A Multimodal Analysis of Film Clips: The Importance of Nonverbal Behaviour in Meaning-making Processes

By Rafael Luque and Tony Harris.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Important new insights into the way we study language have emerged from the field of corpus linguistics, though in fact a tripartite division of communication into text, sound and nonverbal elements reveals a shortcoming in this approach to analysis: communication is multimodal and as, Adolphs and Carter (2007) comment, written and spoken corpora fail to represent language and communication “beyond the word”. A multimodal perspective of communication, on the other hand, attempts to interpret text by combining and integrating such meaning-making processes as “language, gesture, movement, visual images, sound, and so on – in order to produce a text-specific meaning” (Thibault, 2000: 311). This paper, which forms part of the Research and Development project, ADELEX (Assessing and Developing Lexical Competence; Ref: BFF2003-02561), financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, shows how multimodal texts are designed and brought to the attention of English Philology students at the University of Granada using a methodology based on an analysis of segmented film clips. The analysis initially focuses on the semiotic features of gesture, gaze, arm movements and facial expression, and then moves on to a more in depth examination of speech-related gestures, or ‘illustrators’ (Ekman and Friesen, 1969: 62), which are shown to have a definite message-carrying function.

Keywords: Multimodal, Meaning Making Processes, Speech-related Gestures

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp.223-238. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.519MB).

Rafael Luque

PhD Student, Department of English Philology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Dr. Tony Harris

Senior Lecturer, Department of English Philology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain


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