Assimakis Tseronis, 16 October 2017, 16h

October 16, 2017

ArgLab Research Colloquium

Av. de Berna 26, I&D Building, First floor, room 0.07


Multimodal Argumentation: Building Bridges between Argumentation Theory and Multimodal Analysis

Assimakis Tseronis, University of Amsterdam


In the past twenty years argumentation scholars have extended their object of study by embracing the idea that arguments are put forward in discourses composed by more than just the verbal mode (Birdsell & Groarke, 1996; Birdsell & Groarke, 2007; Groarke, Palczewski, & Godden, 2016; Kjeldsen, 2015). Words, written or spoken, are more often than not accompanied by visuals, sound or gestures to create static or dynamic multimodal texts that are used in order to make claims and advance reasons in a variety of genres and media (Tseronis & Forceville, 2017). Linguists and discourse analysts, from their side, have been systematically studying the ways in which various modes combine to create meaning within the growing field of research known as multimodal analysis (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996; Bateman, 2014; Jewitt, 2014; Norris & Maier, 2016). Nevertheless, no special attention has been paid within this field to those communicative situations where the support of a standpoint with arguments and the acceptability of the argumentation are at stake. In order to be able to analyse the various aspects of multimodal documents on their merits and to account for their argumentative relevance it is necessary to build bridges between argumentation theory and multimodal analysis. In this presentation, I give a brief overview of the issues that have been addressed by scholars studying multimodal argumentation, and discuss how certain criticisms can be tackled. I propose incorporating insights from multimodal analysis and pragmatics into a model of argumentation in order to systematically analyse instances of multimodal argumentation. To illustrate the various points, I present examples from advertisements, subvertisements, and front covers of magazines, among others.

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