The systemic functional (SF) approach to multimodal discourse analysis
(MDA) is concerned with the theory and practice of analysing meaning
arising from the use of multiple semiotic resources in discourses which
range from written, printed and electronic texts to material lived-in reality.
The SF-MDA approach developed in this article explores the meaning
arising through the use of language and visual imagery in printed texts.
This involves investigation of linguistic and visual forms of semiosis, and
formulation of cross-functional systems such as colour. An integrative
platform based on the SF metafunctional principle is proposed, and intersemiotic
mechanisms and systems (content and expression strata) are
developed to capture the expansion of meaning which occurs when
linguistic and visual forms combine. The SF-MDA approach is demonstrated
through the analysis of ideational meaning in a print advertisement.
The practical approach involves the use of digital technology in the form
of image-editing software which gives rise to a more detailed semantic
and ideological interpretation. The analysis reveals how metaphorical
constructions of meaning (i.e. semiotic metaphors) take place across
linguistic and visual elements.