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Conference Information

Full Title: Pragmatic Insights for Analysing Multimodal Argumentative Discourse

Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Start Date: 26-Jul-2015 - 31-Jul-2015
Contact: Assimakis Tseronis
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Panel Organizers:

Assimakis Tseronis, University of Amsterdam
Chiara Pollaroli, Università della Svizzera italiana
Charles Forceville, University of Amsterdam


In the last two decades or so, scholars from discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, as well as pragmatics and argumentation studies have started paying attention to the non-verbal modes that interact with the verbal in a variety of media and communicative genres. Within multimodal discourse analysis, each mode is studied as realising part of the information communicated and their interaction as contributing to meaning-making processes. In most of the studies within multimodal analysis, however, the focus is more on the image-internal aspects than on the interaction between the image and the viewer and the properties of the context that play a role in the interpretation process.

Cognitive approaches to visual communication, by contrast, have focused on the interpretation processes involved in understanding multimodal texts. However, the focus on the cognitive processing has left the discussion of the effects of the choice among the various modes and of their combinations largely implicit. Pictorial tropes, for example, such as metaphor, metonymy and irony, have been studied more with an interest in identifying their verbal and nonverbal cuing than an interest in the rhetorical effects of their use, or of the choice to cue them visually instead of verbally in a given piece of discourse.

Scholars from argumentation studies who have taken seriously the role that visual images play in argumentative discourse have paid little attention to the affordances of the various modes, focusing on what is depicted and overlooking issues of style and composition. Two approaches have emerged, one thematizing the persuasive effect and emotional appeal of visuals, the other examining their indexical properties and thereby reducing them to their evidentiary function.

For an assessment of the use of non-verbal modes in argumentative communication, a combination of insights from pragmatics, multimodal analysis, and argumentation studies is required if one is to account for their role in rational and cognitive terms rather than in purely aesthetic and affective terms. Discourse-oriented approaches to argumentation have traditionally drawn insights from pragmatics in an attempt to account for the context dependency of the identification and interpretation of arguments. The question we then raise is: how can pragmatics also benefit the analysis of multimodal argumentative discourse?
Linguistic Subfield: Discourse Analysis
LL Issue: 25.2879

This is a session of the following meeting:
14th International Pragmatics Conference

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