European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies (EJELLS)

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Visual modes

An Analysis of COVID-19 Poster of the Ghana Health Service: A Semiotic Approach (Published)

The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. The droplets usually fall to the ground or onto surfaces rather than travelling through air over long distances. Transmission may also occur through smaller droplets that are able to stay suspended in the air for longer periods of time. Less commonly, people may become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face. A number of people in Ghana are continually being infected on daily basis and as such the government has made efforts to reduce the spread and rate of infections through one of its agencies, Ghana Health Service under the Ministry of Health by educating the general public to observe the safety protocols through a COVID-19 poster advertisement. The rationale for choosing COVID-19 poster for the study is because posters are multimodal texts that combine textual and visual modes to educate the Ghanaian populace to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols. Textual modes refer to the words written on the selected poster while visual modes refer to the non-verbal signs displayed in the image. The objective of this study is to investigate how semiotic and textual modes are exploited to control and direct the attitude of the reader towards the images. The educative poster of the Ghana Health Service was subjected to a qualitative analysis using Barthes (1998) Semiotic Theory. This research looks at the visual and textual modes of the COVID-19 poster used at vantage points in public places and in various institutions. A descriptive research design was employed for this study as the most suitable for the attainment of the study objectives. The findings show that COVID-19 poster generally deliver a message that together we can defeat COVID-19 by following the safety protocols and obeying government regulations. And also, by observing and analysing the verbal and visual signs in the poster, each of these images and verbal signs are designed to convey an idea or a message, and communicate to readers to have a special effect on them. Again, this study establishes that the visual design as visual language is culturally specific and that the poster represents our environment; social interaction that is the interaction between the producer of the image and the reader.

Citation: Eric Aning (2021) An Analysis of COVID-19 Poster of the Ghana Health Service: A Semiotic Approach, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.9, No.6, pp.56-68

Keywords: COVID-19, Visual modes, multimodal, semiotic modes, textual modes

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