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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 19, 2020

Reasoning and Appraisal in Multimodal Argumentation

Analyzing Building a community of shared future for humankind

Ting Wu
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


The development of new media enlarges the repertoire of semantic resources in creating a discourse. Apart from language, visual and sound symbols can all become semantic sources, and a synergy of different modality and symbols can be used to complete argumentative reasoning and evaluation. In the framework of multimodal argumentation and appraisal theory, this study conducted quantitative and multimodal discourse analysis on a new media discourse Building a community of shared future for humankind and found that visual symbols can independently fulfill both reasoning and evaluation in the argumentative discourse. An interplay of multiple modalities constructs a multi-layered semantic source, with verbal subtitles as a frame and a sound system designed to reinforce the theme and mood. In addition, visual modality is implicit in constructing the stance and evaluation of the discourse, with the verbal mode playing the role of “anchoring,” i.e. providing explicit explanation. A synergy of visual, acoustic, and verbal modalities could effectively transmit conceptual, interpersonal, and discursive meanings, but the persuasive result with the audience from different cultural backgrounds might be mixed.


The research for this paper was financially supported by the Jiangsu Social Science Fund Project, grant no. 18YYB001 and the “13th Five-Year Plan” Jiangsu Education Science Planning Key Project, grant no. C-a/2016/01/28.


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Published Online: 2020-08-19
Published in Print: 2020-08-26

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