LOT Winter School 2018

Spoken language and gesture

Alan Cienki

Contact

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam




a.cienki@vu.nl

Course info

Level:
Introductory

Course description:
Humans have likely been communicating multimodally since prehistoric times, by making vocal sounds combined with gestures. Yet current possibilities for communicating long-distance with digital video bring to our awareness how powerful the visual side of human communication is. Over the past 20 years, the amount of research on spontaneous manual gesture with speech has grown rapidly, but much of this scholarship stems from the field of psychology. How can gesture be analyzed from a linguistic point of view? We will follow the research tradition that argues that gesture is not ‘nonverbal’ behavior, but rather overlaps and is integrated with verbal communication to varying degrees and on varying time scales. To what degree is gesture serving the same functions as speech and to what degree is it functioning differently? What are we missing if we analyze talk only based on audio recordings or written transcripts? The course will consider how the study of gesture from a linguistic perspective (a) reveals the multimodal ways in which speakers express meaning and (b) gives rise to a more dynamic approach to theorizing about spoken language.

Day-to-day program:

Monday: Introduction to gesture studies; the nature of gesture and gesture types

Tuesday: What’s in a gesture? Gesture units and form features

Wednesday: What do we do with gestures? Functions gestures serve

Thursday: How do gestures represent concepts? Modes of gestural representation and viewpoints represented in gesture

Friday: How do gestures qualify what we say? Recurrent gestures and their relations to pragmatics

Reading list

Course readings:

Lecture 1:

– Müller, C., Ladewig, S.H. & Bressem, J. (2013). Gestures and speech from a linguistic perspective: A new field and its history. Ch. 3 in C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. H. Ladewig, D. McNeill and S. Teßendorf (eds.), Body – language – communication. Vol. 1. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

– Kendon, A. (2013). Exploring the utterance roles of visible bodily action: A personal account. Ch. 1 in C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. H. Ladewig, D. McNeill and S. Teßendorf (eds.), Body – language – communication. Vol. 1. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Lecture 2:

– Kendon, A. (2004). Gesture units, gesture phrases, and speech. Ch. 7 in Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

– Bressem, J. (2013). A linguistic perspective on the notation of form features in gestures. Ch. 70 in Müller, C., A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. H. Ladewig, D. McNeill and S. Teßendorf (eds.), Body – language – communication. Vol. 1. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

Lecture 3:

– Cienki, A. (2013). Gesture, space, grammar, and cognition. In P. Auer, M. Hilpert, A. Stukenbrock & B. Szmrecsanyi (eds.), Space in language and linguistics: Geographical, interactional, and cognitive perspectives. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 667–686.

– Kendon, A. (2004). On pointing. Ch. 11 in Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lecture 4:

– Kendon, A. (2004). Gesture and speech in semantic interaction. Ch. 9 in Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

– Streeck, J. (2009). Depiction. Ch. 6 in Gesturecraft: The manu-facture of meaning. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Lecture 5:

– Cienki, A. (2017). Gesture and pragmatics: From paralinguistic to variably linguistic. Ch. 7 in A. Barron, G. Steen & Y. Gu (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics. London: Routledge.

–Bressem, J. & Müller, C. (2014). A repertoire of German recurrent gestures with pragmatic functions. Ch. 119 in C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. H. Ladewig, D. McNeill & J. Bressem (eds.), Body – language – communication. Vol. 2. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.

– Ladewig, S. (2014). The cyclic gesture. Ch. 121 in C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. H. Ladewig, D. McNeill & J. Bressem (eds.), Body – language – communication. Vol. 2. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.