Multimodality: an Analysis of Brother's for Life Pamphlet

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Multimodality was established to draw attention to the importance of semiotics other than language. Individuals are moving away from just printed words to convey meaning. They use colour, images, sounds, even change the page layout of different documents from portrait to landscape and they change document designs (Iedema, 2003). One can see that language is no more the centre of meaning making (Iedema, 2003). Multimodal discourse analysis can be expressed as an outline used to analyse how the combined use of several types of signs interrelate to compose meaning and determine meaning making options (Matthews, 2010). This assignment will discuss Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006) notions to multimodality and do a multimodal discourse analysis of the Brother’s for life pamphlet.

Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) have introduced different concepts to explain how to analyse multimodal texts. One of these concepts is information value, which can be described as the arrangement of verbal and visual signs in a multimodal text. Information value is divided into subdivisions, namely real, ideal, given, new, centre and margin (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006). Real refers to all the features that is found in the lower section of the text and it contains more basic, realistic and practical information (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006; Chen, 2010). Ideal signifies the upper section of the text and contains the information that grantees exquisiteness, exhilaration, success, prosperity or even the perfect situation. It portrays what ought to be or may possibly be (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006; Chen, 2010). The left side of the text is referred to as the given, which is all the information that is previously known to the audience or reader (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006; Chen, 2010). The new refers to all the features that are located on the right side of the text. This is the information that is presumed as new information and that which the audience or reader have to pay attention to. Thus, it has to be dazzling seeing that it is fresh information (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006; Chen, 2010). The centre refers to the elements positioned in the middle or centre of the texts and is seen as the nucleus. Whereas, the margin refers to the elements that are placed on the edge or around the given text. and is referred to as the dependent elements (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006).

The second concurrent system that has an effect on the structure of multimodal texts is salience or salient features. (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006) Salience refers to the elements that are in place to draw the attention of the audience or reader to different areas in the text. (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006) This is done by the use of colour, the size of visual and verbal signs, the level of sharpness in the images, whether visual and verbal signs are placed on the foreground or the background and the connotative meaning of words. (White, 2010; Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006)

The third system Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) introduced is framing. This notion refers to the positions visual and verbal signs take to separate or connect ideas. There are different degrees of framing as well. The absence of framing illustrates one unit or idea of information, whereas weaker framing links similar ideas within the text. Stronger framing on the other hand, shows more disjunction between information (O’Halloran, 2008; Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006).

The ways of talking and the ways in which texts build on other texts and discourses are referred to as Intertextuality. The intertextual nature of texts indicates that there are references to previous texts, events or different types of discourses. (Matthews, 2010). Thus, different cultures interpret colour, images, texts, particular words or phrases in different ways. The schemata readers of multimodal texts have, are referred to as intertextual references. Schemata are based on the background knowledge of cultural practices, language and so forth....
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