A multimodal study of bank websites

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A multimodal study of bank websites

 

Author: Kong, Lingwei
Title: A multimodal study of bank websites
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Banks and banking -- Computer network resources.
Discourse analysis
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of English
Pages: xix, 494 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2798172
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/7888
Abstract: As technology advances, banks promote their products and services on the Internet. Yet there has been little research on the genre of bank websites in marketing contexts. This study, focusing on the Corpus of Hong Kong Bank Brochure Websites (HKBBW), investigates the multimodal features of bank brochure websites, adopting the socio-semiotic multimodal approach (Kress, 2010) and the critical genre approach (Bhatia, 2004). A variety of modes, namely image, colour, layout, hyperlink and writing, are found on bank brochure websites. Images are examined by adopting the visual grammar (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2006). Hyperlinks are examined in terms of generic and specific links (Askehave and Nielsen, 2005). Image-text relations are explored based on elaboration and extension (van Leeuwen, 2005). Findings show that layouts and colours reflect cultural differences among financial institutions and project institutional identities. Visual analysis shows that representational structures make readers capable of interpreting the information communicated by images thanks to their familiarity to the contexts. With respect to the interactive meaning, readers are positioned to interpret the meaning potentials of images with objective standpoints. When the images contain both object and human participants, the latter ones are usually highlighted to integrate all the elements into a meaningful whole, because they are pictorial representations of potential customers.
Wmatrix (Rayson, 2009) is used to analyse the corpus of HKBBW and the fourteen move sub-corpora. The findings suggest three categories of keywords. Ideational keywords tend to: (1) provide the information about financial business or financial services; (2) identify the parties involved in financial services of mortgage or loan; (3) indicate the geographical contexts; (4) modify the nominal information; and (5) communicate the actions. Textual keywords indicate options or possibilities. Interpersonal keywords enable and achieve interactions in discourse. The key semantic fields in the corpus of HKBBW could be classified into six semantic sets, functioning to: (1) present the contents of financial products or services; (2) modify the features of financial products; (3) indicate the relationships in financial business; (4) describe the actions involved in financial services; (5) circumscribe the description of financial products or services; and (6) highlight the value and quality of financial services. The keywords and key semantic fields specific to each move manifest particular features to fulfil individual communicative functions. From the socio-cognitive perspective, it is found bank brochure websites, though perceived as a marketing genre, are more informative than promotional, which tend to colonise four discourses through interdiscursive appropriation and manifest two dimensions: (1) in terms of multimodal modes, colonising written discourse and web-mediated discourse; (2) in terms of communicative purposes, colonising promotional discourse and informative discourse. From the socio-critical perspective, the genre shows a rich array of discursive practices shaped in response to disciplinary norms and professional practices in financial services. The study proposes a model for exploring discourse realisation in Internet marketing contexts, and describes both theoretical and educational implications, aiming to enrich the understanding of web-mediated genres and enhance the discursive competence of professionals in Internet marketing.

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