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Dissertation defense about the audio description of film 15th November

FM Maija Hirvonen is defends her doctoral dissertation on 15.11.2014 at 10 at Helsinki University (address: Porthania, Auditorium II, Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki). The title of the dissertation is "Multimodal Representation and Intermodal Similarity - Cues of Space in the Audio Description of Film".

The disseration is available as PDF at E-thesis (in English).

Contact details for the doctoral candidate:

Maija Hirvonen
tel. +358 50-4389019

Abstract of the dissertation

The present dissertation analyses the representation of space in filmic audio description. The main objective of this study is to shed light on two critical challenges for audio description: (1) how the filmic space becomes audible in audio-described film through spoken language, sound effects, and music, and (2) how the visual representation of space in film can be cued by the linguistic mode in an audio description.

This dissertation consists of four articles and a thesis summary. The first article focusses on the multimodal representation of space through auditory cues. The other three articles explore intermodal similarity, which involves the question of how language reflects visual representation. To explain the complex phenomenon of translating images into words, this study applies the theoretical and analytical tools from translation studies, film studies and cognitive linguistics, and also adopts a cognitive orientation to explain both the filmic and linguistic representations as being cognitive representations that are constructed through visual, auditory, and linguistic cues.

This research first establishes that the auditory multimodality of an audio-described film creates a variant of the multimodality of the audiovisual film that entails dynamic constellations, perspectives and foci. Secondly, the analysis presents evidence for the varied potential of the linguistic mode in terms of representing space. Thirdly, this study defines strategies for intermodal similarity in terms of the corresponding linguistic signs for the filmic cues of representation and narration. The results of this dissertation may be valuable in justifying the consistency and standards for audio description as well as in developing other, more far-reaching usages of audio description as a mode of transforming information from one system of representation into another.

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