LINGUIST List 20.2183

Mon Jun 15 2009

Review: Linguistic Theories: Cienki & Muller (2008)

Editor for this issue: Randall Eggert <>

        1.    Mohammad Mahand, Metaphor and Gesture

Message 1: Metaphor and Gesture
Date: 15-Jun-2009
From: Mohammad Mahand <>
Subject: Metaphor and Gesture
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Announced at
EDITORS: Cienki, Alan; Muller, CorneliaTITLE: Metaphor and GestureSERIES: Gesture Studies 3PUBLISHER: John Benjamins Publishing CompanyYEAR: 2008

Mohammad Rasekh Mahand, Linguistics Department, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan,Iran.

SUMMARYThis book explores a new multidisciplinary area, the connections betweenmetaphor and gesture. The studies in metaphor have been related to gesture andthe studies in gesture are also focusing on the abstract ideas in metaphors.This book is a good source in representing this relationship. The theories usedinclude conceptual metaphor theory and different theories used in semiotics.

The authors of this book consider the different approaches to the study ofmetaphor and gesture from different standpoints. Metaphor is considered mappingbetween different domains in conceptual metaphor theory. Additionally, it isalso related to idiosyncratic, imagistic ways of thinking in the moment whichmay sometimes be reflected in gesture. Gesture, as a window onto the thoughtprocesses of the gesturer can reveal metaphoric thinking, with or withoutspeech. Gesture can be used as a tool to understand intended meaning, too. Thepapers in this volume show how gesture can be a valuable source of insight formetaphor studies.

In the first paper, Alan Cienki gives an overview of findings in the currentresearch on metaphor and gesture. The second paper by Genevieve Calbris exploreshow metaphoric notions are rooted in non-metaphoric notions.

The next three papers are concerned with gesture and its use in pedagogy. RobertWilliams studies the role of object manipulation and how it may serve to anchora metaphoric blend in the process of teaching children to tell the time. RafaelNunez studies the effects of lecturers' gestures in teaching mathematics andIrene Mittelberg studies the importance of different iconic modes in linguisticslecturers' metaphoric gestures.

The next three contributions are based on the study of gesture by thepsychologist David McNeil. McNeil in his paper considers those gestures which incontext turn out to be metaphoric. Jacques Montredon and colleagues analyze themetaphoric conceptualization of deconstruction, a core theoretical notion inpostmodernism. Fey Parril tests the idiosyncratic nature of spontaneousco-verbal gesture.

In the last main chapter, Cornelia Muller shows that the study of metaphoricgesture brings into light the less discussed properties of metaphor.

This book also includes some commentaries on the value of studying metaphor andgesture from the perspectives of various disciplines. Some outstanding figuresin linguistics and related fields have written these commentaries, including:Ronald Langacker, Naomi Quinn, Jurgen Streeck, Anders and Gitte Hougaard,Sherman Wilcox, Paul Bouissac, George Lakoff and Raymond Gibbs. Thesecommentaries discuss the potential importance of studying metaphor and gesturefrom different perspectives, such as, semiotics, cognitive linguistics,anthropology, psychology and conversational analysis.

The works in this book use different kinds of data, some elicited and somenatural. Different methodological approaches are also taken to analyze the data,including: statistical analysis, interaction analysis, blending analysis,semiotic analysis, linguistic analysis and hermeneutic analysis.

EVALUATIONThis collection and the research reported in this study provide an importantstep forwards in our understanding of the complex phenomena of metaphor andgesture. It represents the current work that deals with the relationship betweenmetaphor and gesture, and it raises some main questions and tries to answer themin different papers. On the whole, the volume opens a new research area,providing minimal grounds for its future developments. For the newcomers andthose who are not familiar with work on metaphor and gesture, this volume isvery helpful and makes it a research topic. For those who are familiar withthese research fields, the book provides useful insights and new viewpoints.

ABOUT THE REVIWER:Mohammad Rasekh Mahand is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Bu-Ali SinaUniversity, Hamadan, Iran. His research interests include syntax, cognitivelinguistics and typology.