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Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso

On-line version ISSN 2176-4573

Bakhtiniana, Rev. Estud. Discurso vol.15 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Mar. 2020  Epub Nov 28, 2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/2176-457344578 

ARTICLES

The Concept of Verbal-visual Quotation Marks and their Classifications

*He holds a PhD in Linguística Aplicada e Estudos da Linguagem [Applied Linguistics and Languages Studies] from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo -PUC/SP, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; CNPq, Proc. 141469/2012-9; CAPES PDSE, Proc.6079-13-0; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5069-7358; rodolfovianna@yahoo.com.br

ABSTRACT

This article aims to present the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks and their classifications. Once the phenomenon is taken in its verbal-visual dimension, it must be understood as an opacifying meta-utterative unfolding (in an analogy to autonymic modalizations in the verbal dimension), resulting from certain relations between verbal and visual elements that constitute the same utterance. The three classifications of the phenomenon are: verbal-visual quotation marks with a direct relationship between verbal and visual elements; verbal-visual quotation marks that opacify verbal elements on the visual plane, and verbal-visual quotation marks with opacifying verbal-visual allegory. This paper aims to contribute to the field of language studies by providing it with the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks and its classifications, and to offer a new theoretical-methodological instrument to research that focuses on the verbal-visual dimension of utterances and their ways of producing meaning effects.

KEYWORDS: Verbal-visual quotation marks; Autonymic modalization; Verbal-visuality

Introduction

On the verbal plane, quotation marks are responsible for the production of meaning effects that have been widely studied by Linguistics and the different trends of discourse analysis. They can be found in different occurrences, such as when enclosing direct quotations or ascribing an autonymic nature to the verbal sign (it refers to itself, not to its referent); they can also be understood as “an interpretive indicator” (DAHLET, 2006, p.182),1 a “sign to be interpreted” (MAINGUENEAU, 2005, p.160),2 or still as “a type of absence, a void to be filled interpretatively, an ‘invitation to gloss’” (AUTHIER-REVUZ, 2012, p.139; emphasis in original).3

The latter occurs when quotation marks are used as markers of an autonymic modalization,4 a concept developed by Authier-Revuz (1995, p.33). To explain it briefly, it is a type of opacifying meta-enunciative unfolding in a meta-enunciative return through which the utterance enunciates and comments on itself. Thus, it makes explicit a noncoincidence that foments and broadens the possibilities of understanding that is beyond the literal, current signification.

This article, however, is not about quotation marks and its use in the autonymic modalization on the verbal plane. As a result of my doctoral research (VIANNA, 2016), it aims to present the existence of an enunciative-discursive phenomenon that, when the verbal-visual plane of the utterance is taken into consideration, opacifies visual and verbal elements that constitute it as it establishes specific meta-enunciative unfoldings between these elements. This phenomenon is called verbal-visual quotation marks.

As the utterance is taken in its verbal-visual dimension, certain relations between its verbal and visual elements can be understood as opacifying meta-enunciative unfoldings, in an analogy to autonymic modalizations in the verbal dimension. They are thus understood as verbal-visual quotation marks.

The reason for calling this phenomenon verbal-visual quotation marks is twofold. Firstly, even those who are not scholars of the language sciences understand the expression “between quotes” as an invitation to amplify the meaning of what is in between the quotation marks. Secondly, this research used Authier-Revuz’s (1995; 2012) formulations on autonymic modalization. The notion of meta-enunciative unfolding (as the utterance returns to itself in the form of a comment) and the noncoincidence in saying play a central role in this study. According to Authier-Revuz (2012), quotation marks are an archiform5 of autonymic modalization (p.140).

As the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks was developed, three research questions were posed (and answered): (i) How can we understand the process of meta-enunciation, constitutive of autonymic modalization, on the verbal-visual plane? (ii) What are the opacifying meta-enunciative unfoldings (autonymic modalization) between verbal and visual elements in the verbal-visual dimension of utterances and how are they developed? (iii) What similarities are found in the occurrences of verbal-visual quotation marks that can help group them into specific analytical classifications?

1 The Verbal-visual Plane of the Utterance and Meta-enunciation

The phenomenon of verbal-visual quotation marks can only be observed through a theoretical-methodological approach that takes into account the utterance in its verbal-visual dimension.

Brait (2010), a researcher who has carried out research on verbal-visuality for over two decades, states that the verbal-visual dimension of language actively participates in the life of society and consequently in the constitution of subjects and identities. In some texts or groups of texts, be them artistic or not, “the articulation between verbal and visual elements creates an inseparable whole. This unity demands that the reader, and especially the analyst, perceive and recognize this particular feature” (p.194).6 She also informs that verbal-visual language can be considered “an enunciation, a concrete utterance,7 articulated by a discursive project in which the verbal language and the visual language participate with the same level of force and importance” (BRAIT, 2010, p.194).8

Based on the verbal-visual dimension of language and the theoretical and methodological postulations on concrete utterances developed by the Bakhtin Circle (VOLOŠINOV, 1986 [1929];9 BAKHTIN, 1986 [1978]),10 the delimitation of the scope of a concrete utterance - and its subsequent verbal and visual dimensions - should: (i) respect the perspective of finalization - a certain minimum of finalization that allows the identification of the speaker’s utterative positioning;11 (ii) determine, thus, the responsive position of the reader/interlocutor/ utteree; (iii) identify and consider the verbal-visual dimension of the utterance, its verbal and visual elements, in the process of apprehending the effects of the produced meanings; and (iv) identify the discourse genre in which it is operating - the genre’s regulations and its sphere of production, transmission, and reception.

Under these general guidelines, the delimitations of the concrete utterance may vary according to the approach analysts adopt to the investigated object. If, on the one hand, one of the limits of the concrete utterance is a certain finalization that allows it to be the object of a dialogical position of the other, on the other hand, the analyst’s position, as he/she delineates his/her object of research, is also a methodological delineation by means of which a limit to the utterance is established. In other words, the dialogical position adopted by researchers, based on the understanding of the nature of the utterance thus explained, also confers on them the ability to delimitate that which they want to answer.12

Based on these formulations on utterance and verbal-visuality, a pertinent and necessary theoretical-methodological approach was developed in order to focus on the phenomenon studied herein. It can be thus summarized: if (i) an utterance is only constituted concretely within its relative semantic and formal finalization and (ii) the verbal and visual elements should necessarily be understood as constitutive elements of this finalization as an inseparable whole, (iii) the relations and meaning effects produced in this relationship between verbal and visual elements are therefore of a meta-enunciative nature, as they occur between elements that constitute the same and only utterance.

The characterization of meta-enunciations on the verbal-visual plane is necessary because they are central to Authier-Revuz’s formulations on autonymic modalization, based on which it was possible to draw analogies to develop the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks. This process will be explained further on in the paper.

2 The Concept of Autonymic Modalization and its Use on the Verbal-visual Plane

As autonymic modalization is an utterative configuration that belongs to the field of language reflexivity, it presents itself as a complex mode of saying. It is unfolded by an opacifying self-representation; that is, “it prompts the materiality of the given sign, the signified and signifier, to intervene in this ‘speech image’ through autonymy” (AUTHIER-REVUZ, 1999, p.7).13

For Authier-Revuz, the meta-utterative return is that in which saying returns to itself; in other words, the enunciation is unfolded as a comment on itself. With the autonymic modalization, the utterance presents a meta-utterative return that, as it is said or being said, falls on the same saying, opacifying it.

In regard to opacification, the basis of Authier-Revuz’s formulations on noncoincidences, she uses Récanati’s (1979) reflections on the two directions of signs, namely, transparency and opacity.

Signs are similar to a transparent glass that allows one to see something beyond itself. This transparency is a result of the fact that it represents the signified thing without being reflected in this representation. However, a sign may also not refer to something other than itself; in this case, it loses the transparency that allows seeing things through it, thus becoming opaque. In other words, when an speaker uses a sign, making use of it, it is transparent, as the sign itself as a sign is not apparent: what appears is the signified thing. Conversely, a sign can be used as a thing by mentioning it, placing it between quotation marks, thus opacifying it.

Based on Récanati’s reflections and Rey-Debove’s suggestions, Authier-Revuz states that a common sign is transparent because it ‘disappears’ when the thing is named and, at the same time, it tolerates the synonymous substitution of one term by another one. The autonymic sign, on the other hand, is opaque. This opacity results from an interposition of a remark about the sign itself in the “path” that leads to the designated thing. She limits the use of the term opacification to the phenomenon of interposition, which suspends the synonymy, as it happens to mentioning - an “opaque” use of the sign -, but it does not suspend the designation of the object through the sign (FLORES; TEIXEIRA, 2008, pp.81-82; emphasis in original).14

A transparent sign coincides with itself - it disappears in its transparency. An opaque sign, on the other hand, does not totally coincide with itself - it is marked by its opacity and thus becomes present:

Instead of filling them with its mediative capacity, the transparent sign, as it disappears, interposes itself as real, as a presence, a body - an object found in the path of saying, imposing itself as its object. The enunciation of this sign does not “simply” occur when the unquestionable evidence is forgotten; to the contrary, it is duplicated with a comment on itself (AUTHIER-REVUZ, 1999, p.9).15

In the perspective of the autonomic modalization, what makes the sign opaque, using Authier-Revuz’s (1995, 2012) terminology, is the noncoincidences of saying. According to her, these noncoincidences of saying are classified into four fields that would be meta-utterative comments that are no longer on the syntax plane, but “on the plane of what they say to the subject of saying” (AUTHIER-REVUZ, 1998, p.20; emphasis in original).16 They are: (i) the field of the interlocutory noncoincidence between two co-speakers; (ii) the field of the noncoincidence of the discourse with itself (affected by its presence from other discourses); (iii) the field of the noncoincidence between words and things, and (iv) the field of the noncoincidence between words themselves, affected by other meanings, words, polysemy plays, homonym, etc.

As previously stated, the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks articulates the formulation of autonymic modalization and the noncoincidences of saying with the verbal-visual dimension of the utterance. Instead of mechanically transposing the formulations that are based on the verbal dimension of language alone, which would be little rigorous and methodologically mistaken, this study sought to draw analogies that make possible the development of a theoretical-methodological approach that is pertinent to the phenomenon under investigation.

Verbal-visual quotation marks are, therefore, the opacification of (verbal or visual) signs that stem from types of meta-enunciative relations between these constitutive elements of a concrete utterance. It establishes a noncoincidence and expresses a type of comment between them, showing that it is possible and pertinent to interpret the meaning of these elements beyond their common, referential transparency.

On the verbal plane, quotations marks are unquestionable typographical symbols: they are visible in the utterance and should be understood according to their autonymic function or autonymic modalization function.17 The same does not happen to verbal-visual quotation marks, however, as they are not represented by any unquestionable symbol on the verbal or visual plane. They are found in a special relationship between verbal and visual elements that constitute the same utterance.

Based on the analysis of these types of special relations that characterize verbal-visual quotation marks, it was possible to identify recurrences that allowed me to propose three classifications of the phenomenon, which will be explained in the next section.

3 The Classifications of Verbal-visual Quotation Marks

This article results from my doctoral research (VIANNA, 2016), whose corpus was comprised of utterances from the written press. The analysis made possible the identification of recurrences that led to the development of three classifications of verbal-visual quotation marks, namely, (i) direct relation between verbal and visual elements; (ii) opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane; and (iii) opacifying verbal-visual allegory. It is important to highlight that the examples in each classification only seek to showcase the presence of verbal-visual quotation marks and how they occur. The objective herein is not to focus on broader effects of meaning derived from utterative-discursive analyses that would be carried out according to specific approaches and objectives; to the contrary, this study aims to present the phenomenon and its classifications and not to use it as an instrument of analysis.

3.1 Direct Relation between Verbal and Visual Elements

The first classification of verbal-visual quotation marks is called direct relation between verbal and visual elements. Self-explanatory, it is characterized by a direct and immediate relationship between the same element presented as a linguistic sign on the verbal plane and as an imagic sign on the visual plane. Due to this copresence, it establishes an opacifying meta-utterative unfolding.

This copresence of the same element on the verbal and visual planes (e.g., the word mouth and the image of a mouth) marks the presence of a special relationship between these elements that characterize it as an opacifying meta-utterative relationship: it marks the presence of verbal-visual quotation marks.

Schematically, this is how the operation of the first classification of verbal-visual quotation marks can be represented.

First classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: direct relation between verbal and visual elements
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
X(verbal) X(visual)
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
X(visual), but in the sense of X(verbal)
or
X(verbal), but in the sense of X(visual)

By using Authier-Revuz’s formulation on autonymic modalization, according to which the utterative structure (X, but in the sense of P) is a canonical example of the concept, what is being presented here is the substitution of strictly verbal elements (X and P are both verbal signs in her study) by the representation of the same element (X) on the different semiotic planes (Xverbal/Xvisual). As it is the same element (X), it is possible to establish a direct relationship between them: Xverbal → Xvisual (or vice-versa, as there is no hierarchy between the different semiotic planes). This marks the presence of verbal-visual quotation marks.

If for Authier-Revuz one of the four fields of noncoincidence is the noncoincidence between words themselves, in this classification of verbal-visual quotation marks we find what can be called the noncoincidence of the visual element with itself. It thus establishes an analogy with the formulations on autonymic modalization.

Here is an example. The analyzed utterance was published on the first page of the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo [The State of S. Paulo] on September 28, 201218. It shows three photographs of the three candidates for mayor of São Paulo at the time, displayed in a vertical sequence with a common caption. Taken by Paulo Liebert, from Agência Estado, the first is a photograph of José Serra, a candidate from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB). The second, below the first, was taken by Epitácio Pessoa, also from Agência Estado, and is a photograph of Fernando Haddad, the candidate from the Workers’ Party (PT), greeting an elector. The third, taken by Carlos Pessuto, from Futura Press, is a photograph of Gabriel Chalita, the candidate from the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), being kissed on the cheek. The text of the caption is: “De cima para baixo, os candidatos à Prefeitura de São Paulo José Serra (PSDB), Fernando Haddad (PT) e Gabriel Chalita (PMDB) ganham beijos de eleitores. Celso Russomano (PRB) visitou uma cooperativa de transporte público. NACIONAL / PÁG. A8” [From top down, the candidates for mayor of São Paulo José Serra (PSDB), Fernando Haddad (PT) and Gabriel Chalita (PMDB) are kissed by electors. Celso Russomano (PRB) visited a public transportation cooperative. NATIONAL / P. A8].

The three photographs show the candidates kissing and being kissed during their campaign for mayor of São Paulo and highlight each of their mouths separately. The expression “Boca de urna” accompanies the caption as an introduction to it. Originally, “boca de urna” (literally, ‘ballot box mouth’) refers to electioneering next to polling places on Election Day, which is prohibited by law and constitutes an electoral crime. The term “pesquisa boca de urna” (literally, ‘ballot box mouth poll’) refers to entrance polls in which voters are asked whom they intend to support and are taken on Election Day. Therefore, the term “boca” [mouth] means proximity, whether temporal or even physical.

With the meta-utterative unfolding that is established by the direct relation between the elements “boca” [mouth] on the verbal and visual planes, the opacification of these elements occurs when the utterance is analyzed in its verbal-visual dimension. They are between verbal-visual quotation marks.

In this concomitant opacification, the “bocas” [mouths], as a part of the body, on the visual plane, are opacified and take on the meaning of ‘electoral campaign’ in which votes are sought. They become “bocas de urnas” [literally, ‘ballot box mouths’], i.e., “bocas coletoras de votos” [literally, ‘mouths that collect votes’]. The opacification also occurs on the verbal plane as the word “boca” [mouth] is now part of the expression “boca de urna” [literally, ‘ballot box mouth’]. It no longer means the temporal or physical proximity, as in the original expression, but acquires a new meaning, as “boca” [mouth] is also a part of the human body.

Schematically, this is the meta-utterative unfolding:

First classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: direct relation between verbal and visual elements
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
boca de urna ['ballot box mouth'] candidate's mouth
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
candidate's mouth, but in the sense ofboca de urna ['ballot box mouth']
or
boca de urna ['ballot box mouth'], but in the sense of candidate's mouth

The opacification occurs in the verbal and visual elements because of their direct relation on the verbal-visual plane. The phenomenon of verbal-visual quotation marks would not have been explained if the photographs had been analyzed separately as an utterance with no verbal sequence. The same would have happened if the verbal expression “boca de urna” [‘ballot box mouth’] had been analyzed as an utterance with no images.

3.2 Opacification of Verbal Elements on the Visual Plane

This second classification is characterized by the opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane (such as, warning signs, signboards, advertisements, etc.). The meaning is amplified by the opacifying meta-utterative comment that occurs with the context that the verbal plane of the same utterance offers.

Differently from the first classification, here there is no direct relation between the element that is on the verbal and visual planes, allowing the inference of verbal-visual quotation marks. In this classification, what should be considered as a mark of the possible occurrence of the phenomenon is the existence of a verbal element on the visual plane.

In the constitution of the visual plane, the existence of a warning sign, a signboard, an advertisement, etc. - which may be excluded by a reduction or the choice of another plane to inscribe the image - shows that the sayings (verbal elements) may be open to interpretation that is beyond the original meaning of the element. In this way the verbal element on the visual plane loses its original function (to warn, inform, name, etc.) and becomes open to the inference of other meanings in the relation that is established with the verbal plane of the utterance of which it is a part, being opacified. Schematically, this is the second classification of verbal-visual quotation marks:

Second classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
X(verbal) Y(verbal)
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
Y(verbal), but in the sense of X(verbal)

In this category, there is a noncoincidence between words themselves. The noncoincidental words, nevertheless, are the ones on the visual plane of the utterance that, not coinciding with their original function, may be given new interpretations when a relation with the verbal plane of the utterance is established. These words, by means of this meta-utterative relation between the verbal and visual planes, are opacified.

Here is an example. The utterance was published in the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo [The State of S. Paulo] on September 28, 2012.19 It refers to the fact that members of Rio 2016 Committee, connected to the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC), were accused of stealing confidential documents from the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). The news piece20 also states that the president of Rio 2016 Committee and BOC, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, discharged nine employees that were claimed to be involved in the case. According to it, they acted alone; however, there was suspicion that other employees - including members of the Rio 2016 Committee - were involved.

The headline of this utterance is “Nuzman exime cúpula do Rio 2016” [Nuzman exempts Rio 2016 Committee]. Above it, on the left, we read the rubric (in red) “Escândalo em Londres” [A Scandal in London]. Below the headline, a large photograph, taken by Wilton Junior from Agência Estado, uses almost the whole space of four vertical columns. The caption reads, “Desculpa. Nuzman garante que os ingleses apenas pediram que os arquivos furtados fossem devolvidos ou apenas destruídos” [Excuse. Nuzman assures that the English only asked for the stolen files to be returned or just destroyed]. On the top left side of the photograph we read, “Presidente do COB diz que funcionários envolvidos no furto de dados se reportavam diretamente ao comitê londrino” [COB president says that the employees involved in the data theft reported directly to the London committee]. Below, the names of the two journalists, Sílvio Barsetti and Tiago Rogero, are followed by the word RIO, which indicates the geographical location, the city of Rio de Janeiro.

As to the framework of the photograph, which is a component of the utterance, it is possible to divide it into two parts: on the left, Carlos Arthur Nuzman is standing and holding some papers. He has a slight smile, and his head is lowered. He seems to be moving, walking. On the right, we see the upper part of a door that is slightly ajar and above it, a large and flashy sign reading “EMERGENCY EXIT,” indicating the function of the door.

The meta-utterative unfolding here is the opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane. Therefore, it refers to the verbal element on the visual plane, which, in this specific utterance, is the sign that indicates the emergency exit. What meta-utterative comment on it will opacify its meaning?

In the first paragraph of the main text, we read, “pressionado por suposições, e algumas declarações, de que a cúpula do Rio 2016 estaria envolvida diretamente no escândalo dos arquivos copiados do comitê londrino, o presidente do Comitê Olímpico Brasileiro (COB) e do Rio 2016, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, finalmente veio a público para tentar explicar o incidente que ganhou destaque na imprensa europeia e afetou a organização dos próximos Jogos” [pressured by assumptions and some declarations that the Rio 2016 Committee would be directly involved in the scandal of the copied archives from the London Committee, the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) and Rio 2016, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, finally went public to try to explain the incident that has gained prominence in the European press and affected the organization of the upcoming Games].

The words (verbal elements) of the sign, whose main purpose is to indicate the emergency exit door of the room where a press conference was held, were opacified as they were between verbal-visual quotation marks. The “emergency exit” toward which Nuzman walks is exempting Rio 2016 Committee from any responsibility. He states that what the discharged employees did was their own doing and that they reported directly to the London Committee - not to Rio 2016 or COB.

Schematically, this is the meta-enunciative unfolding:

Second classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
Nuzman exempts Rio 2016 Committee from participating in the scandal Sign: EMERGENCY EXIT
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
EMERGENCY EXIT, but in the sense of Nuzman exempts Rio 2016 Committee from participating in the scandal

On the verbal-visual plane, as the meta-utterative unfolding is established, the words of the sign (the verbal elements) are commented on and their meaning is opacified: it is no longer about the indication of the emergency exit from that room, but the strategy used by the COB president to try to stop the scandal of the theft of confidential documents. The verbal elements of the sign do not coincide with themselves: there is a noncoincidence between words themselves

Again, as in all cases of verbal-visual quotation mark classifications, the phenomenon would not exist if the photograph had been analyzed separately as a single utterance: in that situation, the verbal elements of the sign would not be between verbal-visual quotation marks.

3.3 Opacifying Verbal-visual Allegory

The last classification of verbal-visual quotation marks is called opacifying verbal-visual allegory. Hansen (1986) explains that allegory derives from the Greek words allós (other) and agourein (speak) and that, in classical rhetoric, it could be understood as saying b in order to mean a. Lausberg (2004), in his turn, defines allegory as a “metaphor that continues as a trope of thought. It consists in the substitution of the thought in question for another thought, which is connected, in a relation of resemblance, to that same thought in question” (LAUSBERG, 2004, p.249).21

Either as a rhetoric figure on the verbal plane or as a device widely used in plastic arts, allegory is a possibility to create a “signifying virtuality” (HANSEN, 1986, p.10);22 that is, it is a device with potential to make other meanings emerge.

The term was chosen because there is no direct relation between verbal and visual elements (as in the first classification), nor the opacification of verbal elements on the visual plane (as in the second). This particular form of relation between verbal and visual elements makes possible the opacification of the visual whole. It opacifies it in a way that is becomes open to another meaning and begins representing, though visual discourse, the discourse on the verbal plane.

In the opacifying verbal-visual allegory, the relation is not direct; it is rather mediated. It refers to the relation that, in order to be understood, needs to mobilize information and knowledge other than that which is found directly in the analyzed utterance. In other words, mediation is necessary.

In this type of classification, a noncoincidence of the visual discourse with itself occurs. As the opacification is established by means of a relation between the verbal and the visual planes, the visual plane becomes open to the inference of another meaning at the moment it is commented on by the meta-utterative unfolding. It is in this sense that the visual plane becomes an allegory of what is uttered on the verbal plane.

Schematically, this is the third classification of verbal-visual quotation marks:

Third classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: opacifying verbal-visual allegory
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
Discourse X(verbal) Discourse Y(visual)
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
Discourse Y(visual), but in the sense of Discourse X(verbal)

Here is an example. The analyzed utterance was published in Veja magazine on October 17, 2012.23 Titled “O dilema do vencedor” [The Winner’s Dilemma], it is about the increase of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) during the municipal elections in Brazil at the end of 2012. It shows that the number of mayors from PSB increased by 40%, if compared to prior municipal elections. However, the news piece focuses on the increase of the political influence of Eduardo Campos, who was the president of PSB and the governor of the state of Pernambuco at the time, as well as on his future stance during the next presidential elections. Campos died in a plane crash during his presidential campaign in 2014.

The news piece shows that Eduardo Campos is being harassed by the main presidential candidates, viz., President Dilma Rousseff (from the Workers’ Party - PT), who sought reelection, and Aécio Neves (from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party - PSDB).

The news piece uses two pages (pp.74-75) and shows three large visual elements: on the left page, a large photograph of Eduardo Campos, by João Carlos Mazelli from Fotoarena, takes up two out of the three vertical columns and two thirds of the horizontal space of the page. On the lower right corner of the photograph, the caption reads, “Aliado ou rival? Eduardo Campos terá de dizer a Dilma se será ou não candidato em 2014” [An Ally or a rival? Eduardo Campos will have to tell Dilma if he will be a candidate in 2014 or not]. Below the photograph, a graphical table shows the increase of political parties after the 2012 municipal elections.

On the top of the right page, a smaller photograph, by André Fossati from Folhapress, shows Aécio Neves, a senator from PSDB and the party’s candidate for the 2014 presidential elections. Beside the photograph, which is not perfectly centralized as it is slightly moved to the right, a caption reads, “Sonho tucano. Aécio Neves, candidato do PSDB, quer Eduardo como vice ou a seu lado no segundo turno” [The dream of a PSDB member. Aécio Neves, the PSDB candidate, wants Eduardo either as his vice-president or by his side on the second round of elections].

The big headline of the news piece is “O dilema do vencedor” [The Winner’s Dilemma]. The sentence below it reads, “O PSB de Eduardo Campos venceu o primeiro turno. Agora ele precisa decidir se continua com Dilma ou disputa a Presidência” [The PSB of Eduardo Campos won the first round. Now he needs to decide if he continues with Dilma or runs for president].

The opacifying verbal-visual allegory is manifest in the larger photograph of the utterance in which Campos’s face takes up almost the whole upper quadrant of the image and his hand, almost the whole lower quadrant. Behind his head, in the background and slightly out of focus, is the coat of arms of the state of Pernambuco, shown below.

According to the official webpage of the Government of Pernambuco, the green branches on the left of the shield represents sugarcane, and on the right, cotton. Both symbolize the economic richness of the State - at least at the time when the coat of arms was officially adopted by the State in 1895.

Going back to the photograph, we clearly see that the framing caused these two branches (sugarcane and cotton) to flank Eduardo Campos’s head, overlapping the coat of arms on the wall in the background.

If the overlap caused not by subsequent photograph manipulation, but by the framing of the picture when it was taken allows seeing Campos’s head flanked by branches of sugarcane and cotton, the meta-utterative unfolding between verbal and visual elements opacifies the meaning of these branches: sugarcane and cotton in the coat of arms now mean laurel branches and Eduardo Campos, the winner, displays the symbol of victory on his head ostentatiously.

The laurel wreath traces back to Ancient Greek, when it was offered to generals that had won battles. It became a symbol of victory and caused the creation of expressions, such as “to reap the laurels of victory,” “laurels to the winner,” etc.

If the photograph, as a concrete utterance, made it possible for the reader to interpret the meaning based on the overlap between the images of the governor’s head and the coat of arms of the state of Pernambuco, the news piece as a whole and the respective opacifying meta-utterative unfolding between the verbal and visual elements only makes it stronger. If doubts still existed over the fact that the sugarcane and cotton branches could be inferred as a laurel wreath on Campos’s head, the verbal element of the title of the news piece considerably reduces those doubts: “O dilema do vencedor” [The Winner’s Dilemma]. Therefore, the sugarcane and cotton branches are opacified and become open to being interpreted as laurel branches, a symbol of a crown of victory. The meta-utterative unfolding establishes a comment on these visual elements: once the sugarcane and cotton branches mean laurel branches, they would be, thus, between verbal-visual quotation marks. Schematically, this is the meta-utterative unfolding:

Third classification of verbal-visual quotation marks: opacifying verbal-visual allegory
VERBAL PLANE VISUAL PLANE
Eduardo Campos considered the winner of the 2012 elections Overlap of Eduardo Campos's head and the sugarcane and cotton branches of the coat of arms of Pernambuco
VERBAL-VISUAL PLANE
Overlap of Eduardo Campos's head and the sugarcane and cotton branches, but in the sense of laurel wreath of thewinner of the 2012 elections and his dilemma

What occurs in this classification of verbal-visual quotation marks is the opacification of the photograph as a whole in a discursive interrelation between the verbal and visual elements that make up the utterance. The photograph, therefore, becomes the allegory of the winner’s dilemma - it is the noncoincidence of the visual discourse with itself as the photograph of Eduardo Campos and the coat of arms of Pernambuco in the background becomes the image (visual discourse) of the winner (Eduardo Campos), his laurel wreath and dilemma. Thus, other discourses that opacify the meaning of the photograph, the image as a whole, resonate.

Final Remarks

As mentioned in the introduction of this article, verbal-visual quotation marks are not unquestionable typographical symbols, but a specific type of relation between the verbal and visual elements that make up the same utterance. Therefore, they ask for three interpretation efforts: (i) to show the specific relation between these verbal and visual elements that may be configured as an opacifying meta-utterative unfolding; (ii) to classify the types of verbal-visual quotation marks based on the characteristics of this specific relation; and (iii) to seek the understanding of the utterative-discursive meaning produced by this relation.

This article aimed to showcase the existence of the phenomenon called verbal-visual quotation marks and their respective classifications and not to use them as an instrument of an in-depth analysis of given utterances. We sought to present this phenomenon - and how to identify it and classify it - and not the utterative-discursive effects derived from its presence in a given utterance (marks of ideological positioning, establishment of dialogical relations with other utterances, rhetorical effects, among others).

The original research corpus from which this article derives was comprised of utterances from the written press. This does not mean, however, that the phenomenon of verbal-visual quotation marks is circumscribed solely to this sphere. If the theoretical-methodological procedures presented in this article, especially the understanding of the utterance in its constitutive verbal-visual dimension, is followed, verbal-visual quotation marks may be found in any utterance in which the verbal and visual elements are considered an inseparable whole. As an example, the concept of verbal-visual quotation marks may be pertinent to analyses that focus on the study of the discourse production called memes (understood as verbal-visual utterances of wide dissemination in the discursive sphere of the internet).

As to the classifications of verbo-visual quotation marks, this study developed three types based on the recurrence of common characteristics that helped group them. This does not mean that other classifications may not be proposed.24 If verbo-visual quotation marks are established in the relation between verbal and visual elements of the same utterance (making the opacifying meta-utterative unfolding possible), the development of a new classification of the phenomenon can occur when a new and recurrent relation between these elements (different from the one presented herein) is identified.

This article intends to contribute to the field of language studies by presenting the concept of verbo-visual quotation marks and their classification. It aims to offer a new theoretical-methodological instrument of research that focuses on the verbo-visual dimension of utterances and their characteristic modes of producing meaning effects.

1In the original: “um indicador interpretativo.”

2In Portuguese: “sinal a ser interpretado.”

3In the original: “une sorte de manque, de creux à combler interprétativement, un ‘appel de glose.’”

4In the original: “modalisation autonymique.”

5In the original: “archiforme.”

6In the original: “a articulação entre elementos verbais e visuais formam um todo indissolúvel, cuja unidade exige do leitor, e notadamente do analista, a percepção e o reconhecimento dessa particularidade.”

7The concept of “concrete utterance,” to which Brait refers, should be understood in the tradition of the concepts developed by the so-called Bakhtin Circle.

8In the original: “uma enunciação, um enunciado concreto articulado por um projeto discursivo do qual participam, com a mesma força e importância, a linguagem verbal e a linguagem visual.”

9VOLOŠINOV, V. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Translated by Ladislav Matejka and I. R. Titunik. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.

10BAKHTIN, M. The Problem of Speech Genres. In: BAKHTIN, M. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Edited by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist; translated by Vern W. McGee. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1986, pp.103-131.

11It is important not to confound the Circle’s understanding of utterative positioning with the notion of enunciative position from the Theory of Enunciation, developed by Émile Benveniste.

12For further details, see Amorim (2007).

13In Portuguese: “fazendo intervir nessa ‘imagem do dizer’, por meio da autonímia, a materialidade dos signos concernentes, significado e significante.”

14In Portuguese: “O signo é como um vidro transparente que permite ver outra coisa além dele próprio e essa transparência vem do fato de representar a coisa significada sem ele mesmo se refletir nessa representação. No entanto, o signo pode também não remeter a outra coisa a não ser ele mesmo, perdendo a transparência que permitia ver a coisa através dele, sendo aí que se torna opaco. Em outras palavras, quando o locutor se serve do signo, fazendo uso dele, é transparente, pois, nesse caso, o que o signo é ele próprio como signo não aparece: o que aparece é a coisa significada. Inversamente, pode-se tratar o signo como coisa, mencioná-lo, colocá-lo entre aspas, o pacificando-o. A partir da reflexão trazida por Récanati e das indicações presentes em Rey-Debove, Authier-Revuz diz que o signo comum é transparente porque, ao mesmo tempo em que se apaga diante da coisa nomeada, tolera a substituição sinonímica de um termo pelo outro. Já o signo autonímico é opaco, opacidade que resulta de uma interposição, no ‘trajeto’ que leva à coisa designada, de uma consideração sobre o próprio signo. A autora restringe o uso do termo opacificação a esse fenômeno de interposição, que suspende a sinonímia, como na menção -emprego dito ‘opaco’ do signo -mas não suspende a designação do objeto por intermédio do signo.”

15In Portuguese: “O signo, em lugar de neles preencher, transparente, no apagamento de si, sua função mediadora, interpõe-se como real, presença, corpo -objeto encontrado no trajeto do dizer e se impondo a ele como objeto deste -; a enunciação desse signo, ao invés de ‘simplesmente’ se cumprir, no esquecimento que acompanha as evidências inquestionadas, se duplica com um comentário sobre si mesma.”

16In Portuguese: “mas no do que eles dizem ao sujeito do dizer.”

17According to Authier-Revuz, as aforementioned, quotation marks are the archiform of autonymic modalization. However, autonymic modalization exists without the use of these typographical symbols.

20In this research, the news piece is considered a single utterance. For further details on this theoretical-methodological approach to it, see Vianna (2016, pp.75-94).

21In Portuguese: “é a metáfora, que é continuada como tropo de pensamento, e consiste na substituição do pensamento em causa, por outro pensamento, que está ligado, numa relação de semelhança, a esse mesmo pensamento em causa.”

22In Portuguese: “virtualidade significante.”

24In my doctoral research, I explored the possibility of creating a fourth classification: direct relation between verbal element and visual form (VIANNA, 2016, pp. 141-145). However, as only one utterance from the corpus would fall into that category, impeding the investigation of recurrent characteristics that would characterize a broad classification, I chose to only point out the possibility of its existence.

Translated by Orison Marden Bandeira de Melo Júnior - junori36@uol.com.br; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7592-449X

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Received: April 16, 2019; Accepted: September 15, 2019

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