Towards a Discipline of Multimodality: Parallels to Mathematics and Linguistics and New Ways Forward

in Multimodality

Abstract

Multimodality, involving the study of meaning arising from the integration of language with images and other resources in multimodal texts, interactions and events, addresses the fundamental need to understand human communication in the current age of digital technology. However, multimodality is not considered to be a discipline per se at present. By drawing parallels between mathematics and linguistics, it is proposed that if multimodality is to become a discipline, then abstract context-based frameworks for modeling multimodal semiotic resources and methodologies for investigating patterns of human communication are required. An example of how this could be achieved is provided. From here, multimodality has the potential to provide the foundations for a range of multimodal sciences, in much the same way that mathematics and linguistics underpin the mathematical and language sciences respectively. In doing so, it may become possible to track the changes in human communication arising from digital technology and the resultant impact on thought and reality.

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