Text-image complementarity and genre in English as foreign language textbooks

Peichin Chang*, Hsin Jung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Relating visual images to textual messages may have great potential in facilitating students' reading comprehension. The inevitable and important presence of visuals in textbooks obliges language teachers to exploit all semiotic resources to deepen students' understanding. However, analysis of how images interact with text in textbooks has been rare, and among the efforts it has generally been found that visuals and text often fail to achieve coherence. This study investigates whether and how text and image complement each other ideationally (i.e., the "what") by six sense relations (e.g., synonymy and hyponymy) and interpersonally (i.e., reader engagement) by the Mood system in ninth-grade English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks to reach intersemiotic complementarity (IC). The results revealed that ideational rather than interpersonal IC is more frequent, where many more Participants (i.e., the nominal groups) than Processes (i.e., the verbal groups) in the texts find their visual complements. Ideational IC is particularly high in Information Reports while Recounts generally mark higher percentages of interpersonal IC. To accomplish ideational IC, repetition is most frequent, followed by hyponymy (i.e., general-specific relation) and collocation (i.e., relations that naturally co-occur). Distinct IC patterns also characterize the different editions of textbooks investigated, which may suggest their different potentials in catering to students of varying proficiencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-80
Number of pages28
Issue number244
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 1


  • English textbook
  • genre
  • intersemiotic complementarity
  • multimodality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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