Aksinja Kermauner, PhD., assistant professor at the University of Primorska

Tactile Semiotic Code in tactile picture book 

With what elements of tactile image can the reader get into interaction, what attracts her or his attention, what is the order of touching the tactile image, how do the composition and different materials affect it?

The interpretation of texts usually takes place at the level of textual and pictorial codes, while the tactile semiotic code usually remains completely neglected; probably because tactile picture books are generally understood to be and are conceptualised and designed as intended for blind users. Experience shows, however, they are also interesting for fully sensed children. Multimodal texts are closer to children, they address several of their senses, and so it is easier for them to remember the content.

Aksinja have carried out a research where she focused on the tactile semiotic code with tactile illustrations. She has analysed the decoding of a tactile message at all the three levels of metafunction with persons that were born blind, and those who lost their vision later. In this session she will discuss to what extent the tactile code is different from textual or pictorial codes and what are its specificities. She has set herself research questions in the sense: with what elements of tactile image can the reader get into interaction, what attracts her or his attention, what is the order of touching the tactile image, how do the composition and different materials affect it, etc. Are the semiotic resources in perceiving the textual or pictorial semiotic code the same as in perceiving the tactile code?  

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