Audio Description in Dutch. A corpus-based study into the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type
Year of publication
This PhD project is a corpus-based study of the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type within Audiovisual Translation (AVT): Audio-description (AD) for the blind and visually impaired. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to describe the lexico-grammatical features of AD-scripts and examine the role they play in the specific communicative function of the text. The object is to explore one of the key-issues in AD research: How are images put into words and what are the implications for the language use in AD? A recent pilot study confirmed the hypothesis that the language of AD contains distinctive grammatical (morpho-syntactic) and lexical features and that these specific patterns can be identified by corpus analysis. Firstly, the current project developed an extensive and varied text corpus of AD scripts of Dutch audio-described films and series. Secondly, this text corpus provided the basis for quantitative linguistic research, aiming to identify the prominent lexico-grammatical features of the text type. Thirdly, the quantitative analysis was combined with a qualitative analysis of the (communicative) function of these features. Finally, special attention was paid to the multimodal nature of the text type, since the AD-script only makes sense in combination with the dialogues, music and sound effects of the original film or series with which it forms a coherent whole. Therefore, a multimodal analysis of a selection of texts was conducted. This multimodal analysis explored the unique interaction between the language of AD and the other channels of the audiovisual text, more specifically the sound effects. Ultimately, the project's ambition was to conduct an extensive linguistic audience design oriented analysis of the AD-discourse. This allowed us to identify the features that characterise the AD text type, clarify how these linguistic and stylistic features are used to ensure maximum communicative efficiency, and how these features are related to the function and multimodal character of AD. The project presented here is a pioneer in the field: AD has become an international research topic recently but for Flanders and the Netherlands no study of AD is available yet. In addition, its results can offer the basis for future application-oriented studies and can support the development of a local AD tradition in Flanders that meets international quality standards.