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Writing research: A field in growth

 

Starting from quite modest beginnings as a field of empirical study in the late 1960Ős and early 1970Ős (see Martin NystrandŐs article in this volume for a comprehensive historical overview), writing research has now begun to position itself internationally as a dynamic, pragmatic, and not least highly transdisciplinary field of inquiry, focusing on many different forms of written communication which are studied from the point of view of a wide range of research perspectives. More recently, attention in the field has begun to move towards understanding the complex relationship between the semiotic system of writing and other semiotic or representational systems increasingly found in electronically mediated multimodal texts: photographic images and other forms of visual art, diagrams, animations, video and sound sequences. This shift of attention has naturally enough been provoked by the need to address in meaningful ways the increasing degree of blending of these different ways and means of making meaning in texts linked in networked hypermedia systems, and the interactional aspect of different forms of shared writing environments opened up for by the development of new media technologies.

 


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