Linguistics 373

Gesture

Full course for one semester. Speech is normally accompanied by movements and attitudes of the body that seem transparently to relate to aspects of the speech itself: its rhythm, its construction, and/or its meaning. The course will critically examine research on gesticulation to consider two general sets of questions, one linguistic and the other ethnographic. First, are the cognitive processes that produce spoken language and those that produce gesture related? Is the semiotic structure of gesture language-like or distinct? In general, is gesture part of language or something apart? Second, does gesture present or presuppose knowledge of the world and the surroundings in a way parallel to or distinct from that characteristic of spoken language and other communicative modalities? How does it enter into communicative action? The course will move from typologies of gesture, and proposals about cognitive mechanisms underlying gesticulation, through a variety of descriptive studies, to more detailed examination of different kinds of gestures (their origins and nature), and finally to interactive studies in which the interpretability of gestures is the central issue. The course will require original research by participants. Prerequisite: Linguistics 311, Anthropology 211, or consent of the instructor. Conference. Cross-listed as Anthropology 373. Not offered 2005-06.



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