Voicing cities: Interaction of voices in city audio guides in Italian and in English

Maria Elisa Fina


Although multimodality in tourist communication has been widely investigated, published research so far has focused mainly on the interaction between text and pictures in printed and web-based tourist genres, while little research has been carried out on the aural dimension of audiovisual tourist texts. This study proposes a multimodal analysis of fifty city audio guides in Italian and in English, aimed at exploring how different ‘voices’ may be combined to create meaning and involve the listener. The analysis focuses on the types of speaker involved in narration and the different ways in which they interact. Furthermore, following van Leeuwen’s model (1999), it also shows how different semiotic resources are combined to enhance narration. The results show significant ifferences between audio guides in Italian and in English, and also bring to light cases of hybridization in the audio guide genre. These issues are taken as starting points for pedagogical implications for students and professionals in the field.


city audio guides, complex medium, genre embedding, soundscape

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