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Building Bridges for Multimodal Research

International Perspectives on Theories and Practices of Multimodal Analysis


Edited By Janina Wildfeuer

While multimodality is one of the most influential semiotic theories for analysing media artefacts, the concepts of this theory are heterogeneous and widespread. The book takes the differences between approaches in Germany and those in international contexts as a starting point, offering new insights into the analysis of multimodal documents. It features contributions by researchers from more than 15 nations and various disciplines, including theoretical reflections on multimodality, thoughts about methodological, empirical, and experimental approaches as well as analyses of various multimodal artefacts.
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Automatic Classification of Iconic Images Based on a Multimodal Model: An Interdisciplinary Project


1 Introduction: What are iconic images?

Charles Sanders Peirce developed the famous distinction between iconic, indexical, and symbolic signs (cf. Atkin 2013). In iconic signs, the signifier has a relationship of similarity to the object – for example, a portrait resembles the person portrayed, a photograph of a smokestack resembles the actual smokestack depicted, and so on. In indexical signs, the signifier is caused by the signified in the way that smoke is caused by the fire for which it serves as a sign. Finally, in symbolic signs the signifier is assigned by social convention to the signified as, for example, the letters of the alphabet are conventionally assigned to sounds, and words are attached to objects by convention.

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