Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "Co-speech gesturing: Embodiment, experience, and experimental studies" (Piotr Konderak, UMCS Lublin)
We are happy to have a "physical" visit from our close colleague from Lublin, Poland, and central member of the cognitive semiotics community - Prof. Piotr Konderak. In his guest lecture/seminar, Piotr will address a familiar topic, co-speech gestures, from a phenomenological and methodologically pluralistic perspective, very much in the spirit of our field. All are welcome to the room H402 for the more embodied version of the presentation, and those who cannot - to the usual zoom link. As usual, the talk will start at 15:15, but please come some time before (with camera on) for hello-s.
Cognitive semiotics explores the notion of polysemiotic communication understood as intertwined use of two or more semiotic systems or resources. In this context, the phenomenon of co-expression of speech and gesturing is my departure point. Co-speech gesturing - called also spontaneous gesticulation (McNeill 1992) or singular gestures (Müller, 2018) - is characterized as spontaneously created gestures, which are global-synthetic, holistic, not explicitly planned or monitored. The deep interdependence between speech and singular gestures has been addressed experimentally, with particular importance of studies on IW’s (Ian Waterman’s) loss of proprioception (e.g., Quaeghebeur et al. 2014).
These features make so-speech gesturing particularly interesting and encourage to approach this phenomenon phenomenologically. First, one can find an account of integration of language (speech) and embodied activities in phenomenology, especially within Merleau-Ponty's (1962) philosophy of embodiment. In this view, our various activities are different facets of the same activity: of the whole organism immersed in its environment. Second, it could be fruitful to address the phenomenon of co-speech gestures in terms of the intentional quality and the intentional matter of the experience (Husserl, 2001). In this context, reference to pre-reflective self-consciousness (Gallagher & Zahavi, 2008) seems justified. Finally, it is worth to consider the possible contribution of phenomenology to empirical studies on gesturing. Gallagher’s “front-loaded” phenomenology seems to be a promising approach.
Gallagher, S. (2003). Phenomenology and experimental design. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10/9–10, 85–99.
Gallagher, S., Zahavi, D. (2008). The Phenomenological Mind. 2nd edition. Routledge.
McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge.
Müller, C. (2018). Gesture and Sign: Cataclysmic Break or Dynamic Relations? Frontiers in Psychology 9:1651.
Quaeghebeur, L., Duncan, S., Gallagher, S., Cole, J. & McNeill, D. (2014). Aproprioception, gesture, and cognitive being. In: Müller, C. Cienki, A. Fricke, E. Ladewig, S.H. McNeill, D. & Teßendorf, S. (eds.) Body – Language – Communication (HSK 38.2), pp. 2048-2061. De Gruyter-Mouton.