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LINGUIST List 20.3493

Fri Oct 16 2009

Diss: Cognitive Science/Syntax: Harrison: 'Grammar, Gesture, and...'

Editor for this issue: Di Wdzenczny <dilinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Simon Harrison, Grammar, Gesture, and Cognition: The case of negation in English

Message 1: Grammar, Gesture, and Cognition: The case of negation in English
Date: 16-Oct-2009
From: Simon Harrison <smharrisonhotmail.com>
Subject: Grammar, Gesture, and Cognition: The case of negation in English
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Institution: Université Michel de Montaigne Bordeaux 3
Program: English linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Simon Harrison

Dissertation Title: Grammar, Gesture, and Cognition: The case of negation in English

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Aliyah Morgenstern
Jean-Rémi Lapaire
Ellen Fricke
Adam Kendon
Cornelia Müller

Dissertation Abstract:

In this thesis, I examine the way English speakers gesture when they negate
and I argue that grammar and gesture are linked.

With an audiovisual corpus of conversations among Anglophones, I identify
nine recurrent gestures of negation and analyse their forms, their
contexts-of-use, their relation to grammatical negation, and their
organisation with speech.

In negative speech acts, I show how gestures of negation are entwined with
grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic phenomena, such as node and scope of
negation, inherent negation, and cumulative negation. I argue that
discourse context and type of grammatical negation determine which gestures
of negation speakers use and how they use them. I also show that gesture
exhibits the universal tendencies in language to express negation early and
frequently in a negative sentence. On a broader level, I borrow tools from
cognitive linguistics to account for the how speakers integrate grammatical
and gestural aspects of negation into multimodal negative speech acts.

By establishing that negation receives multimodal expression and by drawing
parallels between conventional forms and structures across modalities, this
thesis builds on previous investigations of gestural negation, challenges
traditional understandings of negation, and takes a step toward
establishing a multimodal grammar.

A preliminary chapter provides a methodology for collecting, transcribing,
and analysing multimodal data, while a final chapter supports the thesis by
addressing the grammar and gesture of three other linguistic notions:
progressivity, epistemic modality, and focus.

Overall, this thesis offers an in-depth multimodal analysis of grammatical
notions in English, with a focus on negation, and establishes a link
between grammar, gesture, and cognition.

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