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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 20, 2022

The social semiotic study of vocal acting – the Hollywood Golden Age films as examples

  • Zhen Zhang ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Multimodal Communication


This study argues that voice is a communicative tool used in people’s daily life, and it can also be a vocal apparatus for actors to deliver acting functions in films. In this study, the author demonstrated how actors project voice qualities of pitch, loudness and intonation to achieve various communicative functions in vocal acting by investigating four selected Hollywood films. The speech analysis tool Praat was used to process actors’ voice qualities in the selected data to verify the argument. After investigation, this research discovered that actors can use voice qualities to represent information and emotion and indicate characters’ attitudes, relationships and situations. Moreover, this research revealed that actors’ voice is more dynamic than other acting participants (such as makeup, costume).

Corresponding author: Zhen Zhang, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia, E-mail:


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Received: 2020-03-03
Accepted: 2022-05-02
Published Online: 2022-05-20

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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