A Critical Analysis of the Image of Immigrants in Multimodal Texts






Visual Grammar, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Multimodality, Immigration, Metafunctions


In this article I will explore the main strategies used to make meaning in different multimodal texts related to immigration. I will pay attention to the way in which each semiotic resource has evolved to be used with other semiotic resources, which has implications in the ideational function of language, and in the way readers create meaning. My corpus of examples belongs to a local newspaper in Alicante, the city with the third highest number of immigrants in Spain. I will explore the reasons why the journalist chooses some linguistic and visual forms instead of others, and the influence of these forms in the creation of meaning. I will also observe how the written text in each article supports the construction of a particular image of immigrants , and will compare the texts for the visual and linguistic construction of immigrants. Through a visual grammar and linguistic analysis I will demonstrate how readers are positioned to have a negative view of immigrants that is supported through linguistic choices in the multimodal texts. In this way, I will point out some of the ways in which Halliday’s metafunctions are interlinked and impact on each other.

Author Biography


María Martínez Lirola holds a PhD in English Studies. She was teaching Bilingual Language Arts at Deming High School (New Mexico, USA) for a year. Her present areas of research are ESL, Discourse analysis, Text Linguistics and Multimodality. Since October 2002, she has been working as Assistant professor at the University of Alicante in Spain. She lectures Grammar, English, Text Linguistics, and the PhD course: The Relationship between Language, Context and Text. An Introduction to Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. From February until July 2005 she was working as a visiting scholar at Macquarie University (Sydney, Austalia). During February and March 2006, she was doing research on Alan Paton’ speeches in the Alan Paton Centre (University of Kwazulu-Natal), and on academic writing in the Department of Education of the same university.


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How to Cite

Lirola, M. M. (2008). A Critical Analysis of the Image of Immigrants in Multimodal Texts. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 2(3), 377–397. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v2i3.377