Multimodality and technology
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There is a close historical association between multimodality and technology, in two senses. First, technologies have enabled a significant expansion of the range of media by which humans communicate, especially in terms of recording, replaying, and transmitting across time and space (that is, mediating) mulitmodal discourse. This has in turn greatly increased the human capacity for multimodal communication and thus sociocultural development: for example, the printing press contributed tot he evolution of science (Eisenstein, 1979) as well as art, through the capacity for individual (rather than societal, institutional) expression (Lotman, 1991); and digital technology has led to a significant expansion of the repertoires of human cultural exchange (eg. scientific, artistic, political, economic, and so forth), rapidly altering social organizations globally as a result (for example, in terms of the speed of global information exchange). In the second sense , technologies have enabled researchers to study much more closely and effectively multimodal texts, again in particular because of the capacity to record, replay, and analyze multimodal discourse, but also in terms of technical means of analysis (eg, instrumental, computational) which extend the human sensory capacities for perception: see, for example the software Praat (Boersma & Weenick, 2010) and ELAN (Wittenburg, Brugman, Russel, Klasssmann & Sloetjes, 2006).
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