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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 33, Issue 4-5


Hallidayan systemic-functional semiotics and the analysis of the moving audiovisual image

John A. Bateman
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Sciences, Bremen University, Bibliothekstr. 1, Building GW2, Bremen 28334, Germany
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Published Online: 2013-08-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0029


Although linguistically inflected semiotic approaches to film were pursued in the 1960s and 1970s, they have since been almost universally rejected within film studies and film theory even though film is precisely the kind of intentionally produced communicative artifact for which one would have expected semiotics to have much to offer. Traditionally, forms of semiotics modeled on linguistics have offered some of the most finely articulated accounts available but, so far, this has not been shown convincingly for film. This paper argues that the semiotics of the 1960s and 1970s was just too undeveloped to deal with entities as complex as film. In contrast, the multidimensional account of verbal semiotic systems articulated within Hallidayan systemic-functional semiotics over the past forty years is now dissolving many of the original problems and provides renewed impetus for the semiotic analysis of film, reinstating much expanded notions of text and textuality securely at the center of attention.

Keywords: audiovisual moving image; film; sociofunctional semiotics; textuality; multimodality; discourse; systemic-functional semiotics

About the article

John A. Bateman

John Bateman is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Bremen University where he has been researching issues of multimodality in several media for several years. He has published widely in the area, with recent books focusing on annotation methods for static page-based documents and the application of functional semiotics to the audiovisual moving image. He is currently head of the Bremen Institute for transmedial Textuality Research (BItT). Address for correspondence: Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Sciences, Bremen University, Bremen 28334, Germany 〈 〉.

Published Online: 2013-08-27

Published in Print: 2013-08-19

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 33, Issue 4-5, Pages 641–663, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0029.

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