Viewpoint phenomena in multimodal communication

Barbara Dancygier, Lieven Vandelanotte

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In this introduction to the special issue on viewpoint phenomena in multimodal communication, we highlight central questions concerning the nature of multimodality and of conceptual viewpoint, which the issue as a whole expands and clarifies. We argue that multimodality needs to be rethought as a varied but cohesive phenomenon, and we briefly illustrate both embodied multimodal interaction (in an example from stand-up comedy) and the meaning emergence in artifacts relying on both text and image (in an example of a poster with an environmental message). Correspondingly, the category of multimodal constructions already recognized for embodied interactions should be expanded to cover conventionalized image/text combinations. Finally, we stress that viewpoint is the pivotal concept that elucidates how communicators use the various modalities for cohesive communicative purposes across the wide range of artifacts and multimodal forms discussed in the special issue, including gesture in political speeches, viewpoint in comics, grammatical forms in Internet memes, ASL, stance expressions, eye gaze, and embodied responses to objects and architectural artifacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2017


  • constructions
  • embodiment
  • gesture
  • interaction
  • multimodality
  • viewpoint


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