"Turn Right at the Camels"
The Relevance of Deictic Gestures in Task-Based Discourse
This paper investigates how dyads of test subjects establish shared orientation and signal understanding using deictic gestures in task-based discourse. My findings show that participants co-construct routes using collaborative pointing, which is often accompanied by overlap in speech. The data also reveal that one participant sometimes acts as the sole speaker while the other one adopts the speaker's orientation. My data suggest that listeners then establish a shared orientation by an embodiment of the speaker's gesture (cf. McNeill, 2008; 2010). Verbally, this ratification is carried out either by overlap or by repetition of directions and route plannings. My research highlights the special nature of deictic gestures in discourse based on an explicit task, as opposed to, for example, narrative production, and reveals strategies that co-participants apply to ratify agreement.
Published online: 24 March 2014