Multimodality in discourse analytical approaches: Challenges and priorities


WEDNESDAY Oct 30, 2019 17:00-18:30

Location: Room 803, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

How have different approaches to discourse analysis responded to the challenge of making meaning of multimodal texts? What are the limitations that arise from the fact that key concepts are often linguistically defined?

Professor Wendy L. Bowcher from Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China will focus on the discourse analytic traditions of Pragmatics, Conversation Analysis (CA) and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and will explore how they each account for non-verbal matter in communication.

Drawing examples from relevant research in these three fields, Professor Bowcher compares and contrasts the ways in which Pragmatics, SFL and CA have described and analysed texts, attending to challenges in their methodology and/or theoretical frameworks.

Taking a critical look at the ways these three traditions have dealt with non-verbal matter, Professor Bowcher considers the inherent openness of these paradigms to take account of meanings arising beyond language. With particular reference to SFL she uses examples from her own research, to raise the question of whether some key terms could be redefined.

About the speaker

Wendy L. Bowcher is a Professor of Linguistics, Director of the Functional Linguistics Institute and Deputy Director of the Centre for Australian Studies at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. She is widely published and is the editor or co-editor of several collections: New Directions in the Analysis of Multimodal Discourse (Erlbaum 2007, Routledge 2014), Multimodal Texts from Around the World: Cultural and Linguistic Insights (Palgrave 2012), Systemic Phonology: Recent Studies in English (Equinox 2014), Society in Language, Language in Society: Essays in Honour of Ruqaiya Hasan (Palgrave 2016), and The Cambridge Handbook of Systemic Functional Linguistics (CUP 2019). Her research interests are varied and include theoretical linguistics and the concept of context in relation to language, features of spoken language (e.g. intonation), multimodal discourse analysis of Japanese, Chinese and English texts, gesture, and analysing the portrayal of Chinese in Australian films.


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