This paper explores intersemiotic construction and digital interactivity through a multimodal social semiotic lens examining the semiotic instantiations of interactive signs on the homepage of “Fighting COVID-19 the Chinese Way” (covid-19.chinadaily.com.cn), a website created to disseminate information on news and development of COVID prevention and control practices in China to contribute to global efforts to fight the pandemic. The study focuses on how digital interactivity is afforded by the COVID China website, where the interactive signs are ideationally and compositionally constructed for meaning representation and interpersonally for text-viewer relation construal. From the multimodal social semiotic perspective, systemic functional model-based cluster and intersemiotic analyses are applied to explore the visual, spatial, and linguistic features that contribute to the design and construction of interactive semiotic signs on the COVID China website and afford digital interactivity for viewers’ action potentials. This study extends the analytical focus to the semiotic instantiations of interactive signs and their intersemiotic construction process that stimulate the enabling of interactivity, instead of the interactivity per se, and demonstrates how different semiotic instantiations of interactive signs are featured and interact to afford digital interactivity. It argues for an integrated lens in analysis to look at the interactive signs not only as signs of action with action-enabling forms but also as signs of meanings that afford user-page interactivity.
- social semiotics