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Multimodal corpus analysis of representation of travel destinations: Two methodological approaches

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Posterpeer-review

Publication date2018
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventThe 4th Corpora and Discourse International Conference - Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 22/06/201824/06/2018
Conference number: 4


ConferenceThe 4th Corpora and Discourse International Conference
Abbreviated titleCAD 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


This poster presentation introduces two approaches to multimodal corpus analysis aimed at comparing how two travel destinations, Moscow and London, are represented in tourism discourse of a popular travel website www.tripadvisor.com. In recent years there has been a surge of interest to utilizing multimodal approaches, which consider various expressive resources used for making meaning in texts, for instance, writing, images, layout (Van Leeuwen, 2015), for analysing tourism discourse (e.g. Francesconi, 2011, 2014). However, methodological frameworks for studying the representation of travel destinations in multimodal texts have not received much attention. The project aims at filling this gap by discussing two multimodal approaches to city representation analysis in travel-related texts. Due to the fact that such modes as layout, typography and hypertextual structure are predetermined by the website design and are similar for both cities, the primary concern of the current project is language and images. In both described approaches, corpus linguistics techniques, such as keywords comparison, concordance analysis of keywords, collocation comparison and concordance analysis of collocations, are applied for language analysis in order to search for the salient features of the texts and to compare how the two cities are represented. As for visual analysis, the first option implies a qualitative study of images, which is a popular approach in the field of tourism discourse. In addition to commonly used social semiotics visual analysis (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006), the proposed methodology includes a comparative and interpretative analysis based on Dann’s (1996) framework of visual techniques and Barthes’ (1977) theory of visual semiotics. The advantage of this methodology is that it allows to get deeper insights into what visual elements, structures and techniques are utilized to construct the representation of Moscow and London in the photographs on the website. The drawbacks, however, are that such analysis is time-consuming, consequently, only a limited number of images can be studied. The second approach combines the aforementioned corpus linguistics methods with an analogous visual mode analysis based on tagging images with topic words and comparing frequencies of the topic words across the corpora. This stage is aimed at identifying patterns in the use of images for representing travel destinations and comparing them between the two corpora. In addition, the analysis of how the images are used in context, namely, which texts they accompany, is proposed to interpret the patterns. This methodology can be applied to a larger number of multimodal texts and allows the exploration of similarities and differences in the representation of the two cities. Therefore, the two approaches complement each other and can be used individually or in combination depending on the time limit and research aims. The project is a further step in the development of multimodal corpus approaches to the study of the representation of travel destinations in tourism discourse.