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Title: Exploring the need to mean : a multimodal analysis of a child's use of semiotic resources in the mediation of symbolic meanings
Author: Lancaster, Lesley Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 9799
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1999
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This study is concerned with social semiotic theories of learning and literacy with respect to the development of understandings about the purpose, nature and interpretation of semiotic objects to which children are introduced when very young, and which retain long term educational significance. The focus of the study is on the multimodal nature of children's activity around such texts. A high level of independent control over the interpretative process and the process of learning itself is demonstrated. The hypothesis that this involves an epistemological disposition, a need to mean, underlies the analysis in the thesis. The main data are derived from a video film of a twenty three month old child's interpretative activity as she shares a book, makes a mothers' day card and plays with sorting games in collaboration with her father. Three questions are addressed: the nature of the semiotic resources drawn on and the means by which these are mediated; the process of selecting and combining the resources in order to achieve interpretative effectiveness; and the relationship between resources and social environment. The research is conducted by means of an analysis of sections of the video tape. A structural semiotic analysis is applied to selected episodes, demonstrating the mediation of meaning through the modes of language, vocalisation, gesture, gaze and action; this is followed by a micro level description and discussion of the analysis. It is shown that semiotic resources are derived from material experiences, are multiply constituted, and are selected, combined and transformed to be used for symbolic purposes. The modes of mediation are also shown to be multiply constituted and used in refined, independent and motivated ways to place selected constituents of resources in the right place at the right time for the most effective achievement of meaning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available