A Multimodal Discourse Analysis of BBC Documentary Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth

Ruihua Nai, Hanita Hassan


With the rapid development of multimedia and the internet, traditional discourse analysis, which only studies text, is gradually transferred to multimodal discourse analysis (MDA), studying image, language, color, sound, etc. Informed by Systemic Functional Linguistics, this paper tries making a multimodal discourse analysis of the BBC documentary Chinese New Year: The Biggest Celebration on Earth (CNY). Based on Kress & Van Leeuwen’s Visual Grammar and Zhang Delu’s visual-verbal Inter-semiotic relations, the paper examines how different semiotic modes combine to provide meaning in a documentary. After a synthesis analysis, it is concluded that the employment of various modes in this dynamic discourse contributes to the spreading of Chinese culture and the representation of “Cultural China” image. It is hoped that this paper will provide a new perspective for the semiotic studies of documentaries. The study's importance lies in demonstrating how numerous modes and sub-modes are employed in the source domains as part of a larger persuasion campaign to skew public perceptions of China. Additionally, we look at the metaphorical implications.


Keywords: multimodal discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, BBC documentary.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.55463/hkjss.issn.1021-3619.60.40


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