Symposium und Vortrag auf der 7th International Gesture Studies Conference

von Arnulf Deppermann und Elwys De Stefani
Auf der 7th International Gesture Studies Conference, Paris, 18.-22.7.2016, leiten Arnulf Deppermann (IDS Mannheim) und Elwys De Stefani (Leuven) ein Symposium unter dem Titel "Embodied practices in instructional settings" Darin gibt es u.a. folgenden Vortrag: Deppermann, Arnulf / De Stefani, Elwys (Leuven): Pointing in a mobile setting of instructional interaction: Driving lessons. Pointing gestures have been described as a prototypical occurrence of deixis (Bühler 1934) emanating from an origo that is fundamentally egocentric and stationary. This contribution understands reference as interactively accomplished (Hanks 1992) and looks at referential practices in a setting of interaction that provides three potentially problematic features for the performance and visibility of pointing gestures. Firstly, driving lessons occur on the move, hence participants constantly modify their position (distance and direction) with respect to the reference point of a pointing gesture. Secondly, the student driver and the instructor are positioned in a side-by-side arrangement (Kendon 1990) rather than in a canonical face-to-face position, hence gestures have to be maximally embodied in order to secure recognisability. Thirdly, participants are engaged in multiple activities (driving, talking, etc.) and in diverse participation frameworks (interaction between driver and instructor, interaction among road users) requiring visual orientation towards the traffic situation. We examine how participants adjust their gestures to these three features of the setting. In our data, we observe the following practices:
  • When student drivers orient their gaze to the road ahead, instructors may maximise the witnessability of pointing gestures by carrying them out in the student driver’s visual field;
  • if reference points are located outside the visual field of the driver, the instructor may choose to produce hearable rather than seeable indications (e.g. by tapping on the right window when directing the driver to turn right);
  • instructors can provide spatial indications through talk, using categorical lexical reference or formulating the action they expect the driver to carry out.
We first analyse the different interactional, spatial and temporal contingencies of driving lessons which constrain and inform the use of referential resources. We subsequently examine if and how participants’ practices orient to these situational contingencies. Hence, we contribute to better understanding how a massively used resource in driving school lessons – the pointing gesture – is designed in ways which is sensitive to environmental and sequential features of the interaction at hand. In consequence, this study feeds into recent research on multimodality (Deppermann 2013), mobility (Haddington, Mondada & Nevile 2013) and deixis (Stukenbrock 2015) from an interactional perspective. References Bühler, K. (1934): Sprachtheorie. Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache. Jena: Gustav Fischer. Deppermann, A. (2013): Multimodal interaction from a conversation analytic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics 46, 1-7. Haddington, P., Mondada, L. & Nevile, M. (eds.) (2013): Interaction and Mobility: Language and the Body in Motion. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter. Hanks, W. F. (1992): The indexical ground of deictic reference. In: A. Duranti & C. Goodwin (eds.), Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 43-77. Kendon, A. (1990): Conducting Interaction. Patterns of Behavior in Focused Encounters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stukenbrock, A. (2015): Deixis in der face-to-face-Interaktion. Berlin/München/Boston: De Gruyter.