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24th ESFLCW - Attention Please! Achieving Focus in Spoken, Written and Digital Texts

How do digital texts achieve the attention of the viewer? How is this different to other modes of semiosis?
by

Nick Moore

on 15 July 2014

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Transcript of 24th ESFLCW - Attention Please! Achieving Focus in Spoken, Written and Digital Texts

Attention Please!
Achieving Focus in Spoken, Written
and Digital Texts

What is Information Structure?
What is Information
Structure In Writing?

What is Information
Structure In Speech?

Function: Divide the stream of discourse into manageable units & create points of focus
Structure: Obligatory New & optional Given
Realisation: Mode-dependent
Theme is realised by sequence
Participant identification and tracking is realised by articles
Realisation: Unit tone unit;
Realisation: New Information tonic foot

Function: Divide speech into manageable units & focus listener's attention
Structure: Obligatory New Information & optional Given
Structure: Obligatory New and optional Given (not Theme not Participant Tracking)
Function: Divide written language into manageable units & focus reader's attention
Realisation: Unit of Information Clause
Realisation: New Information Final position in clause
Meaningful choices in
Information Structure

In speech:
Variation in number & location of tonic foot
Variation in length of tone unit
//Teachers/ are the
lifeblood of the
university//
//Teachers are the
lifeblood of the
university//
//Teachers are the
lifeblood/ of the
university//
In writing:
Variation in what is placed in focal position
Variation in length of clause
The lifeblood
of a
university is
its
teachers
.
For any
university,
teachers are
the
lifeblood
.
Teachers are
the lifeblood
of any
university
.
and written English so different?
Key:
Non-arbitrary, natural relationship between function and realisation

Information structure in speech
Realisation: tonic foot
Characterised as typically most stressed; "easiest to hear" part of the message
Information structure in writing
Realisation: end of clause
Characterised as typically before punctuation; "easiest to see" part of the message
Information structure in writing
Reading = sequence of fixations & saccades (jumps)
Eye-tracking studies show longest fixations on Theme & end of clause
What Information Structure Is Not
Theme
Participant Identification, Participant Tracking or reference
Why are the realisations in spoken
Punctuation gives peripheral vision fixation points at end of clause
How do we achieve focus in...
visual images?
A drawn
mark
Combinations
of drawn
marks
Size relative to picture surface
Orientation relative to picture surface
Position relative to picture surface
Combination of surface texture and drawing medium
Picture-primitives
Secondary geometry
Gestalt relationships: horizontal, vertical, diagonal axes
Proportional relationships
Tonal passages (aerial persp.)
Relative size of marks
Relative orientation of marks
Relative position of marks
Colour, tone and texture contrast – boundaries
Pattern
Rhythm
False attachments
Intertextuality
Systems of geometry: perspective, orthographic, oblique, inverted perspective and topological
Size and format
Framing devices
Location options
Subdivisions
of the
drawing’s
surface
The drawing
as displayed
in context
A drawn mark
Combinations of drawn marks
Subdivisions of the
drawing’s surface
The drawing as displayed in context
Howard Riley: A Social Semiotics of Drawing
Visual Communication 3(3). 2004
How do we achieve focus in...
digital environments?
How do we achieve focus in...
search pages?
How do we achieve focus in...
twitter?
How do we achieve focus in...
an image-based website?
How do we achieve focus in...
a text-based website?
How do we achieve focus in...
a text and video based website?
References
Barsalou, L.W. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, p.11.1-11.29
D’Ausilio, A. et al. (2009). The motor somatotopy of speech perception. Current Biology, 19(5), pp.381-385
Edelman, G.M. (2004). Wider Than the Sky - The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Fries, P.H. (2000). Issues in modelling the textual metafunction. In M. Scott and G. Thompson (eds.), Patterns of Text: In honour of Michael Hoey (pp.83-107). Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Fries, P.H. (2002). The flow of information in a written text. In P. Fries, M. Cummings, D. Lockwood, and W. Spruiell (eds.) Relations and Functions Within and Around Language (pp.117-155). London: Continuum
Halliday, M.A.K. (1967). Notes on transitivity and theme part 2. Journal of Linguistics, 3(2), pp.199-244
Halliday, M.A.K. (1989). Spoken and Written Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (1999). Construing Experience Through Meaning: A Language-Based Approach to Cognition. London: Continuum
Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar – Third Edition. London: Arnold
Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading Images - The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge
Martin, J.R. (1992). English Text: System and Structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Martinec, R. & Salway, A. 2005. A system for image-text relations in new (and old) media. Visual Communication 4(3)
Maturana, H.R. and Varela, F.J. (1987) The Tree of Knowledge. Boston: Shambhala
O’Toole, M. (1994). The Language of Displayed Art. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses
O’Halloran, K. (2008). Systemic functional-multimodal discourse analysis (SF-MDA): Constructing ideational meaning using language and visual imagery, Visual Communication 7 pp.443-475
Parkes, M.B. (1992). Pause and Effect - An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West. Aldershot: Scolar Press
Saenger, P. (1982). Silent reading: Its impact on late medieval script and society. Viator, 13, pp.367-414
Saenger, P. (1997). Space Between Words. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Acknowledgement: Thinkuser on YouTube
Acknowledgement: Thinkuser on YouTube
Acknowledgement: miratech on YouTube
Acknowledgement: www.edwardtufte.com
Conclusions
Key: Non-arbitrary, natural relationship between function and realisation
New information -
in spoken English: the part of the message that is audibly easiest to identify
in written English: the part of the message that is visually easiest to identify
in images: the part of the message that is visually easiest to identify
in multimodal environments: the parts of the messages that can best exploit spoken, written and image systems for New information
New Information in multimodal text
New information in spoken text
New information in visual images
New information in written text
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