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Technology, Ideology and Practice in Applied Linguistics - Revisiting Multimodality

Applied linguistics, in probing into the changing modes of communication, refined the methods of...

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Dr Hayat Al-Khatib
21 June 2010

Applied linguistics, in probing into the changing modes of communication, refined the methods of enquiry to include not only the message and the accompanying ideologies but also the latest perspectives associated with multimodal signaling. The overaching concern that is materializing is the view on the threats posed by technology supported language practices in Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) to "standard English".

In trying to capture the distinctive features of multimodal communication, competing theories have enquired, through descriptions of definitions and practices, into the role of technology and ideology in reforming traditional modes of communication (Abbott, 2002; Bruner, 1986; Ryan, 2006, 2001; Prince, 2003 and Labov, 1981, Sacks, 1992). In an ever developing interest in effective modes of communication, the changing landscape of communication is challenging the way we define, understand and use language, e.g. cloudworks (OU, 2010). Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) reveals how the rapid advance of technology is influencing language to develop new forms in communicating and transmitting messages. Communicative technologies give rise to communicative contexts very different from the ‘canonial’ ones. Technology is offering new spatio-temporal relations between speakers and listeners that are reflected in the language forms used. Hence, new threats to old convictions are emerging.

In the visual domain, English is gaining an iconic dimension. Terms like “semiotics’ (Kress, 2003) and “visual grammars” (Halliday, 2002) are introduced to identify new multimodal forms and functions in communication.  Halliday analyses language use from a functional perspective. He argues that forms in language develop to serve specific functions and ideologies. Written language, as the bearer and preserver of set conventions banks on fixivity; in comparison CMC supported multimodal exchanges have transient and dynamic forms.

Contemporary analysts of language and communication, in the light of new advances of visual technologies and the novice uses of language in transmitting messages are no longer satisfied with the canonical definitions in relation to perspectives on language. The nationalism which Samuel Johnson had worked for so hard through the standardization of English is now endangered by the English of the Global village.  Visual technologies are forcing innovative practices and novel perspectives.

My argument is that the pre-technological canonical concept of language presents one angle of vision that relates to fixivity and set regulations, whereas multimodality brings to language flexibility to convey messages using more than one dimension and opening new horizons of communication. Multimodality is the new hallmark associated with language use in the digital era. Ideological perspectives and culture-specific practices will influence the preferences of language users and offer opportunities for multilayered interpretations of new emerging Englishes.

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Dr Hayat Al-Khatib
11:45am 21 June 2010 (Edited 8:26am 22 June 2010)

Perspectives on multimodality and Standard English

Dr Hayat Al-Khatib
12:15pm 21 June 2010 (Edited 12:49pm 21 June 2010)

Is the nationalism which Samuel Johnson had worked for so hard through the standardization of English  now endangered by the English of the Global village? Are we overlooking the dangers of multimodality to English text proper?

Dr Hayat Al-Khatib
8:31am 22 June 2010

Posted on behalf of a member. Please do not reply to admin@baal

The Centre for Applied Linguistics Research CALR is pleased to announce call for papers for an upcoming special issue of CALR online journal on


New Pedagogic Orientations in ELT: local issues and global trends.




Call for papers


English language teaching has always been the centre of much debate in local as well as global arenas. New orientations to English language teaching have been prone to political interpretations as well as sensitive to challenges posed by cultural and pedagogical issues and problems. CALR special issue on New Pedagogical Orientations in ELT aims to explore local and global influences on the profession, and specifically economic globalization and instrumental inevitability. However, explicit and implicit objectives and deliverables, cultural obstacles, ideological and professional division, and control for quality standards remain at the heart of the consideration.

The main themes include, but are not limited to:

Theoretical grounding and structuralist orientations

Comparative applications in bilingual contexts

Functionalistic trends and stylistics

Language Acquisition

English Linguistics

Pedagogy & Didactics

Classroom Technology

Design of Learning Systems

Classroom & Teaching Strategies

Methods of Evaluation

Multilingual Contexts of ELT



 (Deadline for submission of full paper is August 16, 2010)


Papers should use the following style and the guidelines below.


Recommended length of abstract: 200 words

Recommended length of papers: 3000 words


Consider the following structure when presenting your contribution:

  • title
  • author(s) and e-mail address of each author
  • author's affiliation, address and URL
  • abstract
  • up to six keywords
  • main sections
  • elaboration
  • references
  • acknowledgments



Single line title not longer than 15 words

(specify your main theme)



Author name(s) as follows: first name, extra initials and family name. Add after each name of an author the e-mail address if available. Put the e-mail address [between brackets].


Contributions should be preceded by an abstract of 200 words in English.


List up to six keywords to position your paper.


References should be elaborated according to the APA (American Psychological Association) specifications. References to journals should include the authors' names and initials, title of publication, full name of the journal, publication year, volume, number and starting and ending page.

Size of your contribution

Recommended length of paper is 3000 words. Papers including tables and illustrations should not exceed 8 pages.


Issues of language

The authors are responsible for presenting the paper in good English.

Submission of contributions

Contributions should be sent to

  • Font: Times New Roman (avoid unnecessary bold or italics)
  • Titles: 14 point, lower case, left aligned, no underlining
  • Text: 12 point
  • Spacing: 1.5 lines

Review procedure

All submitted proposals are blind reviewed. You will receive a reply message confirming receipt of your contribution

Copyright policy and responsibilities of authors

Submission of a contribution implies that, unless clearly indicated and all conflicting copyright issues resolved, the content has not been published elsewhere. Authors remain responsible for the content of their submission.


Full paper submission deadline: August 16, 2010

Notification Due, September 1,  2010


The working language is English


Accepted papers will be published



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