The source-path-goal image schema in gestures for thinking and teaching
This article examines source-path-goal image-schematic structure in gestures used to solve counting problems (gesture for thinking) and to teach children how to read a clock (gesture for teaching). The analyses illustrate how path schemas inherent in idealized cognitive models are exhibited in gesture forms and in gesture sequences and combinations, manifesting conceptual content beyond that articulated in speech. While at times the path structure is incidental, enacting part of a cognitive model that is not the focus of discourse, at other times the path structure is essential, in that listeners must perceive the source-path-goal structure in the gesture in order to construct the proper understanding. The examples support the view that image schemas at the heart of cognitive models partly motivate and structure gestures for cognitive and communicative purposes, and that listener attunement to this structure contributes to intersubjective understanding and the perpetuation of cultural practices for distributed cognition.
Keywords: image schema, cognitive model, gesture, instructional discourse, distributed cognition
Published online: 10 January 2020
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