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[Xmca-l] Re: Intonation and Gesture

Martin last year referenced Elena's work on language AS gesture.
Here is here abstract describing her doctoral thesis.

She has now moved to Spain and continuing her studies on gesture WITH A
TEAM OF SCHOLARS exploring this theme


Presented to the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate School of the
University of Oregon in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

December 2011



Student: Elena Clare Cuffari

Title: Co-Speech Gesture in Communication and Cognition

This dissertation has been accepted and approved in partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Department of
Philosophy by:

Mark Johnson Chairperson Ted Toadvine Member Naomi Zack Member

Eric Pederson Outside Member


Kimberly Andrews Espy Vice President for Research & Innovation/Dean of the

Graduate School

Original approval signatures are on file with the University of Oregon
Graduate School.

Degree awarded December 2011


(c) 2011 Elena Clare Cuffari



Elena Clare Cuffari

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

December 2011

Title: Co-Speech Gesture in Communication and Cognition

This dissertation stages a reciprocal critique between traditional and

philosophical approaches to language on the one hand and interdisciplinary
studies of speech-accompanying hand gestures on the other. Gesturing with
the hands while speaking is a ubiquitous, cross-cultural human practice.
Yet this practice is complex, varied, conventional, nonconventional, and
above all under-theorized. In light of the theoretical and empirical
treatments of language and gesture that I engage in, I argue that the hand
gestures that spontaneously accompany speech are a part of language; more
specifically, they are enactments of linguistic meaning. They are
simultaneously (acts of) cognition and communication. Human communication
and cognition are what they are in part because of this practice of
gesturing. This argument has profound implications for philosophy, for
gesture studies, and for interdisciplinary work to come.

As further, strong proof of the pervasively embodied way that humans make
meaning in language, reflection on gestural phenomena calls for a complete
re-orientation in traditional analytic philosophy of language. Yet
philosophical awareness of intersubjectivity and normativity as conditions
of meaning achievement is well-deployed in elaborating and refining the
minimal theoretical apparatus of present-day gesture studies. Triangulating
between the most social, communicative philosophies of meaning


and the most nuanced, reflective treatments of co-speech hand gesture, I
articulate a new construal of language as embodied, world-embedded,
intersubjectively normative, dynamic, multi-modal enacting of appropriative
disclosure. Spontaneous co-speech gestures, while being indeed spontaneous,
are nonetheless informed in various ways by conventions that they
appropriate and deploy. Through this appropriation and deployment speakers
enact, rather than represent, meaning, and they do so in various linguistic
modalities. Seen thusly, gestures provide philosophers with a unique new
perspective on the paradoxical determined-yet-free nature of all human



NAME OF AUTHOR: Elena Clare Cuffari


University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

Oxford University, Oxford, England, UK


Doctor of Philosophy, Philosophy, 2011, University of Oregon

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:

> There is a video with Elena Bodorva (I think titled Tools of the Mind)
> that shows a child refining (with instruction his pointing as a means to
> competently perform ordinal arithmetic. There is (or perhaps should be) a
> lot of gesturing in early mathematics.
> Ed
> On Apr 8, 2014, at  6:24 AM, Rémi A. van Compernolle wrote:
> > David, Alex:
> >
> > Nice clip and commentaries. I wonder, though, what the singer's gestures
> would have looked like as she was first learning the piece, and how their
> qualities might have changed as she practiced. This is obviously of
> interest to Vygotskians (genetic method, right?), and it has been the
> object of some inquiry in education (e.g., Goldin-Meadow's work) as well as
> in second language learning (including Alex's work).
> >
> > I think this might be something for your students to explore in their
> investigations of elementary children learning to perform dialogues, David,
> i.e. not just focusing on how much or how little gestures are used and
> their relation with prosody but how they might develop, from initial
> learning through to some kind of "competent" performance (whatever that
> might mean). Also, could the kids be taught to gesture as a means of
> mediating dialogue performance?
> >
> > Adam
> >
> > Rémi A. van Compernolle
> > Assistant Professor of Second Language Acquisition & French and
> Francophone Studies
> > Department of Modern Languages
> > Carnegie Mellon University
> > Baker Hall A60M
> > 412-268-1122
> >
> >
> >
> > On Apr 7, 2014, at 6:23 PM, Alex Rosborough <alex_rosborough@byu.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >> David,
> >>
> >> Thank you for sharing this and past posts. I'd like to preface this with
> >> a, "long time listener, first time caller" type of statement... as I was
> >> only recently (re)added to the list after a multiyear recess.
> >>
> >> I didn't take a deep look at the video but with slow down motion, I
> think
> >> your graduate student will see that there are a variety of gestures that
> >> occur "at the same time" in sync with the conductor (as well as with her
> >> rhythmic needs) - analogue style, right? So in many cases she IS hitting
> >> rhythmic beats for HER notes... Look at the final or most important
> >> "strokes" as David McNeill has termed them. She goes high for intonation
> >> but then fingers or hand will often hit the most important point
> (rhythmic
> >> point) of the phrase (while arm is extended). This is often coupled
> with a
> >> "beat" stroke too. Sometimes, she does coordinate with the conductor but
> >> we can't see the final lower stroke because of the limitations of the
> >> camera... Unfortunately, the camera person does not seem too intent in
> >> capturing the entire corporeal manifestation of the singing. What I'm
> >> quite certain about is that during those down hand beat motions, she and
> >> the conductor would be coordinated at their stop within fractions of a
> >> second... We wouldn't be able to tell where they differed unless we
> break
> >> it down past 1/10 - 1/40 of a second but other data analysis has shown
> >> that they would have looked very coordinated, especially in those
> downward
> >> strokes.
> >>
> >> So interestingly, it possible that she may be presenting purpose and
> >> communication for multiple reasons using multiple modalities in an
> >> embodied and prosodic way (intertwined); including melodic and rhythmic
> >> expressions as well as the public/private message ensemble - nothing new
> >> for Vygotsky people :) So her "conflicts" are purposeful as well in
> >> meeting her needs and are interesting to study - as you noted. I agree
> >> with you and your grad. Student's observations of the el. ed. children.
> >>
> >> Just some brainstorming - thanks for sharing.
> >>
> >> Alex Rosborough
> >> Brigham Young University
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On 4/7/14 3:29 PM, "David Kellogg" <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>> One of my graduate students has been studying the way in which
> >>> children use their hands when they speak English.
> >>>
> >>> We started with the observation that fourth and fifth graders will
> >>> gesture copiously when they speak, but fifth and sixth graders, when
> >>> you ask them to perform a dialogue in front of the class, will come
> >>> out and lock their hands behind their backs, apparently to prevent
> >>> themselves from gesticulating. Sure enough, their delivery is far more
> >>> flat in intonation. When we ask them to unlock their hands, there is a
> >>> notable improvement in intonation.
> >>>
> >>> This morning I was looking at Natalie Dessaye rehearsing the mad scene
> >>> from "Lucia de Lammermoor". She gesticulates a LOT. But you can see
> >>> that her gesticulations are not at all mad--when her voice has to go
> >>> high, she puts her hand way over her head. When she has to go low, she
> >>> places her hand low.
> >>>
> >>> Her "conducting" actually conflicts with that of the conductor,
> >>> because of course it's melodic and not rhythmic. But it's effective;
> >>> it produces that exquisite sense of "bloom" in her high notes. It's
> >>> not exactly what my students are doing, but it's close!
> >>>
> >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlVKw3_VXv4
> >>>
> >>> David Kellogg
> >>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> .
> >>
> >>
> >
> >