Halliday (1978) – Language as Social Semiotic

”The formulation ’language as social semiotic’ says very little by itself … it belongs to a particular conceptual framework, and is intended to suggest particular interpretation of language within that framework ” (Halliday, 1978, p. 1)

“There are to fundamental aspects to the social reality that is encoded in language … Language expresses and symbolizes … dual aspect in its semantic system … organized sound the twin motifs of reflection and action – language as a means of reflecting on things, and language as a means of acting on things. The former is the ’ideational’ component of meaning; the latter is the ’interpersonal’ – one can act symbolically only on persons, not on objects” (Halliday, 1978, p. 2).

Halliday (1978) derives his perspective ”from the ethnographic-descriptive tradition in linguistics: from Saussure and Hjelmslev, from Mathesius and the Prague school, from Malinowski and Firth, brom Boas, Sapir and Whorf” (Halliday, 1978, p. 5). As to socio-linguistics Halliday refers to Labov.


Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). Language as Social semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. London: Edward Arnold.


Reading Images

Cover of “Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design” By Kress & van Leeuwen (2006), Publisher: Barnes & Noble

After having read and worked with Machin & Mayer’s (2012) book How to Do Critical Discourse Analysis, I have started to read Reading images: the grammar of visual design by Gunther Kress and Teo van Leeuwen, where the authors examine the ways in which images communicate meaning. This book is not available as a free preview to embed, but I link to an extract HERE and at Google books there is an extract from the 1st edition from 1996  available.



Kress, G. & Van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.

Kress, G.R. & Van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. (2. ed.) London: Routledge.

How to do Critical Discourse Analysis

I am working my way through multimodal discourse analyses of both (traditional) text and film, using Machin and Mayr’s How to do critical discourse analysis: a multimodal introduction and finding the book very useful.


Machin, D. & Mayr, A. (2012). How to do critical discourse analysis: a multimodal introduction. London: Sage.

Glossary MCDA & Social Semiotics

As I am working on my Masters Essay I am constructing a glossary for concepts I use in text and analyses. The theoretical framwork is MCDA (Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis) combined with Social Semiotics.

The glossary is a working site and under continuous revision, please keep this in mind, but feel free to use the site if you find it useful.






Reading Images and Film

In multimdodal analysis there is a need to ‘read’ more than traditional text, such as images and film.

Reading Images by Günther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen (2006) is described by the publisher as,

Reading Images focuses on the structures or ‘grammar’ of visual design – colour, perspective, framing and composition – provides the reader with an invaluable ‘tool-kit’ for reading images and makes it a must for anyone interested in communication, the media and the arts.

There is also the conference presentation “Reading Images: Multimodality, Representation and New Media” (Günter Kress, 2004), where you can read the paper and watch/listen to the presentation. The embedded film works without problems with Google Chrome but you may experience difficulties watching if you are using other browsers.



Kress, G.R. (1990). Reading images. Deakin, Victoria: Deakin univ., Press.

Kress, G. R., & Van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of visual design. Psychology Press.
Kress, G. (2004). Reading images: Multimodality, representation and new media. Information Design Journal, 12(2), 110-119.

Kress, G.R. & Van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. (2. ed.) London: Routledge. (extract at Google books)



Bateman, J and Schmidt, H (2012) Multimodal Film Analysis: How Films Mean. London: Routledge

Burn A & Parker D (2001), ‘Making your Mark: Digital Inscription, Animation, and a New Visual Semiotic’, Education, Communication & Information, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp 155-179

van Leeuwen, T (1985) ‘Rhythmic Structure of the Film Text’, in van Dijk (ed), Discourse and Communication, Berlin: de Gruyter.

This site is now open

students_HF illustrationThis is my site for multimodal study. It has until now been closed but I have opened up most pages and all posts to share with you who share my interest in multimodality.

Please note, that the logic is not perfect and the main purpose here is to use a multimodal digital tool in my process of multimodal studies.


/Henrika Florén 2017-06-08

Highlights and resources from the 2nd day of Kaleidoscope 2017

Useful highlights and resources from the 2nd day of Kaleidoscope 2017

RECOUP – Cambridge:

Research Consortium on Educational Outcomes and Poverty (RECOUP)

“You can browse the manual using RECOUP Wiki site” at the page  Qualitative Research Training Manual (Faculty of Education, Cambridge): [pdf] RECOUP_Manual.pdf


Routledge Series: edited by M. Arnot and C. Colclough Education, Poverty and International Development

BIBAC 2014 Conference (papers?)
BIBAC 2016 conference page

The site teacherknowledge  is site “based on a review of published research literature relating to ‘teacher knowledge’, initiated at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education

Databases & search engines: ERIC, EBSCO, Google Scholar


To read, about monomodal vs multimodal text

Archer, A. (2006). A multimodal approach to academic ‘literacies’: Problematising the visual/verbal divide. Language and Education, 20(6), 449-462.
Flewitt, R. (2008). Multimodal literacies. Desirable literacies: Approaches to language and literacy in the early years, 122-139.
Gunel, M., Hand, B., & Gunduz, S. (2006). Comparing student understanding of quantum physics when embedding multimodal representations into two different writing formats: Presentation format versus summary report format. Science Education, 90(6), 1092-1112.
Hull, G. A., & Nelson, M. E. (2005). Locating the semiotic power of multimodality. Written communication, 22(2), 224-261.
Iedema, R. (2003). Multimodality, resemiotization: Extending the analysis of discourse as multi-semiotic practice. Visual communication, 2(1), 29-57.

Jewitt, C. (2005). Multimodality,“reading”, and “writing” for the 21st century. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 26(3), 315-331.

Lappe, C., Herholz, S. C., Trainor, L. J., & Pantev, C. (2008). Cortical plasticity induced by short-term unimodal and multimodal musical training. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(39), 9632-9639.
Serafini, F. (2012). Expanding the four resources model: Reading visual and multi-modal texts. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 7(2), 150-164.
Smith, B. E., Kiili, C., & Kauppinen, M. (2016). Transmediating argumentation: Students composing across written essays and digital videos in higher education. Computers & Education, 102, 138-151.
Togia, A., & Tsigilis, N. (2006). Impact factor and education journals: A critical examination and analysis. International Journal of Educational Research, 45(6), 362-379.
Walsh, M. (2006). The’textual shift’: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, The, 29(1), 24.