Multimodal meaning-making of aggression in English song narrative: A cognitive-pragmatic perspective

Keywords: aggression, cognitive pragmatics, concept, multimodality, musical clip, narrative, meaning-making


This article addresses cognitive and pragmatic aspects of the multimodal meaning-making of AGGRESSION in the English song narrative. The cognitive-pragmatic foundations integrate cognitive and pragmatic aspects with multimodal ones, which allows to explain how signs of different modes and semiotic resources instantiate the concept and which cognitive features are decisive for (re)construction of meaning by performers and viewers. Cognitive features have verbal and non-verbal implementation through visual and auditory modes. The verbal semiotic resource, implemented through auditory and visual modes, contains lexical and pragmatic means of direct/indirect realization of aggression. Lexical means include words that name/describe/express aggression, as well as lexemes that acquire the aggressive meaning in a certain context. Pragmatic means are represented by expressive statements realizing threat, order, reproach, and accusation. The non-verbal semiotic resource is also represented through both modes and is characterized by semiotic heterogeneity, including prosodic/mimic/gestural features, various aspects of performers’ appearance, music clip design and lighting. They include hoarse voice/high exalted vocals/screaming; aggressive look/bulging eyes/wide open mouth/tense distorted face; active movements/fight; dark clothes/ dark make-up/tattoos. The musical component is characterized by the lower register, alternating consonance and dissonance, and a fast tempo. The lighting includes the play of light and shadow, and flashes. The construction of aggression appears as a result of the integration of semiotic elements into a multimodal blend, which is an emergent entity. Semantic relations between the blend components are based on the complementarity or contradiction of their elements, which makes it possible to single out convergent and divergent constructive patterns.


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How to Cite
Krysanova, T., & Herezhun, O. (2023). Multimodal meaning-making of aggression in English song narrative: A cognitive-pragmatic perspective. Cognition, Communication, Discourse, (26), 83-108.