Text is all around us. It comes different forms, shapes, and sizes. Furthermore, the way we interpret it is highly dependent on the mode it comes in. Throughout the past few days, I collected a few modes of text that particularly stood out to me. The five texts I decided to analyze were my planner, an image of Florence, a banner, a Spotify commercial, and a Gossip Girl Episode. Each mode of text shared similarities and differences. It was interesting to notice the different ways each mode conveyed their messages and how different types of communication affected the message.
Of the written texts I documented, they were conveyed in only linguistic, visual, and spatial modes. It would not be possible for a gestural or aural mode to be conveyed since the text was written and not being presented verbally or physically. The written texts that I paid attention to were my planner and a banner.
The planner conveyed the linguistic mode by stating what tasks needed to be done by certain dates. The language in my planner was basic and specific to me, as I am the only individual that will be reading my planner. It conveyed the visual mode through the colorful and floral patterns on each page of the planner. The spatial mode accounted for how the planner was broken up into days of the week and months of year. This is important for organization of the planner, since it will not be useful otherwise.
The banner conveyed the linguistic mode as well by stating the School of Information at University of Michigan with the block M. I knew it was a University of Michigan school because of the block M. I saw this banner near the Diag while walking to class. The linguistic mode accounted for the words on the banner which were meant for the audience of whoever may walk by the banner. The banner’s linguistic mode conveys that a school of information exists at U-M. The visual and spatial mode aid in how the banner looks and how it is organized. The words have a simple, easy to read font and are organized to be read quickly.
I stumbled upon this image when I was researching Florence, Italy for a trip I am taking with my friend this year. This image conveys gestural, visual, and spatial modes of communication. The couple in the image is enjoying a glass of wine, as shown by the smiles on their faces. This conveys the visual mode of communication. Since the two are gesturing to clink their glasses, the gestural mode is used here as well. It portrays a relationship, friendly or romantic. Lastly, the spatial mode is accounted since the two are sitting at a table looking over Florence. The two subjects are close to one another in the image conveying familiarity once again with each other.
The next multimodal text I came across was a Spotify commercial when I was studying. The commercial was for Target, promoting a new children’s clothing line. The two modes of communication presented in this jingle were linguistic and aural. The linguistic mode accounted for the words that were stated during the commercial. This conveyed what the product was and the length of the promotion for the product. The aural mode of communication accounted for the song and music playing during the commercial, and it described the inflection in their voices.
The last multimodal form of communication I documented was an episode of Gossip Girl. This episode conveyed all five modes of communication through various scenes. I will focus on one scene from the episode I watched (Season 2, Episode 10) for analytical purposes. When Jenny, a teenager trying to be emancipated from her father, goes to meet with a lawyer, she displays multiple modes of communication. The papers that the lawyer gives her account for the linguistic mode. These papers convey the terms of emancipation. The inflection and tone of the lawyer’s voice conveys the aural and linguistic mode. The hand movements and gestures Jenny does display the gestural mode. Additionally, the visual mode is displayed through the characters’ outfits and hairstyles which convey opulence. Lastly, the spatial mode is portrayed through the seating arrangements in the lawyer’s room illustrate that the lawyer has authority over Jenny.
Throughout each piece, I noticed that none of the texts had one single mode of communication that was present. In the written texts, visual, spatial, and linguistic were present. In the image, it was just visual, spatial, and gestural. On the contrary, in the Spotify commercial, only linguistic and aural were present. Lastly in the Gossip Girl episode, all modes of communication were present. It is interesting to see how different texts can convey different messages through different modes of communication. Aural modes of communication were only present in non-written texts, i.e. texts were the communication was said out loud to another individual or on a commercial. Overall, the multimodality of communication is present all around. From now on, I will start to take notice.