Words have been the most representative system of human language and they have captured historically the focus of attention given to communication. In this vein, an important group of researchers have addressed systematically the investigation of a number of variables related to the comprehension of words, given the intrinsic complexities of the verbal system (e.g., van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983; De Vega, Carreiras, Gutiérrez-Calvo & Alonso-Quecuty, 1990; Kintsch, 1998, 2013; De Vega & Cuetos, 1999; Parodi, 2014; Parodi, Peronard & Ibáñez, 2010). Theories and models of language comprehension offer a number of important developments and debates (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983; Kintsch, 1998; De Vega, Graesser & Glenberg, 2008; Alvermann, Unrau & Ruddell, 2013; Parodi, 2014). However, there have comparatively less advances in the study of multiple semiotic systems that contribute to the construction of textual meanings. Words together with other semiotic systems, as constitutive elements of written texts, have only recently begun to be the focus of study. Thus, in an effort to contribute to the reflection on the understanding of texts composed by diverse systems (among others, words, charts, diagrams, graphics), this article carries out a critical review of four theories of multisemiotic text comprehension. Special attention is paid to the understanding of static texts with words and graphics, and two particular proposals are also reviewed. The paper is closed with a set of reflections and projections for this research area.
multisemiotic comprehension, graphics comprehension, multisemiosis, representational systems, multimodality.