Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics

Multimodal Discourse Analysis on the Compositional Meaning of the Magazine Frontal Covers

Author ZhangLiZuo
Tutor JinZuo
School Northwest Normal University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Multimodal Discourse Analysis Compositional Meaning Comparative Study Frontal Covers Beijing Review TIME
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Language mode and image mode have being used increasingly in magazine covers, page-based advertisements, newspapers, textbooks, multimedia teaching, computer games even hypertexts to make integrated meanings. While researches on multimodal discourses at home and abroad are more and more available for advertisements study,the research on news magazine covers are rising abroad but are scarce at home. The comparative study of language modes and image modes between foreign data and domestic one is of importance but lacking. Therefore, to focus the study on MDA of the English news magazine frontal covers of two different countries under the frame of the verified theories is a new and feasible attempt.This thesis is to study the compositional meaning on the frontal covers of Beijing Review and TIME, and language mode of which will be studied from the perspectives of Halliday’social semiotic (1978, 1985, 2001), image mode from Kress & Van Leeuwen’visual grammar (1996, 2001) and the inter-semiotics of language and image from Royce’s (1998) visual verbal inter-semiotic Complementarity framework for multimodal discourse analysis. The whole analysis in the thesis is carried out in three stages, a verbal analysis, a visual analysis followed by an integrative analysis. The methodology in this thesis is a combination of the quantitative and the qualitative methods.From the detailed analysis on the data within the theoretical framework, the thesis finds that all the collected covers of TIME and Beijing Review set the title of the magazine on the upper part similarly with same type for each. The main findings are listed as the following:Firstly, from the illustrating of image modes, elements on TIME embody information value in Given-New or Ideal-Real and much more concise than its counterpart Beijing Review. The contrast colors on TIME are more outstanding than that on Beijing Review. The typography on Beijing Review is more condensed than that on TIME.Secondly, from the analytical perspective of language modes, language modes (except the magazine name) on the covers of Beijing Review are willing to show the state of an event. The governmental news-oriented features of Beijing Review are implied in the language modes on the covers. But on the covers of TIME, language modes are mostly complete clause including declarative clause and interrogative clause. Such kinds of verbal modes elaborate complete meaning clearly, no matter it is an interrogative question or declaring a fact. And each clause gives a large space for thinking over the topic. Thirdly, from the integrative analysis on image modes and language modes, the fruitful findings are that none of the image modes on the covers of Beijing Review and TIME is independent in meaning generating. Image and language modes are in turn indicating a coherent meaning in the multimodal discourse on the covers. The meaning of each coherent discourse has been achieved by visual-verbal semiotic complementarities like juxtaposition, parallelism, prominence, contrast or negotiation of the elements.Lastly, from Cultural and social perspectives, both magazines are the carriers of news home and abroad. Covers of TIME have always been designed concisely in language and image which all serve the topic. This concept is in line with American’s philosophy of talking the main dish. Covers of Beijing Review have an arrangement of more information in a condensed space so that the focus of the information might be neglected. It implies that Chinese news repots adore the philosophy of getting much more information related or not on the frontal covers, but is unaware of being concentrated on one thing in the meantime.The thesis is made up of six chapters. Chapter one is an introduction including the research background, research significance and the formulation of the research questions. Chapter two reviews the related literature at home and abroad including that of multimodal discourse analysis and the application of the theories. In Chapter three, the theoretical framework for the present study has been raised and elaborated precisely for answering research questions. Chapter four gives out a detailed research design for the study to be implemented including the research question, research methodologies and procedures, data collection and data selection. In Chapter five, the research results have been summarized from the data analysis and the comparative study respectively. Chapter six shows the conclusion of the research including the major findings, the limitations of the study and the implication for the future study.

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