ICREA-Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Relationship between prosodic and gestural marking of pragmatic operations: Do intonational and gestural signals act as sister systems?
In face-to-face communication, speakers jointly use a variety of prosodic and gestural patterns to convey pragmatic meaning. The main goal of this talk will be to assess whether they function as sister systems in the marking of pragmatic operations, both from a production and a perception perspective. First, the results from three production studies tend to show a co-dependency between prosody and gesture as markers of polite stance, speech act information (more concretely reject operators, e.g. disagreement and incredulity questions), as well as information structure marking. Second, results from two cross-modal perception experiments complement this view, pointing to clear trade-off effects between the two and a stronger reliance on the visual information in the interpretation of pragmatic meaning. All in all, both production and perception results point to the view that prosodic and gestural markers of pragmatic operations are strongly interdependent and that speakers modulate them in controlled but flexible ways in everyday production. In general, a more fine-grained approach to multimodal language is needed that fully integrates the role of intonation and gestural signals as sister systems.
References: Brown, L. – Prieto, P. (2021). “Gesture and prosody in multimodal communication”. In: M.Haugh, D. Kadar, & M. Terkourafi (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics, 430-453 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.