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Multimodality and multimediality in English for Specific Purposes: discursive, cultural, didactic and translational issues

24 mars - 26 mars

43e colloque international du GERAS


ESP and studies in specialised discourses have always been attentive to situated language practices giving rise to discourse communities (Swales 2016), specific settings, communicative genres or professional backgrounds, among others.  The majority of studies in the field tended to focus on text and the written form, with sparse interest for other modes of communication. This changed at the turn of the century, namely with the work of Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001), who highlighted the revolution in communication practices triggered by the use of digital media. Multimodality entered the ESP field through a keen interest in the multisemiotic dimensions of digital communication, to the extent that “for some researchers the term multimodality simply seems to signify digital media and texts” (Prior 2013). Yet, multimodality in specialised languages can be considered from a much broader perspective embracing both non-verbal communication in specialised genres as well as the ways in which visual, gestural and audio modes of communication influence and shape cognitive processes in specialised settings. In this respect, while “multimodality” is a much more complex and comprehensive notion, the term “multimediality” bears an explicit reference to the media of communication (cf. Baldry 2000).

Adopting a broad understanding of multimodality and multimediality, this conference seeks to address how different modes and media of communication interact with specialised fields and discourses. We invite proposals in the form of paper abstracts on the following themes and questions.

Specialised discourse analysis:

  • Multimodality and multimediality in the genres produced by a specific discourse community (see, for example, the work of Rowley-Jolivet (2000, 2018) on academic genres)
  • The development of new literacies through the use of new media (Kress 2003)
  • The apt use of modes for the production of discourse in specialised genres
  • The changes wrought by new tools that integrate visual representations of text (Correspondence Analysis, graphs indicating specificities in our practices as discourse analysts) as seen from a methodological standpoint
  • The multimodal dimension of texts in corpora collection and analysis
  • The use of different modes by different discourse communities and specialised fields
  • The use of different modes in fiction to represent various discourse communities and specialised fields


Ethnographic approaches to specialised communities: 

  • The use of combined modes (written, spoken, visual) to accomplish certain specialised tasks (see workplace studies such as Becvar L., Hollan A. J., and Hutchins E., 2005)
  • The use of images, gestures and voices in the field of academic English (Rowley-Jolivet 2000)
  • Multimodal conventions (clothing, gestures, communicative practices) revealed through close observation of a given professional community (Wozniak 2019)
  • The use of multimodal elements to reveal the culture of a given professional or disciplinary community


Didactics for the specialised language classroom:

  • The integration of multimodal media in the language classroom (Plastina 2013)
  • The ways in which the integration of multimodality enables a better consideration of students’ cognitive processes leading to enhanced teaching practices (Lapaire 2014)


Translation studies: 

  • The integration of multimodal constraints by computer-assisted translation tools
  • Ergonomic approaches to translation (taking work space environment, gestures, speech into account) and what they reveal about translation processes in specialised contexts (Lavault-Olléon 2018)


Plenary speakers:

Jean-Rémi Lapaire (Université Montaigne Bordeaux 3)

Anna Plastina (University of Calabria, Italy)

Caroline Rossi (Université Grenoble Alpes)


To submit your proposal, please upload your abstract (500 words), a short biographical note, and full contact information on the website before 1st December 2021. Authors will be informed of the outcomes of the review process by 30th January 2022.



Baldry, A., 2000, Multimodality and multimediality in the distance learning age: papers in English linguistics, Campobasso: Palladino.

Becvar L., Hollan A. J., and E. Hutchins, 2005, Hands as molecules: representational gestures used for developing theory in a scientific laboratory, Semiotica 156, 89-112.

Jewitt, C., 2009, The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis, London: Routledge Falmer.

Kist, W., 2007, Basement new literacies: Dialogue with a first-year teacher, English Journal 97(1), 43-48.

Kress, G. and T. Van Leeuwen, 2001, Multimodal discourse: the Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication, London: Arnold.

Kress, G., 2003, Literacy in the New Media Age, New York: Routledge.

Kress, G., 2011, Multimodal discourse analysis, In Gee, J.P. and M. Handford (ed.)., The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis, New York: Routledge, 35-50.

Lapaire, J.-R., 2010, Grammaire et expression corporelle, Les Langues Modernes 2, 1-9.

Lapaire, J.-R., 2014, À corps perdu ou le mystère de la désincarnation des langues, E-CRINI – La revue électronique du Centre de Recherche sur les Identités Nationales et l’Interculturalité, Nantes : Éditions du CRINI.

Lavault-Olléon, E., 2018, Regard diachronique et prospectif sur un demi-siècle de traductologie pragmatique, ASp 74, 5-26.

Molle, D. and P. Prior, 2008, Multimodal genre systems in EAP writing pedagogy: Reflecting on a needs’ analysis, TESOL Quarterly 42, 541-66.

O’Halloran, K. (ed.), 2006, Multimodal Discourse Analysis: Systemic Functional Perspectives, London and New York: Continuum.

Plastina, A.F., 2013, Multimodality in English for Specific Purposes: Reconceptualizing meaning-making practices, Revista de Lenguas para Fines Especificos 19, 373-396.

Prior, P., 2013, Multimodality and ESP Research, In Paltridge, B. and S. Starfield (ed.), The Handbook of English for Specific Purposes, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

Rowley-Jolivet, E., 2000, Image as Text. Aspects of the shared visual language of scientific conference participants, ASp 27-30, 133-154.

Rowley-Jolivet, E., 2018, The emergence of text-graphics conventions in a medical research journal: The Lancet 1823-2015, ASp 73, 5-24.

Smith, K.A., Sheppard, S.D., Johnson, D.W. and R.T. Johnson, 2005, Pedagogies of engagement: classroom-based practices, Journal of Engineering Education 93(1), 87-101.

Wozniak, S., 2019, Approche ethnographique des langues spécialisées professionnelles, Bern: Peter Lang.



Début :
24 mars
Fin :
26 mars
Catégorie d’évènement:
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Université Grenoble Alpes


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