sound, and space) within a given context. There is an increasing interest among academics, professionals, and students in the role of image, gesture, gaze, posture, and the use of space in representation and communication – in other words, multimodality. Scholars abroad study multimodality across a wide range of disciplines, e.g. anthropology, education, design, linguistics, media and culture studies, musicology, sociology (Jewitt, 2014). Multimodality studies in China started in the early 2000s. According to the search results from China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), the concept “Multimodal Discourse” was first brought up by Li Zhanzi in 2003. In her article, Social Semiotic Approach to Multimodal Discourse, Li introduced the social semiotic approach proposed by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996). This approach is based on Halliday’s systemic functional grammar and attempts to analyze multimodal discourse in terms of representational, interpersonal, and compositional meanings. It is an endeavor to understand language as social semiotics and at managing multimodal discourse in English teaching.

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