Re: [xmca] Book review - Gesture and the Dynamic Dimension of Language

From: Phil Chappell <philchappell who-is-at>
Date: Sun May 11 2008 - 01:44:31 PDT

Thanks back to you, Ana - the book you mention is one that slipped me
by and I have already made an order for it. By the way, you may or may
not recall Wollf-Michael Roth's very useful overview of research on
gesture that was mentioned here a while ago.

Roth, W.-.M. 2001, Gestures - Their Role in Teaching and Learning,
Review of Educational Research, vol. 71, no. 3, pp. 365-93.

I'd be happy to send you a copy if you don't have access.
Unfortunately for me, gesture has become something that I wasn't going
to include in my dissertation, but it has such powerful semiotic
potential that I can't bear to sideline it!


On 10/05/2008, at 9:35 AM, Ana Christina wrote:

> Thank you so much for sending this information through the listserv,
> Phil.
> The field of gesture studies is indeed a fascinating one.
> Here is another book on the subject (with a focus on second language
> acquisition) that may be of interest to this group. A portion of the
> volume is especially dedicated to the application of sociocultural
> theory to the studies of gesture.
> Gesture: Second Language Acquisition and Classroom Research
> Steven G. McCafferty and Gale Stam, eds.
> Routledge: London
> 2008
> As a whole, this book provides ample demonstration of the vital
> connection between language and gesture, and why it is critical to
> take into account the full spectrum of communicative phenomena as
> part of research on second language acquisition (SLA). Collectively,
> the authors and editors believe that readers unfamiliar with L2
> gesture studies will find a powerful new lens with which to view
> many aspects of language in use, language learning, and language
> teaching. Of particular interest to MCA readers will be Setion II,
> Gesture and Making Meaning in the L2, which consists of three
> studies that all take an explicitly Vygotskian view of the role of
> gesture in SLA. Chapter 3 by Steven G. McCafferty examines an L2
> speaker’s discussion of ideal marriage. He argues that the learner’s
> metaphoric gestures served a primary role in the conceptualization
> and communication of meaning. Elizabeth Platt and Frank B. Brooks in
> Chapter 4 discuss how L2 learners’ use of gestures, gaze, nonverbal
> movements, and physical contact with the task materials helped the
> participants achieve self-regulation in performing a simulation task
> in their L2. In Chapter 5, Eduardo Negueruela and James P. Lantolf
> also investigate the self-regulatory and communicative functions of
> gestures. Their focus is on how deictic and iconic gestures
> contribute to the construction of meaning in the L2.
> Table of Contents:
> I Introduction to Gesture and Its L2 Applications
> 1. Gesture Studies and Second Language Acquisition: A Review
> Gale Stam and Steven G. McCafferty
> 2. Nonverbal Communication, Gesture, and Second Language
> Classrooms: A Review
> Carla Chamberlin Quinlisk
> II Gesture and Making Meaning in the L2
> 3. Material Foundations for Second Language Acquisition: Gesture,
> Metaphor, and Internalization
> Steven G. McCafferty
> 4. Embodiment as Self-Regulation in L2 Task Performance
> Elizabeth Platt and Frank B. Brooks
> 5. The Dialectics of Gesture in the Construction of Meaning in
> Second Language Oral Narratives
> Eduardo Negueruela and James P. Lantolf
> III Gesture and Communicative Performance in the L2
> 6. Gesturally-Enhanced Repeats in the Repair Turn: Communication
> Strategy or Cognitive Language-Learning Tool?
> David Olsher
> 7. Does Gesture Aid Discourse Comprehension in the L2?
> Tsuyoshi Kida
> 8. Language Learner and Native Speaker Perceptions of Japanese
> Refusal Gestures Portrayed in Video
> Nicholas O. Jungheim
> IV Gesture and Linguistic Perormance in the L2
> 9. A Helping Hand? Gestures, L2 Learners, and Grammar
> Marianne Gullberg
> 10. Linguistic and Gestural Introduction of Ground Reference in L1
> and L2 Narrative
> Keiko Yoshioka
> 11. What Gestures Reveal About Second Language Acquisition
> Gale Stam
> V Gesture and the L2 Classroom
> 12. ‘Because of Her Gesture, It’s Very Easy to Understand’ –
> Learners’ Perceptions of Teachers’ Gestures in the Foreign Language
> Class.
> Daniela Sime
> 13. Gesture and the Negoitation of Meaning in a Second Language
> Classroom
> Martine Faraco and Tsuyoshi Kida
> 14. Expository Discourse in a Second Language Classroom: How
> Learners Use Gesture
> Alexis Tabensky
> On May 7, 2008, at 6:15 PM, Phil Chappell wrote:
>> May be of interest to some here.
>> Phil
>> EDITORS: Duncan, Susan D.; Cassell, Justine; Levy, Elena T.
>> TITLE: Gesture and the Dynamic Dimension of Language
>> PUBLISHER: John Benjamins Publishing Company
>> YEAR: 2007
>> Pentti Haddington, English Philology, Faculty of Humanities,
>> University of Oulu,
>> Finland
>> Quite recently, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of
>> research on the
>> complex relationship between gesture and language. Such fields as
>> gesture
>> studies, interaction analysis and conversation analysis have
>> contributed to our
>> understanding of this relationship in natural discourse. This new
>> book edited by
>> Susan D. Duncan, Justine Cassell and Elena T. Levy provides an
>> important and
>> versatile contribution to this fascinating research area. It is
>> also the first
>> volume published in the new Gesture Studies series published by
>> Benjamins. The
>> book is a festschrift honoring the research of David McNeill, whose
>> work has
>> helped scholars around the world better understand the relationship
>> between
>> gesture, language, cognition and interaction. As the editors note
>> in the
>> introduction, these studies reflect McNeill's view of language as a
>> dynamic
>> phenomenon with emergent structure, and his idea that gesture is
>> part of
>> language and not an adjunct to it (4).
>> The book is composed of 21 articles. After the introductory
>> section, the book is
>> divided into three sections: 1) Language and Cognition, 2)
>> Environmental Context
>> and Sociality and 3) Atypical Minds and Bodies.
>> The book starts with the editors' brief introduction (pp. 3-11,
>> ''Introduction:
>> The Dynamic Dimension of Language'') to the background of McNeill's
>> theoretical
>> thinking and to some of his main theoretical notions.
>> The next article by Adam Kendon, ''On the Origins of Modern Gesture
>> Studies'' (pp.
>> 13-28), gives a detailed view of the historical development of
>> gesture studies
>> from the Renaissance to the present. He connects the development of
>> gesture
>> studies both to various historical events and to the historical
>> development of
>> linguistics and anthropology, especially since the late 19th
>> century. He
>> discusses the reasons why gesture studies has recently gained so
>> much prominence
>> as a research field and why it has the status it now has.
>> Kendon's article is important and should be read by anyone who is
>> planning to
>> teach a course on or study gesture. The article provides a view to
>> various
>> historical approaches to the study of gestures and, moreover, to
>> the historical
>> origins of research on the relationship between gesture and
>> language. Kendon's
>> discussion of the historical development of gesture studies vis-à-vis
>> linguistics supports the overall theme of the book. Moreover, it
>> makes one aware
>> that teaching and researching the history of linguistics could
>> benefit greatly
>> from considering the history of gesture studies (and vice versa).
>> Indeed,
>> further research on the influence that linguistics and gesture
>> studies have had
>> on each other could provide new and fresh vantage points to the
>> historical
>> understanding of both.
>> The first larger section contains nine articles, which primarily
>> focus on the
>> relationship between language and gesture from a cognitive or
>> ''intrapersonal''
>> vantage point. The first paper by Susan Goldin-Meadow, ''Gesture
>> with Speech and
>> Without It'' (pp. 31-49), considers gesture from two perspectives:
>> First, it
>> asks, when does gesture assume the full responsibility for
>> communication? And
>> second, when is gesture used together with speech? Goldin-Meadow's
>> article
>> provides an interesting insight into the relationship between
>> gesture and
>> language structure in interaction. Her data are particularly
>> interesting: she
>> has studied deaf children who have not been exposed to any
>> language, but have
>> developed their own gestural system for communication (they use so-
>> called
>> 'homesigns'). Such a system is of course very different from the
>> gestural system
>> that is used together with speech. Nevertheless, Goldin-Meadow is
>> able to show
>> that deaf children who ''do not have'' a native language are, on
>> the one hand,
>> capable communicators and, on the other hand, the structure of the
>> homesign sign
>> language they use has properties that are strikingly similar with
>> the syntax,
>> word order and pragmatics of spoken language.
>> Without going into great detail, her very interesting paper
>> provides food for
>> thought in terms of understanding the origins of language, argument
>> structure
>> (cf. Du Bois 2003), word order and social actions/activities.
>> Nini Hoiting and Dan I. Slobin's ''From Gestures to Signs in the
>> Acquisition of
>> Sign Language'' (pp. 51-65) considers sign language acquisition and
>> the
>> development of the use of gestures among signers. They also compare
>> sign
>> language acquisition with spoken language acquisition. Their data
>> were recorded
>> in the Netherlands and in them they have looked at 15-36-month old
>> deaf
>> children. Their main question is: when does an iconic gesture
>> become a symbol in
>> the acquisition of sign language? They suggest that there might be
>> different
>> timetables and patterns as regards the acquisition of linguistic
>> structures.
>> They also address an interesting cognitive aspect of sign language
>> acquisition:
>> compared to hearing children, do deaf children have a different
>> route to
>> learning signs, since they sometimes seem to accidentally use an
>> appropriate
>> sign? Hearing children do not stumble across an appropriate
>> phonological form by
>> accident.
>> All in all, the article raises some interesting questions regarding
>> the
>> cognitive development and acquisition of linguistic phenomena
>> between the deaf
>> and the hearing (how does it happen, when does it happen, and what
>> happens?).
>> Similarly with Kendon's article, Hoiting and Slobin deal with a
>> fundamental
>> question for linguists: what is language?
>> In their paper ''How does Spoken Language Shape Iconic
>> Gestures'' (pp. 67-74)
>> Sotaro Kita and Asli Özyürek focus on the role of gesture as a
>> component of
>> thinking and speaking. They also at how the gestures we use reflect
>> the dynamic
>> relationship between imagery and language in our heads. The authors
>> discuss
>> three hypotheses, of which one is their own, The Interface
>> Hypothesis. They
>> examine how a language's lexical and syntactic structure influences
>> the
>> speakers' use of iconic gestures. They focus on the construal of
>> particular
>> motion events, and their findings - which are based on cross-
>> linguistic data -
>> suggest that syntactic and gestural packaging of information are
>> cognitively
>> parallel processes.
>> What makes Kita's and Özyürek's research particularly interesting
>> from a
>> linguistic perspective, is that it draws on and makes connections
>> with Cognitive
>> Grammar and Construction Grammar.
>> By focusing on retellings of an episode of Sylvester the Cat and
>> Tweety Bird,
>> Nobuhiro Furuyama and Kazuki Sekine (''Forgetful or Strategic? The
>> Mystery of the
>> Systematic Avoidance of Reference in the Cartoon Story Narrative'',
>> pp. 75-81)
>> argue that in the retellings of the cartoon, speakers tend to avoid
>> telling a
>> particular piece of information (by addressing it in talk or
>> gesture); namely
>> Sylvester's direction of motion in the punch-line of one of the
>> episodes.
>> According to the authors, Sylvester's motion in the punch-line
>> disrupts an
>> overall motion pattern in the cartoon. The authors argue that
>> describing
>> direction per se is not something that is avoided, but that a piece
>> of
>> information can be avoided in order to maintain narrative or
>> discourse cohesion.
>> This is what the authors argue happens in the studied retellings as
>> well:
>> narrating Sylvester's divergent movement would disrupt the
>> cohesiveness of the
>> telling.
>> In ''Metagesture: An Analysis of Theoretical Discourse about
>> Multimodal Language''
>> (pp. 83-89) Fay Parrill takes a metadiscursive view to a gesture
>> that is
>> frequently used by McNeill himself: a gesture in which two hands
>> form an almost
>> closed cup. This gesture metaphorically encloses a virtual object
>> that is being
>> talked about. Parrill draws on several examples in which McNeill
>> uses this
>> gesture. She argues that the gesture is used in similar discourse
>> environments
>> and that it can, together with talk, express information that forms
>> a conceptual
>> unit (i.e. a growth point). This argument is in line with McNeill's
>> growth point
>> theory of the dialectic between ''the imagistic and linguistic
>> aspects of the
>> language system'' (p. 86). Parrill concludes that the cupped
>> gesture is an
>> example of a 'speaker-specific gesture' that 1) is generated on the
>> basis of
>> imagery (i.e. it is not conventionalized) and 2) is routinized.
>> Evelyn McClave in an interesting paper ''Potential Cognitive
>> Universals: Evidence
>> from Head Movements in Turkana'' (pp. 91-98) looks at three head
>> movements that
>> recur in the discourse of speakers of genetically different
>> languages. In her
>> own prior work and with her colleagues she has investigated head
>> movements among
>> speakers of Arabic, Bulgarian, Korean and African-American
>> Vernacular English.
>> In the paper published in this volume she has focused on recordings
>> made of
>> Turkana people (northwestern Kenya) to see if similar head
>> movements in similar
>> discursive contexts can be found in their talk. McClave admits that
>> certain head
>> movements are naturally culture specific. However, in her data, she
>> has found
>> three head movement types that occur across cultural and linguistic
>> boundaries:
>> head movements that occur together with lists, head movements that
>> accomplish
>> pointing and head movements that function as backchannel requests.
>> In ''Blending in Deception: Tracing Output Back to Its
>> Source'' (pp. 99-108), Amy
>> Franklin looks at gesture-speech mismatches. According to Franklin
>> (p. 99)
>> gesture-speech mismatches occur when people have several things in
>> mind that
>> they want to express. Franklin looks at experimental situations in
>> which
>> participants have watched a cartoon and are asked to misreport
>> parts of the
>> cartoon to another person who has not seen it. She shows that in
>> misreport
>> sequences that contain a mismatch between linguistic and embodied
>> information,
>> the final output can be understood as a blend that reflects the
>> different
>> strategies the speaker has (e.g. producing talk that is part fact,
>> part
>> fiction). Franklin's findings empirically suggest that an embodied
>> action or,
>> for example, a facial expression can give the speaker away if s/he
>> is not
>> telling the right side of an issue.
>> Cornelia Müller's paper ''A Dynamic View of Metaphor, Gesture and
>> Thought'' (pp.
>> 109-116) discusses metaphors and draws on McNeill's theory to
>> outline a dynamic
>> view of metaphor. With the help of an example from everyday
>> interaction, she
>> studies a metaphor that draws on the source domain LOVE AS A
>> describes the role that gesture, head movement and language have in
>> the
>> activation, foregrounding and expression of metaphoricity in spoken
>> interaction,
>> and shows that interlocutors can use multiple modalities
>> simultaneously to
>> express metaphors. Müller's paper is important for linguists
>> interested in
>> metaphors, because it shows that metaphoricity is not only a
>> linguistic phenomenon.
>> In the last paper of the first section, ''Second Language
>> Acquisition from a
>> McNeillian Perspective'' (pp. 117-124), Gale A. Stam argues that
>> rather than
>> focusing on learners' speech only, second language acquisition
>> (SLA) research
>> would benefit from considering both speech and gesture, and how
>> they figure in
>> SLA. Most of the paper reviews prior SLA research that has
>> considered the role
>> of gesture in second/foreign language learning/teaching.
>> Stam's paper is indeed a good review paper for SLA scholars who are
>> not familiar
>> with this particular area. Although space limitations perhaps did
>> not allow
>> this, it would have been interesting, for instance, to see an
>> analysis of the
>> role of gestures in language learning and how they reveal
>> ''thinking for speaking''.
>> The second section, which contains eight articles, takes a more
>> interactional or
>> 'interpersonal' approach to the relationship between language and
>> gesture. In
>> general, the papers in this section foreground the idea that
>> language and the
>> use of gestures should be investigated in the social context in
>> which they are
>> produced.
>> The first paper in this section is Janet Bavelas's ''Face-to-face
>> Dialogue as a
>> Micro-social Context: The example of Motor-mimicry'' (pp. 127-146).
>> The
>> phenomenon that she describes (motor-mimicry in interaction) is very
>> interesting. However, her paper also raises theoretical and
>> research ethical
>> issues. First of all, 'motor-mimicry' is a phenomenon that all of
>> us can relate
>> to. It refers, for instance, to a listener's embodied (wince) and/
>> or spoken
>> action (''ouch'') that follows an incident - or an account of such
>> incident - in
>> which someone is hurt. Based on her and her colleagues' prior
>> research (Bavelas,
>> Black, Lemery and Mullett 1986), she shows that counter to the
>> general belief
>> that such a mimic action is a cognitive reaction to stimulus that
>> somehow
>> expresses the actor's internal state of mind, 'motor-mimicry' is
>> designed to be
>> seen by the coparticipants and contingent upon, for example,
>> whether the
>> participants' gaze meet.
>> By considering 'motor-mimicry' as a social, reciprocal and
>> intersubjective
>> practice, Bavelas also makes an important theoretical argument. Her
>> work
>> strongly supports the idea that individuals do not act in a vacuum;
>> rather, the
>> micro-social context, with its variable semiotic resources and
>> stimuli,
>> influences individuals and their actions in such fundamental ways
>> that the
>> analytic starting point cannot be the individual. This argument
>> diverges from
>> the general tendency in much research in linguistics and social
>> psychology.
>> Next, Bavelas paper takes an interesting metalinguistic turn
>> towards considering
>> research ethics. She takes a detailed view to how the above 1986
>> paper has been
>> cited. She shows that the original findings (see the argument
>> above) have been
>> largely misunderstood and miscited. She points out (p. 140) that
>> she does not
>> think that the miscitations are due to malevolence or deliberate
>> behavior.
>> Rather, she thinks that ''the authors simply read our experiment as
>> fitting a
>> familiar and expected pattern.'' The slight unconventionality of
>> Bavelas's paper
>> provides an important and refreshing contribution to the book.
>> John B. Haviland's ''Master Speakers, Master Gesturers: A String
>> Quartet Master
>> Class'' (pp. 147-172) is an ethnographic/anthropological study that
>> draws on
>> McNeill's work and looks at gestures in a recording of string
>> quarter 'Master
>> Class' at Reed College Music Department. The data are from a
>> teaching situation.
>> Those readers (including me) who are not familiar with music
>> teaching, musical
>> notation or the musical world may find Haviland's paper
>> challenging, but that is
>> exactly the article's point. Haviland shows that in a
>> playing-learning-teaching-music context, the challenge for the
>> participants is
>> to understand the ''big picture'' while taking care of one's own
>> part. This
>> context is extremely complicated because the participants have to
>> manage and
>> coordinate their actions in the emerging intersubjective and
>> reciprocal
>> environment. Haviland points out that the use of gestures, talk
>> (and grammar)
>> and other ''external'' material resources (such as musical scores)
>> are carefully
>> coordinated, as the musicians interact with each other during the
>> production of
>> music. The gist of the paper is provided in the last section where
>> he - based on
>> his data and analysis - argues that in the analysis of discourse,
>> contrary to
>> many theoretical and methodological trends, gesture should not be
>> considered
>> separate from speech.
>> Haviland's paper and the points he raises have interesting
>> parallels with the
>> research done in Mediated Discourse Analysis (cf. Scollon and
>> Scollon 2003;
>> Norris 2004).
>> Scott K. Liddell and Marit Vogt-Svendsen (''Constructing Spatial
>> Conceptualizations from Limited Input: Evidence from Norwegian Sign
>> Language'',
>> pp. 173-194) look at Norwegian sign language. They compare
>> different uses of
>> space for conceptualizing meanings and doing referencing in a short
>> narrative
>> sequence when the referents are not present. They further look at
>> how signers
>> use these spatial conceptualizations as resources for further
>> signing.
>> Liddell and Vogt-Svendsen's article provides an illustrative
>> description of the
>> nature of signing. Especially the descriptions of how signers use
>> the space in
>> front of them (whether real or event space), how different signers
>> do this in
>> different ways, and how it still has to be conceptualized in order
>> to be
>> understood correctly, provide an interesting read.
>> In the next paper, Charles Goodwin looks at ''Environmentally
>> Coupled Gestures''
>> (pp. 195-212). These are gestures ''that cannot be understood by
>> participants
>> without taking into account structure in the environment to which
>> they are tied''
>> (195). By drawing on data in which researchers are working at an
>> archaeological
>> excavation, he shows that meaning-making is a product of
>> multimodality; i.e. it
>> is a product of the use of and close interconnection between
>> language, gestures
>> and the relevant features of the environment. For linguists this is
>> particularly
>> interesting, because it complicates the general picture of how
>> meaning-making is
>> accomplished. In addition, Goodwin connects meaning (perhaps more
>> than the other
>> papers in this book) explicitly to the sequentially unfolding
>> social actions and
>> the meanings interlocutors understand them to have in particular
>> moments in
>> interaction. Goodwin's paper shows how talk and gesture, together
>> with the
>> semiotic resources in the surround, can all become relevant in the
>> organization
>> of meaning-making and action in social interaction. For example, he
>> describes
>> the structure of so-called 'hybrid utterances' (200) which are
>> grammatically
>> incomplete (e.g. lacking a predicate noun phrase), but completed
>> with gesture
>> and the material structure available for the participants in the
>> surround.
>> Irene Kimbara's article ''Indexing Locations in Gesture: Recalled
>> Stimulus Image
>> and Interspeaker Coordination as Factors Influencing Gesture
>> Form'' (pp. 213-220)
>> is an interesting experimental study that investigates whether
>> humans in a
>> dyadic interactional situation form gestures that originate from a
>> visual image
>> they have seen previously or whether they coordinate their gestures
>> with those
>> of their co-participants. The experiment was done by showing the
>> same cartoon to
>> a pair. However, without the subjects knowing it, the version of
>> the cartoon
>> that was seen by one subject was a mirror-image of the one seen by
>> the other.
>> After seeing the cartoon, the participants described the cartoon
>> first in a
>> monologue and then to each other. The descriptions were recorded.
>> The study
>> showed that when narrating the cartoon in a monologue the cartoon
>> images
>> strongly influenced the subjects' gesture trajectories. As for the
>> dyadic
>> situations, Kimbara's findings suggest that in general the
>> participants'
>> gestures followed the images they had seen in the cartoon, and thus
>> were not so
>> much influenced by their pair's gesturing. However, when the
>> participants'
>> gestures overlapped the number of conflicting gestures decreased by
>> half. This
>> suggests that when interlocutors gesture together, they are likely
>> to coordinate
>> their gestures with each other, irrespective of the original
>> ''input''. This last
>> finding may have interesting parallels with current neurolinguistic
>> research on
>> imitation, gestures and mirror neurons (e.g. Arbib 2005).
>> Geoffrey Beattie and Heather Shovelton's article ''The Role of
>> Iconic Gestures in
>> Semantic Communication and Its Theoretical and Practical
>> Implications'' (pp.
>> 221-241) provides a brief and good review of prior linguistic and
>> psychological
>> research on the relationship between language and gesture. It also
>> provides a
>> short but illustrative description of the central points in
>> McNeill's work.
>> Their actual study looks at whether there is a difference in the
>> amount of
>> information listeners receive when just speech is available and
>> when both speech
>> and gesture are available. In general, their findings strongly
>> suggest that
>> iconic and metaphoric gestures are very effective in conveying
>> semantic
>> information. For linguists, an interesting finding - which supports
>> McNeill's
>> claims - is that there seems to be a connection between the
>> transitivity/intransitivity of a clause and the gesture it
>> accompanies
>> (230-231). In the last part of the paper, they discuss the
>> possibilities of
>> applying the McNeillian theory for improving knowledge of TV
>> advertising.
>> Beattie's and Shovelton's paper is interesting, although it would
>> have been even
>> better if it had included pictures or illustrations of the examples.
>> Mika Ishino's article ''Intersubjectivity in Gestures: The
>> Speaker's Perspectives
>> toward the addressee'' (pp. 243-250) continues the theme of the
>> previous paper.
>> However, it focuses more on how speakers use gestures by
>> specifically taking the
>> addressee into account. She shows how the use of gestures arises
>> from the needs
>> of the interactional situation and how the use of the gestures can
>> be influenced
>> by the intersubjective dynamics of the spatial and interactional
>> situation.
>> Starkey Duncan Jr.'s paper ''An Integrated Approach to the Study of
>> Convention,
>> Conflict, and Compliance in Interaction'' (pp. 251-266) is published
>> posthumously. He died in May 2007 at the age of 71. Although he
>> studied the
>> interaction between verbal and non-verbal communication, his paper
>> differs from
>> the other papers in the book in that it does not mention gestures
>> at all.
>> Rather, it attempts to construct a structural framework for
>> understanding and
>> describing face-to-face-interaction. He argues that interaction is
>> convention
>> based and rule governed. Many of the claims that he makes in the
>> paper are
>> similar to findings made in Conversation Analysis. For example, his
>> notions of
>> 'conflict' and 'compliance' seem to have close connections with
>> 'preference
>> structure' and 'repair'.
>> The final section is the shortest one. It includes three papers on
>> language and
>> gesture with aphasic patients, autistic children and artificial
>> humans.
>> The first paper, Susan Duncan's and Laura Pedelty's ''Discourse
>> Focus, Gesture,
>> and Disfluent Aphasia'' (pp. 269-283), uses the McNeillian method
>> to investigate
>> the tendency of people suffering from Broca's aphasia to omit or
>> nominalize
>> verbs in talk. They study this phenomenon by comparing cross-
>> linguistic embodied
>> interaction of non-aphasic speakers to that of a person suffering
>> from Broca's
>> aphasia. For their argument, it is important to see that the
>> discourse focus in
>> an utterance is not necessarily on the verb. (This finding has
>> interesting
>> parallels with many cross-linguistic discourse-functional and
>> interactional
>> linguistic studies on transitivity (Hopper and Thompson 1980;
>> Thompson and
>> Hopper 2001) and argument structure (Du Bois 2003).) The authors
>> argue that
>> aphasic speakers' gesture-speech utterances highlight similar
>> (discourse-focal)
>> constituents as non-aphasic speakers' utterances. As the authors
>> argue, this
>> finding ''is suggestive of the possibility that a disfluent aphasic
>> attempts
>> utterance production on the basis of discourse model similar to
>> that of the
>> non-aphasic speaker.'' (280). This finding also supports, as the
>> authors note,
>> Charles Goodwin's work (Goodwin 1995; Goodwin, Goodwin and Olsher
>> 2002; Goodwin
>> 2003) in that it shows that people suffering from aphasia have the
>> means to
>> construct meaningful action in discourse; meaning does not just
>> arise from language.
>> Elena Levy's ''The Construction of a Temporally Coherent Narrative
>> by an Autistic
>> Adolescent: Co-contributions of Speech, Enactment and
>> Gesture'' (pp. 285-301)
>> reports a study in which an autistic adolescent was asked to retell
>> a story of a
>> film (_The Red Balloon_) on three consecutive days. She shows that
>> the
>> adolescent's embodied actions changed significantly during these
>> three days, so
>> that compared to the first session when he produced mostly elicited
>> talk with
>> little gesturing, in the following session he enacted the story,
>> and on the last
>> day his speech-movement combinations had developed so that they
>> were adult-like
>> and he seemed to rely on his own earlier discourse while doing the
>> retelling.
>> Levy then connects her findings to McNeill's work on 'catchments',
>> to the
>> coherence-creating function of gestures and to ontogenesis.
>> In the last paper of the book, ''The Body in Communication: Lessons
>> from the
>> Near-Human'' (pp. 303-322), Justine Cassell describes the
>> challenges in her work
>> of trying to teach virtual humans to do and say things the way
>> humans do. She
>> argues that through such an enterprise one can really begin to
>> understand how
>> intricate, complex and emergent human embodied behavior is, and to
>> learn what we
>> yet do not know about it. Cassell's interesting paper proposes a
>> simple, but
>> nice, idea: building a perfect virtual human is not the ultimate
>> goal; the
>> ultimate goal is to try to learn something about humans from the
>> imperfect
>> virtual humans.
>> This is a paper that scholars working in the interdisciplinary
>> space between
>> technological sciences / information engineering / computer
>> sciences and
>> linguistics (on artificial intelligence, for example) should read.
>> The research presented in the book describes work that has been
>> going on for
>> some time. What is important, however, is that this body of
>> research is now
>> available between single covers. It is therefore a great book for
>> introducing
>> oneself to gesture studies. The studies in the volume represent a
>> wide array of
>> research that focuses on the relationship between language, gesture
>> (embodiment)
>> and speech. Reading this book made me realize how little we (as
>> linguists) in
>> fact know about the cognitive and interactional aspects of
>> gestures, and their
>> relationship with talk and language. A great deal of linguistic
>> research is done
>> with invented examples, written-language corpora or spoken-language
>> corpora, but
>> without video. Still, it is quite possible that by using multimodal
>> data
>> linguists may learn new aspects of even the very fundamental
>> linguistic notions,
>> like Goodwin (Goodwin 1979) and Lerner (Lerner 1991) have shown
>> with respect to
>> 'sentence'. For linguists especially, the basic presupposition in
>> McNeill's work
>> is that language is emergent and dynamic and, moreover, that
>> gesture is part of
>> language, not a separate element. This view is relatively
>> unfamiliar in
>> ''mainstream'' linguistics, but can have profound consequences for
>> understanding
>> the origins of language and language evolution, language structure,
>> grammar,
>> language in use, and so on and so forth. The papers in this book
>> show that the
>> relationship between interaction, embodiment and language is much
>> more complex
>> than is generally assumed and recognized. Especially the studies in
>> the second
>> part of the book, which primarily consists of sequential and
>> multimodal analyses
>> of language and interaction show that we are dealing with extremely
>> complex
>> phenomena.
>> Some of the papers are very short and thus scratch only the surface
>> of the
>> phenomena they describe. However, it is difficult to see this as a
>> demerit,
>> because - as I see it - the articles function as introductions or
>> references to
>> research described in detail elsewhere. This is a benefit for those
>> who want to
>> get a broad view of gesture studies in general, but brief glances
>> at individual
>> research topics. I would recommend the book to students and other
>> scholars who
>> want to become acquainted with the research done on the
>> relationship between
>> gesture and language. Those who are more familiar with gesture
>> research will
>> still find research topics and findings of which they perhaps have
>> not read or
>> heard of before.
>> My guess is that the linguistic audience in general is quite
>> unfamiliar with
>> gesture studies and its possible connections to linguistic
>> research. I am sure
>> that this book can raise some interesting questions to linguists.
>> At times, it
>> can also be quite thought-provoking, because it raises issues that
>> challenge
>> many traditional theoretical views about for example language and
>> cognition.
>> Nevertheless, there are many important messages that this book
>> conveys to
>> linguists. One general point concerns the importance of considering
>> embodied
>> practices, gestures and social interaction together when we
>> investigate language
>> and linguistics structures. Moreover, this book shows that it is
>> important to
>> consider gestures and embodiment in order to better understanding
>> where language
>> comes from and what the importance of multimodal data is for
>> understanding
>> language. The book also raises big issues that are important for
>> understanding
>> grammar (syntax, pragmatics and semantics). It opens up new
>> horizons for
>> linguistic research by challenging and renegotiating many generally
>> held
>> assumptions about the nature of language.
>> There are few glitches in the book. One thing I would like to
>> mention, though,
>> regards the editorial work. There are quite a few misspellings and
>> incoherent
>> sentences, as well as some editorial errors. For example Figure 5b
>> in Hoiting's
>> and Slobin's article seems to be the wrong picture. In addition,
>> some of the
>> reported findings would have greatly benefited from evidence in the
>> form of
>> drawings or illustrations. Unfortunately, such evidence is often
>> missing, which
>> occasionally makes it quit difficult to understand an argument. When
>> illustrations are used, sometimes they are too small and dark.
>> In sum, this is a great book.
>> Arbib, Michael. (2005). The Mirror System Hypothesis: how did
>> protolanguage
>> evolve. In Margaret Tallerman, (ed.), _Language Origins:
>> Perspective on
>> Evolution_. Vol. 21-47. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
>> Bavelas, Janet Beavin, Black, Alex, Lemery, C.R. & Mullett,
>> Jennifer. (1986).
>> ''I show how you feel'': Motor mimicry as a communicative act.
>> _Journal of
>> Personality and Social Psychology_ 50: 322-329.
>> Du Bois, John W. (2003). Argument structure: Grammar in use. In
>> John W. Du Bois,
>> Lorraine Kumpf & William J. Ashby, (ed.), _Preferred Argument
>> Structure: Grammar
>> as architecture for function_. Vol. 11-60. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
>> Goodwin, Charles. (1979). The Interactive Construction of a
>> Sentence in Natural
>> Conversation. In George Psathas, (ed.), _Everyday Language: Studies
>> in
>> Ethnomethodology_. Vol. 97-121. New York: Irvington Publishers.
>> Goodwin, Charles. (1995). Co-Constructing Meaning in Conversations
>> with an
>> Aphasic Man. _Research on Language and Social Interaction_ 28(3):
>> 233-260.
>> Goodwin, Charles. (2003). Conversational Frameworks for the
>> Accomplishment of
>> Meaning in Aphasia. In Charles Goodwin, (ed.), _Conversation and
>> Brain Damage_.
>> Vol. 90-116. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
>> Goodwin, Charles, Goodwin, Marjorie Harness & Olsher, David.
>> (2002). Producing
>> Sense with Nonsense Syllables: Turn and Sequence in the
>> Conversations of a Man
>> with Severe Aphasia. In Barbara Fox, Cecilia A. Ford & Sandra A.
>> Thompson,
>> (ed.), _The Language of Turn and Sequence_. Vol. 56-80. Oxford:
>> Oxford
>> University Press.
>> Hopper, Paul J. & Thompson, Sandra A. (1980). Transitivity in
>> Grammar and
>> Discourse. _Language_ 56(2): 251-299.
>> Lerner, Gene H. (1991). On the syntax of sentences-in-progress.
>> _Language in
>> Society_ 20: 441-458.
>> Norris, Sigrid. (2004). _Analysing Multimodal Interaction: A
>> Methodological
>> Framework_. New York & London: Routledge.
>> Scollon, Ron & Scollon, S. Wong. (2003). _Discourses in place:
>> Language in the
>> material world_. London and New York: Routledge.
>> Thompson, Sandra A. & Hopper, Paul J. (2001). Transitivity, clause
>> structure,
>> and argument structure: evidence from conversation. In Joan L.
>> Bybee & Paul J.
>> Hopper, (ed.), _Frequency and the emergence of linguistic
>> structure_. Vol.
>> 27-60. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
>> Pentti Haddington is a post-doc researcher at the University of
>> Oulu, Finland.
>> He has recently done research in interactional linguistics,
>> discourse-functional
>> linguistics and conversation analysis. His recent work includes
>> research on
>> stance taking in news interviews and the use of the body in
>> interaction. He is
>> currently working in the Talk&Drive project, which investigates
>> interaction in
>> cars.
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
Received on Sun May 11 03:02 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Jun 01 2008 - 00:30:04 PDT