Reconstructing Multimodal Arguments in Advertisements: Combining Pragmatics and Argumentation Theory

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Abstract

The analysis of multimodal argumentation in advertising is a crucial and problematic area of research. While its importance is growing in a time characterized by images and pictorial messages, the methods used for interpreting and reconstructing the structure of arguments expressed through verbal and visual means capture only isolated dimensions of this complex phenomenon. This paper intends to propose and illustrate a methodology for the reconstruction and analysis of “double-mode” arguments in advertisements, combining the instruments developed in social semiotics, pragmatics, and argumentation theory. An advertisement is processed through a five-step path. The analysis of its context, text genre, and images leads to a first representation of the messages that it encodes both pictorially and verbally (step 1). These first semantic representations are further enriched by including their polyphonic articulations and presuppositions (step 2), their explicatures (step 3), and their dialogical functions and illocutionary forces (step 4). These pragmatic steps retrieve the commitment structure of the ad, which allows a further argument analysis conducted through argumentation schemes (step 5).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-176
Number of pages26
JournalArgumentation
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Argumentation schemes
  • Argumentative communication
  • Multimodal argumentation
  • Pragmatics
  • Text genre

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