English as a visual language
Theorising the social semiotics of anglography in polylingual texts
The present article develops a theoretical framework for the analysis of the semiotics of the English of mixed-language texts as are found worldwide in various domains of public and private communication. The social meaning of such anglography, it will be argued, must be interpreted as a result of the bi-modality (verbal and visual) of its material realisation. Drawing on a range of relevant contexts (e.g. ‘linguistic landscapes’, print advertising, print journalism and social communication via the digital media), the article proposes an integrated framework of analysis, incorporating and expanding tenets of both Systemic Functional Grammar and Critical Discourse Analysis, which shows that the employment of ‘English as a visual language’ directly enhances the social semiotic impact of such texts by mediating between them as linguistic products and social events. Close empirical analysis of representative texts (public signage, print ads and private e-communication) illustrates the proposed theory at work.
Published online: 28 April 2014
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