The visual social semiotic approach, based on Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics (SFL), is widely used in studies on multimodal texts. As SFL is a framework focusing on the functions of language, several SFL categories are re-conceptualized in visual social semiotics to handle the analysis and interplay of extra-linguistic features; other categories, however, are excluded. A consequence is that any insights offered by these excluded categories in multimodal texts remain obscured. This paper focused on one such category, theme, as a generator of expectations. It analyzed the thematic structure of twenty homepages to show that the different SFL themes are applicable and evident in such multimodal texts. It underscores the importance of theme as a point of departure of any discourse, textual or otherwise, allowing us to form expectations about how the rest of the discourse may be acceptably developed.
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The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.