ELAN is a great, free tool for working with gesture. The software allows for custom, multi-tiered, hierarchical coding. So, for gesture research, one could have a tier that holds the transcription of text, another for highlighting speech disfluencies (if investigating the lexical access hypothesis, for example), and then a series of tiers indicating emblems, iconics, metaphorics, deictics, and beats, one for the left hand and one for the right. (Or whatever coding scheme you’d like.)
Again, tiers can be created in a hierarchy, So once could have a gesture phase tier that is subordinate to a phrase tier, which is subordinate to a unit tier.
Tiers are time linked to video, audio, and to one another. It’s relatively easy to step through video at various step sizes, and to export data in one or more tiers for analysis. Transcription tools are nice, as well, with the ability to carve up the video into smaller utterances and play these repeatedly, or on a loop, to allow for careful transcription.
- More information, and a free download, is available here: http://tla.mpi.nl/tools/tla-tools/elan/
- A set of interesting tools, templates, and scripts is available here: http://tla.mpi.nl/tools/tla-tools/elan/thirdparty/
- User guide: http://www.mpi.nl/corpus/manuals/manual-elan_ug.pdf
- Full manual: http://www.mpi.nl/corpus/manuals/manual-elan.pdf
- How-to guide: http://tla.mpi.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/How-to-pages_5.pdf
- A good primer: http://fave.ling.upenn.edu/downloads/ELAN_Introduction.pdf