International Perspectives on Theories and Practices of Multimodal Analysis
Edited By Janina Wildfeuer
Structure and Multimodal Texts
Structure is often associated with order, a routine or cycle, a shape, formula or form. But structure is not an “empty vessel” into which content is put (cf. Christie 1987: 27). Rather, “a structure is a set of relations, and the elements of structures are the values defined by these relations” (Halliday 1981a: 29). A common term for structure in relation to semiotic artefacts is ‘generic structure’. The term ‘genre’ may also be used to refer to structure, but typically, it refers to a ‘text type’2 – a group of texts which display a common set of identifying characteristics which are socially recognised and meaningful. Text structure, is a “response to context, and therefore only comprehensible because of its relationship to the context. The text, and the generic shape it realises, are as they are because of context” (Christie 1987: 27).
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