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BOOK NOTICES 203 studying language use in its interactive contexts, considerably less attention has been paid to communication which involves both visuals and language. With his 1983 Habilitationsschrift from the University of Tübingen, Muckenhaupt attempts to close this gap. M's main goal is to describe the communicative functions and limitations of language and visuals as means of interaction. Such a task involves analyzing both the differences and similarities of verbal and visual communication, as well as the ways in which they are interrelated. For this purpose, M presents a theory of the usage of text and picture, from which he develops a method for analyzing textual/visual communication, which is finally applied to the comprehension of television news. After a brief introduction (1-15), Ch. 2, 'Der Gegenstandsbezug von sprachlichen Ausdr ücken und Bildern als Ausgangspunkt für Untersuchungen von Text und Bild' (16-30), is a critical review of various approaches to how expressions and/or pictures are related to objects , facts, or 'concepts' in the real world (e.g. Cassirer, Peirce, Morris, Langer, Goodman, Wittgenstein). This review and evaluation of different theories is continued and expanded in Ch. 3, 'Analogische Betrachtungsweisen von Text und Bild' (31-123). Rather than assuming a purely analogous relation between visuals and language , M investigates the extent to which theoretical concepts derived for language analysis can be applied to visuals, and vice versa. The theoretical concepts, or Objects of comparison ', which he examines increase in complexity —names, predicates, sentences, and, finally, textual functions. M shows, for instance, that pictures are similar to language when used for naming and describing objects, persons, or events. By contrast, pictures have only a limited use for expressing predicates and sentences. While Chs. 2 and 3 focus on the comparison of visuals and forms of linguistic expressions, Ch. 4, 'Grundzüge einer funktionalen Betrachtung von sprachlichen Ausdrucken und Bildern' (124-244), stresses the communicative functions of language and visuals. Here M shows how language use is rule-governed by analyzing in detail the structure of a speech-act sequence which consists of 'blaming' and possible responses , (e.g. justifying, apologizing, and refuting ). His analysis of the use of pictures in an election campaign spot illustrates how visuals modify and expand on the possibilities for communicative action ('kommunikativer Handlungsspielraum '). However, one difference between language and visuals is that language can be used to reflect on itself, but visuals cannot. Also in Ch. 4, M develops a typology, based on different levels ofcommunication, of visuals/ language combinations in television news. For example, a film may depict the reporting scene by showing the newscaster, or it may function on the level of what is being reported by showing the newsworthy events. This typology is applied in Ch. 5, 'Text-BildZusammenh änge verstehen: Probleme des Verstehens am Beispiel der Fernsehberichterstattung ' (245-371), where M tries to explain why viewers have difficulties understanding TV news. He does so by formulating a set of information -specific maxims which have to be adhered to in successful (news) reporting. Thus, although mass communication is unidirectional, M views news reporting in terms of dialogic communication; that is, the producers of news may anticipate problems of comprehension and try to avoid them. M concludes this chapter with proposals for improving TV news reporting. His main point is that news should incorporate more elements that are typical of everyday dialogue, such as relating news events to one another instead of merely stating them, announcing the structure of the news show, or identifying the news speakers by their name. While readers familiar with U.S. television news may find some of M's practical suggestions self-evident and superfluous, they may nevertheless gain valuable insights from this study. Those interested in theoretical and hermeneutic questions related to communication with language and/or pictures will find substantial food for thought in Chs. 2 and 3. Those interested in more practical questions will find Ch. 5 and the necessary methodological foundation in Ch. 4 especially useful. [Ingrid Pufahl, Georgetown University.] Children's language, Vol. 6. Ed. by Keith E. Nelson and Anne van Kleeck. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1987. Pp. xviii, 346. The broad array oftopics covered by this volume...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 203-205
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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