Elements of Meaning in Gesture
Summarizing her pioneering work on the semiotic analysis of gestures in conversational settings, Geneviève Calbris offers a comprehensive account of her unique perspective on the relationship between gesture, speech, and thought. She highlights the various functions of gesture and especially shows how various gestural signs can be created in the same gesture by analogical links between physical and semantic elements. Originating in our world experience via mimetic and metonymic processes, these analogical links are activated by contexts of use and thus lead to a diverse range of semantic constructions rather as, from the components of a Meccano kit, many different objects can be assembled. By (re)presenting perceptual schemata that mediate between the concrete and the abstract, gesture may frequently anticipate verbal formulation. Arguing for gesture as a symbolic system in its own right that interfaces with thought and speech production, Calbris’ book brings a challenging new perspective to gesture studies and will be seminal for generations of gesture researchers.
[Gesture Studies, 5] 2011. xx, 378 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Foreword | pp. xv–xviii
Acknowledgements | pp. xix–XX
Introduction | pp. 1–8
Chapter 1. The gestural sign and related key concepts | pp. 9–34
Chapter 2. The demarcative function of gesture | pp. 35–56
Chapter 3. Identifying the referential function of gesture | pp. 57–72
Chapter 4. Classification of referential gestures according to their priority components | pp. 73–100
Chapter 5. Systematic analysis to identify gestural signs | pp. 101–124
Chapter 6. Different gestures represent one notion: Variation | pp. 125–162
Chapter 7. One gesture represents different notions: Polysemy and Polysign | pp. 163–196
Chapter 8. The analogical links between gestures and notions | pp. 197–242
chapter 9. The gestural sign and speech | pp. 243–286
Chapter 10. Gesture, thought and speech | pp. 287–342
Conclusion | pp. 343–354
References | pp. 355–362
Appendix A | p. 363
Appendix B | pp. 364–365
Postscript: A semiotic and linguistic perspective on gestures | pp. 367–368
Person index | pp. 369–370
Subject index | pp. 371–378
“Overall, Elements of Meaning in Gesture presents a robust Derridean supplément to Gesture Studies begun in earnest by so many men so many years ago. Thirty years after its inception, Elements of Meaning in Gesture now includes English and French translations of almost all of the hundreds of examples used herein; it is deeply and thoroughly researched; and it is aimed at educated readers with a useful overview of the transdisciplinary subfield known as Gesture Studies. In doing so, it also provides diagrams, appendices, and people and subject indices. These qualities—along with its opening up of a space for potential future research into Gesture Studies’ relationships to re-presentation, to ideological apparatuses, to computer-mediated communication, and to the relevant work of Barthes and Kristeva—give the book opportunities to “serve as an inspiration for psychological, ethnographical, and linguistic studies on gestures with speech” (Müller, 2011, p. 367).”
Dusty Lavoie, Univeristy of Maine, in Journal of Language and Social Psychology, XX(X)1-6, 2012
“Unlike most contemporary work on gesture, which is grounded in psycholinguistics thanks to the efforts of David McNeill and others, Calbris’ work emerges from the French intellectual tradition. Using gestural expression as a window on cognition, Calbris describes communication and conceptualization via semiotics, thereby pointing to the importance of complementary approaches in empirical research. Her dedication to rich, thorough qualitative descriptions and an exploration of motivating principles sets her apart, and the clarity o&ered by her prose (rendered into English by a skilled translator) makes her monograph a pleasure to read.”
Kashmiri Stec, in Semikolon, Vol. 24 (2012), pages 81-82.
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Main BIC Subject
CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
Main BISAC Subject
LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General