Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Multimodality and relevance in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games televised promotion

Elly Ifantidou, Angeliki Tzanne


This paper is concerned with a multimodal communicative act, the televised promotion of the 'Athens 2004 Olympic Games' on National Hellenic television. The first aim of the paper is to show that the commercial examined constitutes a "multimodal metaphor" (Forceville, 2004 and 2005) through which the audience is essentially invited to interpret the 'Athens 2004 Olympic Games' in terms of a 'festival'. The second aim of the paper is to explain how it is that a commercial such as this one, which foregrounds entertainment and celebrations, is almost unanimously received by a multicultural audience as successfully advertising the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. In the framework of Relevance Theory, the pragmatic and cognitive benefits of the specific multimodal metaphor are discussed in terms of positive cognitive effects and processing effort (Sperber and Wilson, 1986/1995; Wilson and Sperber, 2004). Experimental evidence on native and non-native audiences' reaction to this televised promo suggests that the intended interpretation is recovered in terms of a range of strongly implicated assumptions that viewers unanimously reckon, rather than in terms of a range of weak implicatures (Forceville, 1996). Drawing on the Cognitive and Communicative Principles of Relevance and the key concept of Optimal relevance, the paradoxical finding of 'irrelevant scenes' contributing to a fruitful interpretation process and recovery of 'relevant meaning(s)' is explained.


Propaganda; Publicidad; Televisión; Juegos olímpicos; Análisis del discurso; Teoría de la relevancia; Pragmática; Atenas


Copyright (c) 2006 Elly Ifantidou, Angeliki Tzanne

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