'i'm a Girl': Impact Captioning, Identities and Language Ideologies in Audiovisual Media

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Claire MAREE, University of Melbourne, Australia
The use of text-on-screen is ubiquitous in Japanese television. Like subtitles, impact-captions occur simultaneously with the speech-on-screen. However, unlike intralingual subtitles such as closed captions that provide textual information in substitution for audio information for hearing-impaired viewers, impact-captions represent arbitrarily selected utterances added to a broadcast package in the post-production process. This paper employs a critical multimodal approach to analyse the act of writing text onto the screen. I examine both textual and visual imagery projected onto the screen, and consider the ways in which contemporary media is ‘employed to perpetuate or challenge prevailing sociocultural beliefs, stereotypes and norms’ (Djonov & Zhao 2014: 2). Observations from fieldwork conducted in editing studios is combined with a micro-analysis of commercial television broadcasts 2014-2015 to illustrate how the visualisation and textualisation of selected spoken dialogue relies heavily on normative tropes. Through the use of font types, colour, animation, graphics and symbols, an interpretation of the speech is layered onto the visual image. Text and graphics are manipulated to frame personalities as belonging to distinctive identity categories: for example as feminine or masculine, queer or straight, Japanese or non-Japanese-ness. Inscription of text-on-screen is governed by directorial intent to shape how viewers understand, negotiate and engage with language in the context of digital media (Gerow, 2010: 121; Park, 2009: 550, 556-557). Writing text-onto-the-screen, therefore, emerges as a critical site whereby identity and language ideologies (Irvine and Gal 2000, Kroskrity 2000, Silverstein 1979, Woolard and Schieffelin 1994) are inscribed visually through the social act of writing (Sebba, 2007). Through entextualisation, discourse is extracted from the context in which it originated and re-formed into texts which can be circulated (Park & Bucholtz, 2009; 486) the identities they index consumed as contemporary cultural artifacts.