Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Noureddine ELOUAZIZI

Co-Auteur(s): Maite TABOADA, Simon Fraser University, Canada Nancy HEDBERG, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Ostensive demonstratives in multimodal contexts

Abstract/Résumé: Using a multimodal corpus, constructed from TED videos, and adopting a corpus-based linguistic analysis, this study examines the uses and referential properties of ostensive demonstratives in multimodal contexts. By ostensive demonstratives we mean deictic elements in a multimodal context wherein the semantic meaning of the demonstrative is fixed, but its denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place of the utterance (Webber 1991, Nunberg 1995, Ward 2004, Hedberg et al 2007, a.o.). We examine the occurrences of ostensive demonstratives in naturally occurring multimodal discourse to see whether and how the referential relations between the object pointed to and the object referred to are affected by ostension? To examine these issues, we have coded and analyzed a corpus of TED videos, consisting of almost 200 minutes of video (about 25,000 words). We annotated and analyzed different aspects of ostensives demonstratives’ multimodal relations, including: (i) whether the reference is deferred or non-deferred, (ii) characteristics of the referent: state, event, activity or object, (iii) topicality: whether the demonstrative refers to an abstract or non-abstract referent, (iv) characteristics of the demonstratum: whether it is the whole or a part and (v) visualization: whether the demonstrative is accompanied by changes in head position, body posture, hand gesture or gaze. The results of this study show, first of all, that there are individual differences in the frequency of ostensive demonstratives (ranging from 1% to 40% of the total number of demonstratives), with some that can be characterized as having non-deferred reference and others as having deferred reference. Secondly, we found that the lowest occurrences of demonstratives-based ostension are observed with topics that require an abstract (metalanguage) discussion. Thirdly, the occurrences of the demonstratum as a state, activity or an event are less frequent than its occurrences as an object, and that the demonstratum is referred to in terms of its structure in whole as well as in parts (properties, features). And, unlike the instances of non-deferred ostension, the instances of deferred ostension refer not only to objects, but also to events, activities and states. In the presentation, we will discuss further details of the corpus analysis, the process of achieving reliability in the coding, and we will also address how the results of our study square with the approaches of “Lexical retrieval hypothesis” (Butterworth & Hadar 1989; Krauss 1998) and the “information packaging hypothesis” (McNeill 1992) to linguistically-grounded gestures.