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Emeritus Professor Theo van Leeuwen


Before becoming an academic, Theo van Leeuwen worked as a film and television producer, scriptwriter and director in his native Holland and in Australia.

He studied linguistics and semiotics at Macquarie and Sydney University and at the CETSAS in Paris.

He has worked at Macquarie University, the University of the Arts (London), and Cardiff University, and lectured at many other Universities throughout the world. He is now Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS.

He has written many books and articles on discourse analysis, visual communication and multimodality. His most recent book is The Language of Colour (Routledge, 2011) and he is currently working on the third edition of Reading Images - The Grammar of Visual Design, co-authored with Gunther Kress, and to be published by Routledge in 2013. He is also editor of the journal Visual Communication.

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Critical discourse analysis
Visual Communication
Collaborator at Multimodal Analysis Lab

Image of Theo van Leeuwen
Casual Academic, University Casual Academics
BA Film & TV, MA, PhD

Research Interests

Social Semiotics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Multimodality

Can supervise: Yes
Research areas • Linguistics • Media and communication studies • New media


van Leeuwen, T. 2011, The Language of Colour: An Introduction, 1, Routledge, London & New York.
Martinec, R. & van Leeuwen, T. 2009, The Language of New Media Design: Theory and Practice, 1, Routledge, UK.
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The Language of New Media Design is an innovative new textbook presenting methods on the design and analysis of a variety of non-linear texts, from websites to CD-Roms. Integrating theory and practice, the book explores a range of models for analyzing and constructing multimedia products. For each model the authors outline the theoretical background and demonstrate usage from students' coursework, commonly available websites and other multimedia products. Assuming no prior knowledge, the book adopts an accessible approach to the subject which has been trialled and tested on MA students at the London College of Communication. Written by experienced authors, this textbook will be an invaluable resource for students and teachers of new media design, information technology, linguistics and semiotics.
van Leeuwen, T. 2008, Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis, 2, Oxford University Press, New York, USA.
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Adding a new introduction and two previously unpublished papers, Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis brings together van Leeuwen's methodological work on discourse analysis of the last 15 years. Discourse, van Leeuwen argues, is a resource for representation, a knowledge about some aspect of reality which can be drawn upon when that aspect of reality has to be represented, a framework for making sense of things. And they are plural. There can be different discourses, different ways of making sense of the same aspect of reality that serve different interests and will therefore be used in different social contexts. However abstract some discourses are, discourses ultimately always represent doings, van Leeuwen argues. Doing is the foundation of knowing, and social practices are the foundation of discourses. Studying children's books, newspaper reports, brochures and other texts, as well as photographs and children's toys, van Leeuwen investigates what can happen when practices are transformed into discourses and provides analytical tools for reconstructing discourses from texts. Throughout the book, van Leeuwen makes connections between sociological and linguistic or semiotic concepts and methods to ensure the social and critical relevance of his analytical categories. van Leeuwen's work has already been widely used by critical discourse analysts across the world. This volume will be a welcome guide for anyone looking for a form of discourse analysis that is both explicit and methodical, and critically incisive.
Machin, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2007, Global Media Discourse: A Critical Introduction, 1, Routledge, London, UK.
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Featuring a wide range of exercises, examples, and images, this textbook provides a practical way of analysing the discourses of the global media industries. Building on a comprehensive introduction to the history and theory of global media communication, specific case studies of lifestyle and entertainment media are explored with examples from films, global women's magazines, Vietnamese news reporting and computer war games. Finally this book investigates how global media communication is produced, looking at the formats, languages and images used in creating media materials, both globally and in localised forms. At a time when the media is becoming increasingly global, often with the same films, news and television programmes shown all over the world; Global Media Discourse provides an accessible, lively introduction into how globalisation is changing the language and communicative practices of the media. Integrating a range of approaches, including political economy, discourse analysis and ethnography, this book will be of particular interest to students of media and communication studies, applied linguistics, and (critical) discourse analysis.
van Leeuwen, T. 2006, Reading Images: the Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, Abingdon, UK.
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, Introducing Social Semiotics, Routledge, London, UK.
Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. 2001, Multimodal Discourse - The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication, Arnold, London, UK.
van Leeuwen, T. 1999, Speech, Music, Sound, Macmillan, London.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1996, Reading Images - The Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, London.
van Leeuwen, T. & Bell, P. 1994, The Media Interview: Confession, Contest, Conversation, UNSW Press, Sydney.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1990, Reading Images, Deakin University Press, Geelong (Vic).
In press:(with Gunther Kress) Reading Images - The Grammar of Visual Design, Second edition, London, Routledge
van Leeuwen, T. & Clark-Duff, D. 1985, A Course in Super-8 Filmmaking, AFTRS, Sydney.


Van Leeuwen, T., Tann, K. & Benn, S.H. 2016, 'The Language of Collaboration: NGOs and Corporations WorkingTogether' in de Silva Joyce, H. (ed), Language at Work: Analysing Language Use in Work, Education, Medicaland Museum Contexts, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, pp. 45-67.
van Leeuwen, T.J. 2014, 'About images and multimodality: A personal account' in Norris, S. & Maier, C.D. (eds), Interactions, Images and Texts: A Reader in Multimodality, Walter De Gruyter, pp. 19-24.
van Leeuwen, T.J. & Djonov, E. 2014, 'Bullet Points, New Writing, and the Marketization of Public Discourse: A Critical Multimodal Perspective' in Djonov, E. & Zhao, S. (eds), Critical Multimodal Studies of Popular Discourse, Routledge, UK, pp. 232-250.
van Leeuwen, T.J. 2014, 'Towards a Semiotics of Listening' in Djonov, E. & Zhao, S. (eds), Critical Multimodal Studies of Popular Discourse, Routledge, UK, pp. 215-263.
van Leeuwen, T.J. 2014, 'Critical discourse analysis and multimodality' in Hart, C. & Cap, P. (eds), Contemporary Critical Discourse Studies, Bloomsbury, UK, pp. 281-296.
van Leeuwen, T.J. & Djonov, E. 2014, 'Kinetic Typography: A Semiotic Exploration' in Semiotics and Visual Communication: Concepts and Practices, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, pp. 150-161.
Djonov, E.N. & van Leeuwen, T. 2013, 'Between the grid and composition: Layout in PowerPoint's design and use', Walter De Gruyter Gmbh, pp. 1-34.
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Ubiquitous software such as PowerPoint has contributed to making layout an important semiotic resource in everyday professional communication. Drawing on developments in the visual arts, graphic design, and social semiotics, this paper presents two centr
Djonov, E.N. & van Leeuwen, T. 2012, 'Normativity and Software: A Multimodal Social Semiotic Approach' in Norris, S. (ed), Multimodality in Practice - Investigating Theory-in-practice-through-methodology, Routledge, London, pp. 119-138.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2012, 'Design, production and creativity' in Rodney Jones (ed), Discourse and Creativity, Longman, London, pp. 133-143.
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Three modes of creativity are described, one based on the concept of design, a form of creativity in which new design formats are developed, and one based on production, a form of creativity in which new modes of performance are developed, and one based on distribution, a form of creativity enabled through a technological innovation. The three modes of creativity are exemplified with musical examples
van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'The semiotics of decoration' in O'Halloran, K.L. & Smith, B.A. (eds), Multimodal Studies - Exploring Issues and Domains, Routledge, London, pp. 115-131.
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In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fuelled by the industrial revolution and the questions it raised about the difference between handmade and machine-made objects, were intense debates about the nature of decoration and its place relative to, on the one hand, non-decorated objects and on the other hand, the arts.
van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'Multimodality' in James Simpson (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics, Routledge, London, pp. 668-683.
van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'Discourse Semiotics' in van Dijk, T.A. (ed), Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction, Vol. 2, Sage, London, pp. 107-125.
van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'Multimodality and Multimodal Analysis' in Margolis, E. & Pauwels, L. (eds), The Sage Handbook of Visual Research Methods, Sage, London, pp. 168-177.
van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'Rhythm and multimodal semiosis' in Dreyfus, S., Hood, S. & Stenglin, M. (eds), Semiotic margins: Meaning in multimodalities, Continuum, London, UK, pp. 168-177.
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I once heard the jazz bassist and composer Marcus Miller explain how he composed the score for the film 'Siesta', in 1987, laying a bass line first, the using a synthesiser to build up the percussion, layer by layer. At the end of that process, he realised there was something missing. The rhythm was all too mechanical. So he engaged a drummer to play a single drum in the studio, on top of the tracks he has already laid. What next, he then asked himself. I like Herbie Hancocks chords, I'll put some of those in. It was at this point that I had a revelation. I had always seen harmony as the language of Western music, and harmonic structure as its basic sources of textual development, whether in Beethoven, Broadway or the Beatles. But to Marcus Miller chords were just some added spicing, some added colour. It dawned on me that in multimodal texts any semiotic mode can in principle either provide the basic structure of remain incidental, fragmented, providing, here and there, some added colour.
van Leeuwen, T. & Usama, S. 2010, ''Globalizing the Local: The Case of an Egyptian Superhero Comic' and 'Global Media and the Regime of Lifestyle'' in Coupland, N. (ed), The Handbook of Language and Globalization, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp. 232-255.
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This magazine appears in forty-three different languages and is produced by local editors, but remains under tight control from the Hearst Corporation in New York. We translated and analyzed articles on sexuality and women's careers; we interviewed local editors and readers in ten countries; and we found that the local versions of the magazine followed much the same agenda - all propagate the independent, freedom-loving 'fun, fearless' Cosmo woman. The visual style and generic structure of the articles (and of the magazine as a whole) were also near-identical in all the versions we studied (only the Japanese version had a different format).
van Leeuwen, T. 2010, 'Music as Discourse' in de Cilla, R., Gruber, H., Krzynanowski, M. & Menz, F. (eds), Discourse, Politics, Identity, Stauffenburg Verlag, Tubingen, pp. 221-229.
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Linguistically inspired approaches to the semiotics of music have generally described music as an abstract system of tonal and temporal relations, 'Music, by itself, signifies nothing', Nattiez (1971: 8), echoing Stravinsky's [1936] categorical denial of musical meaning. Such views aptly describe a particular early 20th century formalist approach to music.
van Leeuwen, T. 2010, 'Vox humana: The Instrumental Representation of the Human Voice' in Neumark, N., Gibson, R. & van Leeuwen, T. (eds), Voice: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media, MIT Press, Cambridge, MASS, pp. 5-15.
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I am a jazz pianist and church organ player as well as an academic. Two years ago I bought a new digital piano, a Roland RD300-SX. Its hundreds of voices imitate the whole range of traditional musical instruments, but also include "human voices": Aah Choirs and Oooh Choirs, Jazz Scat, Space Voices, and more. As a church organ player, I knew this was nothing new. Church organs have included vox humana ("human voice") stops for centuries. I became intrigued. Is there a continuity between analog and digital musical representations of the human voice, or has digitality introduced a new dimension? It is this question that I will explore in this chapter.
van Leeuwen, T. 2008, 'Metaphors of Voice Quality' in Schlunke, K. & Anderson, N. (eds), Cultural Theory in Everyday Practice, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 268-276.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2008, 'Space in Discourse' in Len Unsworth (ed), Multimodal Semiotics, Continuum, London, UK, pp. 34-49.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2008, 'Choice' in Knudsen, S.V. & Aamotsbakken, B. (eds), Tekst som flytter grenser, Novus Forlag, Oslo, Norway, pp. 31-41.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2008, 'News genres' in Wodak, R. & Koller, V. (eds), Handbook of Communication in the Public Sphere, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, Germany, pp. 343-362.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2006, 'War Rhetoric' in Elsevier Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, Elsevier, The Netherlands, pp. 516-520.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2006, 'Word and Image' in Keith Brown (ed), Elsevier Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, Elsevier, UK, pp. 624-628.
van Leeuwen, T. 2006, 'Critical Discourse Analysis' in Keith Brown (ed), Elsevier Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, Elsevier, UK, pp. 290-294.
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'Multimodality, Genre and Design' in Norris, S. & Jones, R.H. (eds), Discourse in Action - Introducing mediated discourse analysis, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 73-94.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'A New Agenda for (Critical) Discourse Analysis', Benjamins, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 3-19.
van Leeuwen, T. 2004, 'Ten Reasons Why Linguists Should Pay Attention to Visual Communication' in Levine, P. & Scollon, R. (eds), Discourse and Technology - Multimodal Discourse Analysis, Georgetown University Press, Washington DC, USA, pp. 7-20.
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van Leeuwen, T. & Caldas-Coulthard, C. 2004, 'The Semiotics of Kinetic Design' in Banks, D. (ed), Text and Texture - Systemic Functional viewpoints on the nature and structure of text, L'Harmattan, Paris, France, pp. 356-381.
van Leeuwen, T. 2004, 'Metalanguage in Social Life' in Jaworski, A., Coupland, N. & Galasinski, D. (eds), Metalanguage - Social and Ideological Perspectives, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, Germany, pp. 107-131.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2003, 'A Multimodal Perspective on Composition' in Ensink, T. & Sauer, C. (eds), Framing and Perspectivising in Discourse, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 23-61.
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Caldas-Coulthard, C. & van Leeuwen, T. 2002, 'Stunning, Shimmering, Iridescent: Toys as the Representation of Gendered Social Actors' in Litosseliti, L. & Sunderland, J. (eds), Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis, Benjamins, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 91-108.
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Gender and discourse interface in many more epistemological sites than can be represented in one collection. Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis therefore focuses on a principled diversity of key sites within four broad areas: the media, sexuality, education and parenthood. The different chapters together illustrate how taking a discourse perspective facilitates understanding of the complex and subtle ways in which gender is represented, constructed and contested through language. The book engages critically with long-running and on-going debates, but also reflects and develops current understandings of gender, identity and discourse, particularly the shift from 'gender differences' to the discoursal shaping of gender. Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis thus offers not only insights and methodologies of new empirical studies but also careful theorisations, in particular of discourse, text, identity and gender. The collection is a valuable resource for researchers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates working in the area of gender and discourse.
van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'Visual Racism' in Reisigl, M. & Wodak, R. (eds), The Semiotics of Racism- Approaches in Critical Discourse Analysis, Passagen Verlag, Vienna, Austria, pp. 333-350.
van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'The construction of purpose in discourse' in Sarangi, S. & Coulthard, M. (eds), Discourse and Social Life, Longman, London, UK.
van Leeuwen, T. & Meinhof, U. 2000, 'Viewers' worlds: image, music, text and the Rock 'n' Roll Years' in Meinhof, U.H. & Smith, J. (eds), Intertextuality and the Media - From genre to everyday life, Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK.
van Leeuwen, T. 1999, 'Heteroglosia programada: analisis critico de un interfaz de ordenadores' in Martin Rojo, L. & Whittaker, R. (eds), Poder-decir o el poder de los discursos, Arrecife, Madrid.
van Leeuwen, T. 1999, 'Discourses of Unemployment in New Labour Britain' in Wodak, R. & Ludwig, C. (eds), Challenges in a Changing World - Issues in Critical Discourse Analysis, Passagen Verlag, Vienna.
van Leeuwen, T. & Wodak, R. 1999, 'Politische, rechtliche and burokratische Legitimation von einwanderungskontrolle: Eine diskurs-historische analyse' in Kossek, B. (ed), Gegen-Rassismen, Argument Verlag, Hamburg.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1999, 'Representation and Interaction: Designing the Position of the Viewer' in Jaworski, A. & Coupland, N. (eds), The Discourse Reader, Routledge, London.
van Leeuwen, T. & Selander, S. 1999, 'Vad gör en text' in Säfström, C.A. & Östman, L. (eds), Textanalys, Studentlitteratur, Lund.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1998, 'Frontpages: The (Critical) Analysis of Newspaper Layout' in Bell, A. & Garrett, P. (eds), Approaches to Media Discourse, Blackwell, Oxford.
van Leeuwen, T. 1998, 'Emotional Times; The Music of The Piano' in Coyle, R. (ed), Screen Scores, AFTRS, Sydney.
van Leeuwen, T. 1998, 'M.A.K.Halliday' in Bouissac, P. (ed), Encyclopedia of Semiotics, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, pp. 278-280.
van Leeuwen, T. 1998, 'Music' in Bouissac, P. (ed), Encyclopedia of Semiotics, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, pp. 429-432.
van Leeuwen, T., Kress, G. & Leite-Garcia, R. 1997, 'Discourse Semiotics' in van Dijk, T.A. (ed), Discourse as Structure and Process, Sage, London.
van Leeuwen, T. 1997, 'Media in Education' in Wodak, R. & Corson, D. (eds), Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 1: Language Policy and Political Issues in Education, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
van Leeuwen, T. 1997, 'Taste in the framework of a semiotics of materiality' in Piroëlle, A. (ed), La représentation sociale du goût, Prism, Dijon.
van Leeuwen, T. 1996, 'The Representation of Social Actors' in Rosa Caldas-Coulthard, C. & Coulthard, M. (eds), Texts and Practices - Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis, Routledge, London.
van Leeuwen, T. & Humphrey, S. 1996, 'On learning to look through a geographer's eyes' in Hasan, R. & Williams, G. (eds), Literacy in Society, Longman, London.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1996, 'Reading Images' in Cobley, P. (ed), The Communication Theory Reader, Routledge, London.
van Leeuwen, T. 1996, 'Moving English: The visual language of film' in Goodman, S. & Graddol, D. (eds), Redesigning English - New Texts, New Identities, Routledge, London.
van Leeuwen, T. 1991, 'Rhythm and Social Context' in Tench, P. (ed), Studies in Systemic Phonology, Frances Pinter, London.
van Leeuwen, T. 1988, 'Changed Times, Changed Tunes: Music and the Ideology of the News' in Tulloch, J. & Turner, G. (eds), Australian Television: Programs, Pleasures and Politics, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
van Leeuwen, T. 1985, 'The Producer, the Consumer and the State: Analysis of a Television News Item' in Threadgold, T., Grosz, E.A., Kress, G. & Halliday, M.A.K. (eds), Semiotics, Ideology, Language, Pathfinder Press, Sydney.
van Leeuwen, T. 1984, 'Rhythmic Structures of the Film Text'' in van Dijk, T.A. (ed), Discourse and Communication - New Approaches to the Analysis of Mass Media Discourse and Communication, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin.

Journal articles

van Leeuwen, T. & Djonov, E. 2015, 'Notes towards a semiotics of kinetic typography', SOCIAL SEMIOTICS, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 244-253.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2015, 'Multimodality in Education: Some Directions and Some Questions', TESOL Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 582-589.
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Zhao, S. & Van Leeuwen, T. 2014, 'Understanding semiotic technology in university classrooms: a social semiotic approach to PowerPoint-assisted cultural studies lectures', Classroom Discourse, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 71-90.
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In this paper, we propose a social semiotic approach to studying PowerPoint in university classrooms. Our approach is centred on two premises: (1) PowerPoint is a semiotic technology that can be integrated into the pedagogical discourse of classrooms, and (2) PowerPoint technology encompasses three interrelated dimensions of social semiotic practices: the design of the software, the composition of the slides and the slideshow-supported presentations, i.e. lectures. Using this approach, we explore how PowerPoint has been used in seven cultural studies lectures in an Australian university. Our analysis demonstrates how multimodal resources in PowerPoint have been used for pedagogic recontextualisation. More specifically, it shows how different semiotic resources have been deployed and combined to recontextualise two key types of knowledge – signifying practice and subjectivity – in the classroom discursive space, and how different strengths of pedagogic framing are achieved multimodally
Zhao, S., Djonov, E. & van Leeuwen, T. 2014, 'Semiotic technology and practice: a multimodal social semiotic approach to PowerPoint', Text & Talk, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 349-375.
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Meyer, R.W., Hollerer, M., Jancsary, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2013, 'The Visual Dimension in Organizing, Organization, and Organization Research: Core Ideas, Current Developments, and Promising Avenues', Academy of Management Annals, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 487-553.
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With the unprecedented rise in the use of visuals, and its undeniable omnipresence in organizational contexts, as well as in the individual's everyday life, organization and management science has recently started to pay closer attention to the to date u
van Leeuwen, T., Djonov, E.N. & O'Halloran, K.L. 2013, 'David Byrne really does love PowerPoint: art as research on semiotics and semiotic technology', Social Semiotics, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 409-423.
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This article presents a reading of David Byrne's Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, an art work created with MicroSoft's presentation software PowerPoint, as an instance of creative research on semiotics and semiotic technology. It reveal
van Leeuwen, T. 2012, 'The Critical Analysis of Musical Discourse', Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 319-328.
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The issue opens with a paper with argues that music can and should be analyzed as discourse, and then moves to five examples of such analysis, a paper on fascist music, a paper on protest music in present-day Iran, a paper on Scottish sectarianism as expressed in folk songs, a paper on the work of Morrissey as manifesting a counter-hegemonic stance on social class, and a paper on the use of music in fashion stores,
van Leeuwen, T. 2012, 'The critical analysis of musical discourse', CRITICAL DISCOURSE STUDIES, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 319-328.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'Discourse and Technology', Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 6.3, pp. 379-392.
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7he paper discusses three aspects of the relation between discourse and technology. The first is the influence of new communication technologies on the agenda oflinguistics and discourse analysis. The beginning of radio broadcasting led to new theories of intonation and the beginning of television created an interest in linguistically inspired approaches to non-verbal communication. The second is the use of technologies as tools for discourse analysis. The move from film to the tape recorder and the subsequent birth of conversation analysis diminished the earlier interest in non-verbal communication, while today corpus linguistics challenges approaches that focus on the analysis of single, whole texts. Finally, contemporary software not only builds in spelling and grammar rules, but also text structure rules (templates), and systematic options for the use of layout, typography, colour, animation and other non-linguistic means of expression, leading to a renewed interest in multimodality. The paper concludes with the view that considerations of technology should be integrated with discourse analysis and cites the work of Ron and Suzie Scallon as an early example of this approach.
Djonov, E.N. & van Leeuwen, T. 2011, 'The semiotics of texture: from tactile to visual', Visual Communication, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 541-564.
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The term `texture is often applied beyond the tactile, to describe visual and aural qualities. While tactile, visual and aural texture have been studied separately in various fields, the relationships between them remain largely unexplored. To address this gap, this article proposes parameters for describing tactile surface texture and visual texture, and compares their meaning-making potential. The authors argue that, as new technologies increasingly limit the role of tactile experience and expand the importance of the visual, there is a growing need to study the influence of ubiquitous technologies on our use and understanding of the semiotic potential of resources such as texture. They hypothesize about this influence by reviewing the presentation of texture as a fill option for shapes and backgrounds in Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows from 1992 to 2007.
Jakubowicz, A.H. & van Leeuwen, T. 2010, 'The Goldberg Variations 1: Assessing the academic quality of multidimensional linear texts and their re-emergence in multimedia publications', Discourse and Communication, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 361-378.
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After an introduction on the recent history of academic publishing in non-linear media, the article compares two versions of an academic publication by the American sociologist David Theo Goldberg. The two versions deal with the same subject matter, but one is a traditional scholarly article, the other published in an online journal in a non-linear format. While the academic article constructs a tight, linear argument, subordinating a range of themes to a single key theme, the non-linear text gives all themes equal weight, accommodates a greater amount of evidence and documentation, and has more scope for multimodality.
Machin, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2009, 'Toy as discourse: children's war toys and the war on terror', Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 51-64.
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War toys of different eras realize the dominant discourses of war of the time, and they do so in a way which allows children to enact these discourses and values in play. This paper examines war toys over the past 100 years before providing a detailed multimodal analysis of contemporary war toys distributed around the planet, mainly by global American corporations, which teach children about the importance of the quick decisive strike, the role of the team and the morality of technology. Through this they convey how conflicts are resolved in today's world, and why. Early on children are recruited not just into the war on terror but also the values of corporate capitalism. The paper ends by looking at some ethnographic data where children play with guns.
van Leeuwen, T. 2009, 'The world according to Playmobil', Semiotica: journal of the international association for semiotic studies, vol. 2009, no. 173, pp. 299-315.
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This article looks at toys for very small children, an object of study that has been pursued in psychoanalysis (by Freud and Erikson, for example), but all too infrequently in semiotics. Specifically, it analyzes the social roles and identities called into play by the highly successful Playmobil figurines. In the Hallidayan tradition, the investigation foregrounds the importance of roles and actors in semiosis, paying close attention to roles/actors that are excluded as well as those that are included. As the essay argues, semiotic systems are always a mixture of affordance and constraint. Playmobil (in contrast to Lego, for example) is shown to be stronger on constraints than affordances, however. As a global brand and genre, the figures of Playmobil have the potential to influence nascent perceptions of the way that social actors operate.
van Leeuwen, T. 2009, 'In memorium - Ron Scollon (1939-2009)', DISCOURSE & COMMUNICATION, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 229-230.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2009, 'Discourse and technology', Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 379-392.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2008, 'New forms of writing, new visual competencies', Visual Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 130-135.
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This article discusses two crucial issues in the social semiotics of visual communication. The first is the move from accounts of specific semiotic modes towards an integrated multimodal approach to visual communication in which the analysis of images becomes less central than the analysis of semiotic resources such as composition, movement and colour, which are common to a range of semiotic modes including images, graphics, typography, fashion, product design, exhibition design and architecture. The second is a new emphasis on the discourses, practices and technologies that regulate the use of semiotic resources, and on studying the take-up of semiotic resources by users in relation to these regulatory discourses, practices and technology. Here, the article will discuss a number of semiotic 'regimes', including codification, tradition, expertise, best practice or role modelling, and technological control. The article ends with a discussion of the way normative discourses are built into the latest visual communication technologies (e.g. PowerPoint, HTML, Photoshop, Illustrator) and an affirmation of the need for a critical and well-contextualised semiotics of visual technology.
van Leeuwen, T. 2007, 'Legitimation in discourse and communication', Discourse & Communication, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 91-112.
Refereed article The article sets out a framework for analyzing how legitimation is constructed in discourse. Four categories are distinguished: authorization, moral evaluation, rationalization and mythopoesis. Examples concern the legitimation of compulsory education in a variety of texts including teacher training texts, brochures for parents and children's books
van Leeuwen, T. 2007, 'Sound and vision', Visual Communication, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 136-146.
Experimenting with page layout as a discursive mode, this visual essay offers a brief history of the idea of immersion. It then pays particular attention to the role of sound in immersive experience
van Leeuwen, T. 2006, 'Towards a semiotics of typography', Information Design Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 139-155.
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van Leeuwen, T. 2006, 'Translation, Adaptation, Globalisation: The Vietnam News', Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 217-237.
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The Vietnam News is an English language daily newspaper produced on behalf of the Vietnamese Government, as part of its market reform policies. Drawing on an analysis of 100 translations from the Vietnamese press and their rewrites by the paper's foreign sub-editors, as well as on interviews with sub-editors and journalist-translators working at the Vietnam News, the article documents the translation and adaptation decisions that constitute the process of globalizing the discourse of the Vietnamese press in this particular instance. Three kinds of decisions are discussed in turn: translation decisions affecting the English used, translation/adaptation decisions affecting journalistic style, and translation/adaptation decisions affecting cultural and ideological references in the source texts. The article ends by asking whether the Vietnamese press is best served by closely following the Anglo-Australian model, as it does at present, or by developing its own distinct local style
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'Time in Discourse', Linguistics and the Human Sciences, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 125-143.
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The paper presents a systemic-functional description of English discursive resources for representing and regulating the timing of social practices. Four key categories are distinguished: the time summons, which imposes timing on social activities by decree; social synchronization, in which the timing of social activities is synchronized with the timing of other social activities; natural synchronization, in which the timing of social activities is synchronized with the timing of natural events; and mechanical synchronization, in which the timing of social activities is synchronized with the timing of artificially created events. A number of more delicate categories and other aspects of timing are discussed, together with their realizations. Two texts are analyzed to demonstrate the utility of this descriptive framework for the critical discourse analysis of texts in which the management of time is a key issue.
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, ''Discurso Critico e genero no Munod Infantil: Brinquedos e a representacao de Atores Sociais', Linguagem em (Dis)curso, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 11-35.
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'Computer games as political discourse: the case of Black Hawk Down', Journal of Language and Politics, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 119-143.
van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'Typographic Meaning', Visual Communication, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 137-142.
van Leeuwen, T. & Machin, D. 2005, 'Language Style and Life Style', Media, Culture and Society, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 577-600.
Machin, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2005, 'Language style and lifestyle: the case of a global magazine', MEDIA CULTURE & SOCIETY, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 577-+.
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Machin, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2004, 'Global Media: Generic Homogeneity and Discursive Diversity', Continuum, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 99-120.
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This paper forms part of a larger study in which we investigate the notion that the formats of global media output are increasingly homogeneous while the discursive construction of their content is increasingly localized. In other words, the strategy is that of McDonalds. McDonalds may sell sushiburgers in Japan and curryburgers in India, but burgers remain burgers, and it is in their burger-ness, in the burger format, that the essence of their global cultural significance must be looked for. Like burgers, media formats are not value free, not mere containers, but key technologies for the dissemination of the global corporate ethos. In this paper we will concentrate mainly on the issue of global generic homogeneity. In a companion paper, to appear in the Journal of Sociolinguistics, we will explore the local aspect, discursive diversity. But the relation between the two is crucial, and will be stressed in both papers. We are aware that even if, in this paper, homogeneity will receive somewhat more emphasis than diversity, that local inflections are equally as relevant.
van Leeuwen, T. & Jaworski, A. 2003, 'The discourses of war photography: Photojournalistic representations of the Palestinian-Israeli war', Journal of Language and Politics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 255-275.
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Photography has a long history of (de-)legitimation of wars. In this paper we examine the visual rhetoric of two newspapers, the British Guardian and the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza in their representation of the Palestinian-Israeli war in October 2000. Although both newspapers have access to the same (agency) photographs, their images differ. Both papers show the Palestinians to be the main victims of the war. However, Gazeta Wyborcza depicts the Palestinians predominantly as terrorists and deflects any military responsibility from the Israelis by not including any photographs of the Israeli soldiers. The Guardian shows the Palestinians predominantly as romanticised, lone heroes against the Israeli military might, although the Israeli military force is vague and de-personalised. Furthermore, both newspapers differ in their representation of the war in political terms choosing different images of local and international politicians.
Machin, D. & van Leeuwen, T. 2003, 'Global schemas and local discourses in Cosmopolitan', Journal of Sociolinguistics, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 493-512.
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This paper investigates the representation of female identity and practice in the U.K., Dutch, German, Spanish, Greek, Finnish, Indian and Taiwanese versions of Cosmopolitan magazine. It shows how a problemsolution discourse schema underlies a range of articles that do not all use a problemsolution genre. While this schema is clearly global and occurs in all the versions of the magazine, it allows for local variation in terms of the kinds of problems and solutions it can accommodate. The schema is described as an interpretive framework which constructs social life as an individual struggle for survival in a world of risky and unstable relationships. The community of readers of the magazine is described as a globally dispersed and linguistically heterogeneous speech community which nevertheless shares an involvement with the same modalities and genres of language and the same linguistic constructions of reality and which can signify its allegiance to the values of the magazine through dress, grooming and other behaviours.
Caldas-Coulthard, C. & van Leeuwen, T. 2003, 'Teddy Bear Stories', Social Semiotics, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 5-27.
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This paper presents a semiotic analysis of a key cultural artefact, the teddy bear. After introducing the iconography of the teddy bear, it analyses different kinds of stories to show how teddy bears are endowed with meaning in everyday life: stories from children's books, reminiscences by adults about their childhood teddy bears, and children's accounts of what they do with their teddy bears, both written for school and told 'out of school'. The paper sees teddy bears as artefacts that provide a cultural channelling for the child's need of a transitional object, and argues that the meanings of teddy bears have traditionally centred on interpersonal relations within the nuclear family, but have recently been institutionalised and commercialised.
Wodak, R. & van Leeuwen, T. 2002, 'Discourses of un/employment in Europe: The Austrian Case', Text & Talk (Print Edition): an interdisciplinary jou..., vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 345-367.
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This article deals with the discursive construction of unemployment in Austria, through an analysis of speeches by former Chancellor Klima and reports in the Austrian press. It is a companion to an earlier paper investigating the same issues in the UK. Both deal with left-wing governments who, in the European context, are proposing economic change and developing and adapting a range of legitimation devices and rhetorical strategies to this end. There are clear similarities, which can be traced back to European policies, but there are also local accents. In the UK there is a greater emphasis on economic issues and `moral underclass discourse, while in Austria there is more emphasis on political-cum-ideological issues.
Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. 2002, 'Colour as a semiotic mode: notes for a grammar of colour', Visual Communication, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 343-369.
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This article presents a brief review of several approaches of 'grammar', as the basis for a discussion of culturally produced regularities in the uses of colour; that is, the possibility of extending the use of 'grammar' to colour as a communicational resource. Colour is discussed as a semiotic resource - a mode, which, like other modes, is multifunctional in its uses in the culturally located making of signs. The authors make some use of the Jakobson/Halle theory of 'distinctive features', highlighting as signifier-resources those of differentiation, saturation, purity, modulation, value and hue. These are treated as features of a grammar of colour rather than as features of colour itself. The article demonstrates its theoretical points through the analysis of several examples and links notions of 'colour schemes' and 'colour harmony' into the social and cultural concept of grammar in the more traditional sense.
van Leeuwen, T. 2001, 'What is authenticity?', Discourse Studies, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 392-397.
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Caldas-Coulthard, C. & van Leeuwen, T. 2001, 'Baby's first toys and the Discursive Construction of Babyhood', Folia Linguistica, vol. 35, no. 1-2, pp. 157-182.
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The material qualities and kinetic possibilities and limitations of toys and other objects for small children create a specific cultural microcosm. Within the confines of this environment, as facilitated and mediated by parents or other carers, children explore and develop their cognitive and motor abilities, and become specific kinds of socio-cultural actors, with specific kinds of subjectivities. In this study we investigate this process with respect to toys which enters the lives of many babies from the very beginning. We look at discourses of childhood and parenting. We examined the way baby toys are given meaning in the verbal and verbal-visual texts on their packaging, in advertisements, and in parenting magazines and books. We ask the following questions: ? Which of the toys' potential meanings and uses are made explicit, which are not? ? What kinds of activities with the toys are proposed? ? What purposes are ascribed to these activities, and to the toys themselves? We try to show how the same toy can be used to articulate different discourses, for instance a discourse of play as carefree fun' and a discourse of play as serious 'developmental' work, and how such discourses highlight different aspects of the toys, and prescribe or suggest different ways of using them. Our aim here is to investigate which of the baby toys' potential meanings and uses are made or not made explicit in the texts we look at and the kinds of activities proposed with the toys. We are also interested in the purposes ascribed to these activities and to the toys themselves. We explore how baby toys can be used and we begin to explore how society says they should be used. Our main thesis is that 'babyhood', is socially and culturally constructed not only in texts and images, but also in other multimodal representations such as toys. And these communicative practices help to reinforce particular constructions of babyhood that should be at least discussed, if not challenged.
van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'Some notes on visual semiotics', Semiotica: journal of the international association for semiotic studies, vol. 129-1, no. 4, pp. 179-195.
van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'Programmed heteroglossia', Information Technology, Education and Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 7-23.
Also in S. Selander, M. Tooley and S. Lorentzen, eds (2002) New Educational Media and Textbooks, Stockholm, Stockholm Institute of Education Press
van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'It Was Just Like Magic - A Multimodal Analysis of Children's Writing', Linguistics and Education, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 273-305.
Van Leeuwen, T. 2000, 'Some notes on visual semiotics (Martine Joly, 'Introduction a l'analyse de l'image', 1993 and L' 'Image et les signes', 1994)', SEMIOTICA, vol. 129, no. 1-4, pp. 179-195.
van Leeuwen, T. & Wodak, R. 1999, 'Legitimizing immigration control: a discourse- historical analysis', Discourse Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 83-119.
van Leeuwen, T. 1998, 'Music and Ideology - Notes toward a Sociosemiotics of Mass Media Music', Popular Music and Society, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 25-55.
van Leeuwen, T. & Thibault, P. 1996, 'Grammar, Society and the Speech Act: Renewing the Connections', Journal of Pragmatics, vol. 25, pp. 561-585.
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van Leeuwen, T. 1995, 'Representing Social Action', Discourse and Society, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 87-107.
van Leeuwen, T. 1995, 'Critical Layout Analysis', Internationale Schulbuchforschung, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 25-43.
van Leeuwen, T. & Selander, S. 1995, 'Picturing 'our' heritage in the pedagogic text', Journal of Curriculum Studies, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 501-523.
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van Leeuwen, T. 1993, 'Genre and field in critical discourse analysis: a synopsis', Discourse and Society, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 192-223.
van Leeuwen, T. 1993, 'The Revelatory Interview', Social Semiotics, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 70-97.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1991, 'Trampling all over our unspoiled spot: Barthes' 'punctum' and the politics of the extra-semiotic', Southern Review, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 27-38.
van Leeuwen, T. & Kress, G. 1991, 'Structures of Visual Representation', Journal of Literary Semantics, vol. xxi, no. 2, pp. 91-117.
van Leeuwen, T. 1991, 'The Schoolbook as a Multimodal Text', Internationale Schulbuchforschung, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 35-58.
van Leeuwen, T. 1990, 'Conjunctive Structure in Documentary Film and Television', Continuum, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 76-115.
van Leeuwen, T. 1990, 'The Sociosemiotics of Easy Listening Music', Social Semiotics, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 67-80.
van Leeuwen, T. 1987, 'Music and Ideology: Towards a Sociosemiotics of Mass Media Music', SASSC Working Papers, vol. 2, no. 1-2, pp. 19-55.
van Leeuwen, T. 1986, 'Generic Strategies in Press Journalism', Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 199-220.
van Leeuwen, T. 1985, 'Proxemics of the Television Interview', Australian Journal of Screen Theory, vol. 17/18, pp. 125-141.
van Leeuwen, T. 1984, 'Persuasive Speech: The Intonation of the Live Radio Commercial', Australian Journal of Communication, vol. 7, no. 25, p. 35.
van Leeuwen, T. 1983, 'Impartial Speech: Observations on the Intonation of Radio Newsreaders', Australian Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 84-98.
van Leeuwen, T. 1982, 'Levels of Formality in the Television Interview', Australian Journal of Screen Theory, vol. 13/14, pp. 56-69.