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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2018, Issue 220


It’s all about logics?! Analyzing the rhetorical structure of multimodal filmic text

Janina Wildfeuer
Published Online: 2017-11-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0139


This paper focuses on questions concerning the process of making meaning out of the filmic text by asking for the argumentative patterns that enable the recipient’s inference processes during his/her interpretation. Film analysis, and multimodal analysis in general, is no longer seen as simply decoding the semiotic resources, but asking for inferential processes of reasoning about the best and most plausible interpretation. For this, the paper presents an analytical approach based on recent advancements in contemporary discourse semantics and multimodal discourse analysis which outlines the discursive and rhetorical structure of filmic text and retraces the inference process of the recipient in detail. The aim is to show how multimodal film leads its spectators to acknowledge the argumentative reconstruction of its content by relating the diegetic world to its reality and proving its validity. An example analysis of the short film El Vendedor de Humo (2012) shows how it is possible to elucidate a film’s rhetorical structure and to outline the process of logically reasoning about semantic and pragmatic information in the text. The aim is thus to gain a detailed look at how premises and arguments for the interpretation are made available in multimodal context and how they are operated by the recipient.

Keywords: multimodal argumentation; semiotics; film; rhetorical structure; logics; multimodality


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-11-07

Published in Print: 2018-01-26

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2018, Issue 220, Pages 95–121, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0139.

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