Van Leeuwen, Theo — Introducing Social Semiotics

Theo Van Leeuwen  Introducing Social Semiotics


In this introduction to social semiotics, Van Leeuwen presents a rich discourse to describe the ways in which various semiotic resources communicate in specific locations and practices.  In addition, Part I offers practical methods by which students can begin to explore the various uses of semiotic resources, identify semiotic rules, trace semiotic change, and analyze the function of various artifacts. In Part II, Van Leeuwen introduces the key dimensions of semiotic analysis,w hich are always part of every communicative event and every semiotic artefact.   More specifically, Van Leeuwen provides students with the basic tools in which they can begin to study the use of a plurality of discourses in various social practices, and analyze multimodal communicative acts through an examination of genre, style, modality, rhythm, and composition.  Finally, this text introduces students to principles of verbal and visual linking, which constitute different forms of communicative acts, so students can study the ways in which the verbal and the visual interact to make meaning and affect change.  In the final chapter, Van Leeuwen introduces concepts that will help students analyze various forms of dialogue.


Key Concepts:


Social semiotics:

  1. studies the ways in which people use semiotic resources both to produce communicative artifacts and to interpret them in the context of specific social situations and practices
  2. compares and contrasts semiotic modes
  3. studies ways in which semiotic resources are regulated in specific locations and practices
  4. practice of analysis and observations to discover new semiotic resources
  5. Mode of enquiry based on Halliday’s social semiotic view of language
  6. Reads all artifacts as texts
  7. Does not study what signs stands for but how it is used


Semiotic resources:  the actions and artifacts used to communicate, whether produced physiologically or technologically (1)


Semiotic potential:  potential for making meaning


Affordance:  potential uses of a given object


Modality:  concept through which semioticians study how people use semiotic resources to create the truth or reality values of their representations, to communicative whether they should be taken as true or false


Multimodal:  combination of different semiotic modes in one communicative event or artefact



Key Quotes:


Social semioticians are in the business of:

  • Inventorizing semiotic resources and investigating how they are used in specific contexts
  • Discover and develop new semiotic resources and new ways of using them. 
  • Inventorizing different types of rules, taken up in different ways in different contexts
  • Analyzing the various ways semiotic resources are used through analysis of discourse, genre, style, and modality in which they are used.


1 Comment

Filed under visual rhetorics exam

One response to “Van Leeuwen, Theo — Introducing Social Semiotics

  1. Ciluemiette

    продам Форд-Фокус 2008 года за 200 тр. торг возможет. срочно!!!
    +7 960 200 9209

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s