Tag Archives: gesture

Permeable barriers between truth, fiction, gestured images, and spoken words

Franklin, A. (2007). Blending in deception: Tracing output back to its source. In S. D. Duncan, J. Cassell, & E. T. Levy (Eds.), Gesture and the dynamic dimension of language: Essays in honor of David McNeill (pp. 99-108). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Franklin describes an experiment designed to illicit lies, and looks to see if gestures and speech might be telling different stories. She finds that in one case they do, but in another case there is more subtle bleeding together of truth and fiction.

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McNeill’s growth points

McNeill, D. (1997). Growth points cross-linguistically. In J. Nuyts & E. Pederson (Eds.) Language and conceptualization. Language, Culture, and Cognition (Vol. 1, pp. 190-212). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

McNeill takes us on a familiar trip through Kendon’s continuum and a reintroduction to his four-part classification scheme for gesticulations, slightly revised compared to other work summarized here. He then argues for the synchrony and complementarity (but not redundancy) of speech and gesture, and gesture’s potential role as a route to visual-spatial thought. He defines his concept of a growth point and how it might develop into a speech-gesture utterance, bringing along some Vygotskian dialectic for the ride.

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Gestures recruit interpersonal word-search

Goodwin, M. H. & Goodwin, C. (1986). Gesture and coparticipation in the activity of searching for a word. Semiotica, 62, 51-75.

Goodwin and Goodwin argue that word searches are not a speaker-only task. Instead, speakers indicate that word searches are active, and make bids to listeners to help resolve the lexical access difficulty–through extended pauses, filled pauses, a “thinking face” facial expression, and movements of the hands. They provide some detailed analyses of a few utterances to illustrate this concert of non-verbal signalling.

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University of Oregon – First Year Presentation

This week, I presented at the psychology department’s first year project talks, a series of talks which were a much bigger deal than I’d anticipated when, months ago, I first heard of them. I created a style of presentation that was relatively new to me: heavy on (hopefully) evocative images, light on words. I was pleased with the results, and will likely use this style again. I’ll include a link to my slide deck below the fold, if you’d like to check it out.

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ELAN resources

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.

McNeill’s phrases and phases

McNeill, D. (2005). Gesture and though. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 2, “How gestures carry meaning,” pp. 22-59

McNeill opens this chapter with an argument for the synchrony and coexpressiveness of gesture with concomitant speech, He ends with some thoughts about the metaphoricity and conventionalization of gesture, and then with a brief discussion of the “for the speaker” vs. “for the listener” debate in gesture research. In the middle, he elaborates on the structure of gestures: phrases and phases. This “gestural anatomy” will be my focus here.

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Ekman & Friesen’s gestural categorization

Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1969). The repertoire of nonverbal behavior: Categories, origins, usage, and coding. Semiotica, 1, 49-98.

In this article, Ekman and Friesen provide a brief overview of their previous empirical work in non-verbal behavior, describe their classification scheme for those behaviors, and then describe the usage of nonverbal acts, the origin of behavioral acts in the repertoire of the actor, and how we encode meaning in nonverbal acts.

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McNeill’s gesture classification scheme

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 3 (pp. 75 – 104): Guide to gesture classification, transcription, and distribution

In this chapter, McNeill introduces his system of classification of gestures and a preview of how he transcribes and codes in his lab. Additionally, he provides some information about his general experimental protocol, basic information about the distribution of gestures seen under that paradigm, and a sample transcription.

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Why gestures are not language

McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

From Chapter 2, “Conventions, gestures, and signs,” pp. 36-72.

McNeill devotes much of this chapter illustrating the linguistic features of sign languages, those characteristics that make systems like American Sign Language complete, natural, human languages, and not just some degraded approximation of speech. However, I will summarize here, just the first few pages of this chapter, where McNeill argues that what makes gestures interesting as a field of study is that, while they may be communicative, they lack many of the features that make languages languages.

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