Publication details [#6289]

Janiak, Magdalena. 2004. Words, Images, and Meaning: The Interaction of Text and Pictures in the Pages of Glossy Magazines. Lodz, Poland. 107 pp.


I point to the similarities between the visual and verbal messages, and explore the way in which they interact with each other within one verbo-pictorial complex, supporting my observations with examples taken from women's magazines. These provide a large amount of material in the shape of illustrated articles and advertisements assuming various forms and making use of different types of images, which has let me examine different aspects of the problem. Analysing single verbo-pictorial complexes of an article accompanied by a picture, I have found that both language and images have at their command some powerful means of foregrounding and backgrounding selected parts of the message, of constructing it at the desirable levels of specificity and presenting it from a chosen perspective. I have observed that metaphors, metonymies, hyperboles and understatement occur both in texts and in pictures, and that they are based on similar principles of operation. The frequency of the use of some of those figures differs depending on the medium: e.g. some types of metonymy occur more often in images than in texts. There is also a difference in the distribution of pictorial figures depending on the type of the discourse they appear in. However, there is strong corelation between the verballly and pictorially rendered figures within one verbo-pictorial complex: they tend to be based on the same conceptualizations. I also point to the fact that images can function analogously to verbal speech acts, i.e. as communicative acts with different illocutionary force. In some cases texts and images complement each other in order to communicate the desired message. Images may also influence the addressees' interpretation of the verbal message by intensifying or downplaying it. In conclusion, the visual and verbal examples I have analysed in my thesis illustrate some similarities and differences between the visual and verbal systems of communication and the way in which they interact with each other. The differences are mostly the result of the use of different medium to communicate the message. The process that is involved in conveying meaning in both cases, as well as the functions performed by both images and texts are similar to the extent that both systems often complement each other in the process of communicating ideas. (Magdalena Janiak, from Conclusions)