This chapter discusses multimodal approaches to the study of linguistics, and representation and communication more generally. It draws attention to the range of different modes that people use to make meaning beyond language – such as speech, gesture, gaze, image and writing – and in doing so, offers new ways of analyzing language. The chapter addresses two key questions. First, how can all these modes be handled theoretically? What are ‘modes’? How do people use them? Second, how can all these modes be handled analytically? What are the methodological implications if one or more modes are excluded from the analysis? The chapter first highlights the ways in which multimodality is taken up in social-linguistic research. It then describes a social semiotic approach to multimodality. The steps taken in such an approach are described and exemplified with case studies of classroom interaction and textbooks. It concludes with a discussion of the potentials and constraints of multimodal analysis.
Jeff Bezemer and Carey Jewitt (2010). Multimodal Analysis: Key issues. In: L. Litosseliti (ed), Research Methods in Linguistics. London: Continuum. pp. 180-197.
Read a pre-print version of the chapter.