A Social Semiotic Analysis of Social Actors in English-Learning Software Applications

Document Type: Research Paper


Kharazmi University


This study drew upon Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006, [1996]) visual grammar and Van Leeuwen’s (2008) social semiotic model to interrogate ways through which social actors of different races are visually and textually represented in four award-winning English-learning software packages.  The analysis was based on narrative actional/reactional processes at the ideational level; mood, perspective, social distance, and modality at the interpersonal level; and salience, framing, and vector at the compositional level. The findings revealed that although contemporary multimodal texts have tried to be unbiased and neutral in the verbal mode, there are still traces of discrimination, bias, and stereotyping in the visual mode. The results of this research can be of potential help and use for researchers, pedagogues, material developers, software designers,  teachers , and students to become visually literate and get aware of the hidden messages that can be communicated by images in textbooks and multimedia.


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