Month: August 2017

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.