Successful communication requires optimal relevance to a target audience. Relevance theory (RT) provides an excellent model based on this insight, but the impact of the theory has until now been restricted due to an almost exclusive focus on spoken face-to-face communication. Visual and Multimodal Communication: Applying the Relevance Principle is the first book to systematically demonstrate how RT can fulfill its promise to develop into an inclusive theory
In this book, Charles Forceville refines and adapts RT's original claims to show its applicability to static visuals and multimodal discourses in popular culture genres. Using colorful examples, he explains how RT can be expanded and adapted to accommodate mass-communicative visual and visual-plus-verbal messages. Forceville addresses issues such as the difference between drawing prospective addressees' attention to a message and persuading them to accept it; the thorny continuum from implicit
to explicit information; and the role of genre. Case studies of pictograms, advertisements, cartoons, and comics provide contemporary and accessible examples of the importance of genre and of how the RT model can be connected to other approaches.
By expanding the application of relevance theory to include mass-communicative messages, Visual and Multimodal Communication reintroduces a central framework of cognitive linguistics and pragmatics to a new audience and paves the way for an inclusive theory of communication.