Toward a multimodal pragmatics analysis of ambulant vending on a Buenos Aires trainline

Rosina Márquez Reiter*, Elizabeth Cordeje-Manrique, Marina Cantarutti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the occupational practices of four ambulant vendors (AVs) over a 20-day period, as they board, occupy, and alight trains to make a living in the popular economy. It captures for the first time some of the multimodal communicative practices they deploy to present an engaging sales pitch, attempt to convert passengers into prospects and sustain their livelihoods on the move. A multimodal pragmatics analysis of their sales pitch as video-recorded by the AVs reveals three clear stages marked by body motion in alignment with other bodily and verbal activities to capture the audience as they zero in on the product attributes. The article highlights the dexterity and professionalism of these workers in combining different modalities to augment their presence and chances of securing sales as they navigate the challenges of the unequal working conditions they inhabit as captured from a novel first-person perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-142
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was possible thanks to an SRA International Development and Inclusive Innovation grant. (PI: R. Márquez Reiter) in collaboration with CITRA-CONICET-UMET. (Ethical clearance reference: Open University HREC/3291 Márquez Reiter 14/04/2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Ambulant vending
  • Mobile setting
  • Multimodal pragmatics
  • Popular economy
  • Professionalism
  • Sales pitch

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