The paper starts with a theoretical discussion of the possible introduction of aesthetic linguistics into the research field of multimodal critical discourse analysis for analysing tourist news of two modalities: visual and text. Thanks to the successful stories of analysis concerning aesthetic linguistics, systemic functional grammar and visual grammar; first, a framework of multimodal aesthetic critical discourse analysis is carefully redesigned based on multimodal aesthetic critical discourse analysis framework of version 1, originally designed for the same purpose. Then, the validity of the reconstructed framework is verified via analysing a piece of Shannxi tourist news with it. The result indicated that the multimodal aesthetic critical discourse analysis framework re-designed in this paper is of practical significance and can be applied to the analysis of news of multiple modalities.
- multiple modalities
- aesthetic linguistics
- critical discourse analysis
The increasing development of multimedia technology and information exchange of multiple modalities have prompted critical discourse analysis to move out of traditional text analysis based on a single language modal as the carrier, and into the field of multimodality, thus becoming a vibrant research field [1,2,3]. Multimodal critical discourse analysis is guided by criticism and driven by social mobility of signals, and it involves the meaning generation potential of multimodal signals, emphasising that communicative meaning is the result of the synergy of various modalities. The purpose is to deconstruct the multimodal representation of symbolic resources including language to reveal the implicit power relations and ideological tendencies [4, 5]. Machin  called upon multimodal critical discourse analysis research to strengthen dialogue and integration with related disciplines, nourish each other, and open up new research approaches. In view of this, this paper attempts to integrate theories of aesthetic linguistics into multimodal critical discourse analysis, and constructs a framework for multimodal aesthetic critical discourse analysis. It aims to explain the aesthetic characteristics of multimodal symbols under a certain social and cultural context and to evaluate their functions. Based on the receiver's aesthetic experience, it reveals the interaction between multimodal symbols and their contribution to the purpose of communication, thus providing a reference for expanding its outreach effect.
Since its emergence in the 1990s, the multimodal critical discourse analysis has achieved a research shift from meaning to intention , with its purpose to establish a more equal and harmonious social order. Aesthetic linguistics studies the beauty of form and content of everyday speech, and explores strategies for improving linguistic beauty so that to enhance verbal communication for people's survival and development . In fact, aesthetic linguistics research and multimodal critical discourse analysis are homogeneous in the following aspects. First, they all pay attention to meaning representation of multimodal symbols. Multimodal critical discourse analysis emphasises that symbols of various modalities all have the potential to generate meaning . Similarly, aesthetic linguistics also believes that the audible expression of life consciousness and the visible expression of life consciousness are indispensable for the realisation of the meaning of words and the purpose of communication . Second, they all highly recognise the subjective initiative of discourse producers. Influenced by systemic functional linguistics, multimodal critical discourse analysis believes that discourse producers actively choose ideographic modes to generate meaning in certain social situations . Aesthetic linguistics also believes that, in the process of discourse production, people always choose a discourse form that can cater to their own dynamic balance of life and arouse a pleasant sense of beauty” . Third, they all attach importance to the role of context. The first element of multimodal critical discourse analysis research is to examine the social attributes of signs [5, 6], emphasising the connection between signs and related social, historical and cultural factors . Aesthetic linguistics even believes that the first quality of speech beauty is that ‘the speaker chooses the appropriate discourse in the appropriate context, that is, the discourse arrangement is suitable for both the social background and the textual background’ . Qian  specifically pointed out that the social background here refers to the ‘broad social, political, economic, cultural, interpersonal relationship, etc. atmosphere and circumstances’. Fourth, they focus on the experience and feelings of the recipient of the words. Multimodal critical discourse analysis attaches importance to how multimodal symbols affect the experience of the recipient . Aesthetic linguistics focuses on how to meet the social and spiritual needs of language users, especially listeners, advocating that the harmony of beautiful phonology, harmonious rhythm, expression tones, life consciousness, breath and body posture could make the listener feel comfortable and physically and mentally happy, so as to help transmit information more effectively, promote thinking and achieve the established communication goals . In summary, multimodal discourse analysis and aesthetic linguistics research have sufficient space and foundation for cooperation, and the existence of multimodal aesthetic criticism discourse analysis has certain rationality.
The multimodal discourse analysis of aesthetic criticism is an extension of multimodal critical discourse analysis in the field of aesthetic linguistics. The core issue of its research is the huge tension between the aesthetic traits of multimodal symbol resources and the aesthetic experience of symbol receivers. This analysis is dedicated to exploring the presentation methods and aesthetic potential of various modal symbols, and looking for multimodal expressions that can give the symbol receivers a beautiful aesthetic experience. Accordingly, we believe that its research can adopt the method of close text reading and follow the process below. First, the different modal symbols are normalised. In this process, the unique aesthetic characteristics, aesthetic potential and meaning potential of various modal symbols are explained with the help of language description methods, while eliminating language imperialism, trying to reflect the independent supply and use characteristics of various modalities . Second, combining the social and cultural context, communicative motives and the sympathetic response of the symbol receiver, the aesthetic meaning of each modal symbol is explained in detail. Third, it is necessary to learn from the existing research methods of multimodal critical discourse analysis, absorb the nutrition of aesthetic linguistics, carry out aesthetic discourse critical analysis, and explore effective language beauty strategies. Finally, it is necessary to reflect on the deep aesthetic concepts behind the selection of various modal symbols, and to think about how to more effectively transmit information and inspire thinking through the aesthetic value of multimodal symbol resources.
Based on the above ideas and drawing on the existing successful practices of system functional grammar , visual grammar  and aesthetic linguistics , as well as the multimodal aesthetic criticism discourse analysis framework of version 1  and current technology of multimodal affective and sentiment analysis technology [13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25], we have reconstructed the multimodal aesthetic criticism discourse analysis framework of version 2, which consists of two modules (linguistic signs and non-verbal signs), three dimensions (aesthetic feature description, aesthetic description and aesthetic evaluation) and six categories (reproduction, interaction, composition, conceptual function, interpersonal function and language text function) and its subcategories (narrative representation, concept representation, contact, social distance and attitude). Version 2 is much simpler than version 1 as it has reduced a lot of the redundancy of version 1.
As the main tourism and cultural festival of the ‘Xi’an Year•Most China’ at the opening of the 2018 Xi’an Tourism Festival, the drone light show presented a beautiful Chinese New Year banquet for tourists both at home and abroad.
Altogether, there are four photographic pictures in
The verbal part of Drones are about to fly for a light show in Xi’an, capital of northwest China's Shannxi Province, February 20, 2018. A total of 300 drones in 2 groups performed a light show in Xi’an on Tuesday night to celebrate the Spring Festival holiday. Drones form the shape of Chinese character ‘Fu’, which means good fortune, during a light show in Xi’an, capital of northwest China's Shannxi Province, February 20, 2018.
Drones are about to fly for a light show in Xi’an, capital of northwest China's Shannxi Province, February 20, 2018.
A total of 300 drones in 2 groups performed a light show in Xi’an on Tuesday night to celebrate the Spring Festival holiday.
Drones form the shape of Chinese character ‘Fu’, which means good fortune, during a light show in Xi’an, capital of northwest China's Shannxi Province, February 20, 2018.
According to the framework in Table 1, we describe and explain their aesthetic characteristics from three aspects: conceptual, interpersonal and text functions. Clause ① is a relational process clause with two participants, namely, ‘drones’ and ‘to fly for a light show’. Clause ② is an innovative material process clause. The actor is ‘a total of 300 drones in two groups’, the verb is ‘performed’ and the object is ‘a light show’ in the past tense, and the object is the result of innovation, that is, a light show. Clause ③ is also an innovative material process clause. The actor is ‘drones’ and the verb is ‘form’. In the present tense, the result of innovation is the shape of a Chinese character. It can be seen that the journalist uses clause ① to establish a connection between the drone and the light show, so that readers (who are also the viewers mentioned above) can understand that the drone is the protagonist of the light show. The journalist uses clauses ② and ③ to describe the machine that performed unprecedentedly in the lantern show. As for the interpersonal function, the subject of clause ① is ‘drones’, plural; the qualifier is of present tense. In clause ②, the subject is a nominal phrase, the qualifier is performed, generally of past tense, active, positive, and neutral. Clause ③'s subject is the plural of drones, and the qualifier is of present tense. Clause ① is used to express the action that will take place, indicating that the journalist intends to use clause ① to create a kind of presence for readers in the space-time dimension. Clause ② is of the past tense, which means that the journalist is reporting what happened to the reader. Clause ③ shows that the journalist intends to create an immersive feeling for readers in the space-time dimension. As for the textual function, the themes of the three clauses all choose a non-iconic single theme, that is, the drones. Compared with clauses ① and ③, clause ② has a slightly more complex theme structure. The structure of two prepositional phrases is used cleverly to explain the total number and grouping of drones. There are no explicit cohesive words in the text, only semantic cohesion and coherence are used. Since theme is the starting point of information, it can be judged that the three clauses are all based around the drone. Drones are the starting point of information and the topic. As mentioned above, drones symbolise modern technology, so the aesthetic message conveyed to the readers by the three clauses is that Xi’an is a city with high-tech technology and thus, a city of technological beauty.
The brightly lit Ziyun Tower and drones create a new and wonderful mood of a time tunnel for the viewer. They make people wander between history and modernity, fall into a state of ecstasy, successfully manipulating the spiritual world of the viewer. They mainly reproduce a beautiful visual experience for the viewer and; at the same time, they perfectly fit the theme of the light show, that is, to create a magical journey and establish an international metropolis image of Xi’an by blending tradition and modernity.
However, the participants in the pictures are too complicated and violate the scientific aesthetic principle of Occam's razor, that is, ‘in the field of knowledge, if it is not necessary, the number of entities should not be increased’ . In addition to the square, night sky, lanterns floating in the night sky, tree shadows, Furong Lake and the small boats floating on Furong Lake, there are even black outlines of equipment debugging vehicles, dark shadows of several equipment debugging people, railings, distant places, half of a chimney, two photographers standing and squatting, etc. It is difficult for these participants to create meaning in the context of this news, which weakens the aesthetic impact of the pictures, affects the visual enjoyment and emotional pleasure of the viewers and are certainly, of no aesthetic value. In addition, the colour of all the four pictures is very blurred, which affects the viewers’ visual aesthetic experience to a certain extent.
Close text reading found that the text description does not have the obvious features of form beauty, and did not help create the neat beauty of sentence patterns and the beauty of phonology. This shows that news writers did not deliberately use the formal beauty of speech to create interest and enjoyment for readers.
Through a relational process clause, the news writer associates the drone with the light show in the text description. This is a perfect application of deviation rate, because common sense tells readers that the use of drones is nothing more than data collection, media broadcasting, environmental monitoring, aerial photography, etc. The use of light performances can be described as unreasonable and clever, far beyond the reader's common perception, which really counts as a move out of the box and by the use of new methods. The reader's interest is instantly attracted and their spiritual world is enriched. The freshness of novelty emerges spontaneously, the beauty is conceived in this variation. However, there are many shortcomings in the text description. For example, the theme of the three clauses is drones, and the residues are either the time and place of the light show, the explanation of the word ‘Fu’ or the explanation of the administrative status of Xi’an, with no doubt in them. This choice can perfectly focus the reader's attention on drones and light shows. However, there is no mention of the imagery constructed in the pictures such as the mysterious time tunnel, the harmonious ecological environment and the long history and culture of the ancient city of Xi’an, which failed to match the pictures to stimulate and strengthen the readers’ aesthetic experience. Therefore, we believe that the collaboration between the text and the pictures in the
This paper explains the rationality of the expansion of multimodal critical discourse analysis into the field of aesthetic linguistics, and creates the version 2 of multimodal aesthetic critical discourse analysis framework. Taking