Multimodal Construal of Attitude in the Online City Guide of Guangzhou

Yinyan Yao, Manxu Zhao


This study conducts a social semiotic analysis of the online city guide of Guangzhou. Drawing on Martin’s Appraisal theory with a particular focus on the semantic systems of attitude and graduation, this paper investigates the attitudinal meanings adjusted by graduation in both modes of language and visual images. It is revealed that positive appreciation resources are dominant among the three subsystems of attitude, with the pervasive use of reaction and valuation resources to stimulate tourist desires and promote unique identity of the city. Graduation resources, especially force, couple with attitude resources to upscale the positivity of the attitude and strongly align the readers into the same value position. The language and images in most cases coordinate with each other, with the evaluative meanings of visual images elaborating or extending those of verbal texts, whereas complementary intermodal relation exists in some cases, with the evaluative meanings conveyed by visual images and the verbal texts merely offering factual information. The findings may help to better understand the way online city guides achieve the communicative purposes through multimodal evaluative devices.

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